Position Papers
Madhav G Badami
McGill University
Published in
Submitted by
Peter Midgley
Related theme(s)
Urban Mobility
Asia (AS)

Urban Transport Policy as if People and the Environment Mattered: Pedestrian Accessibility the First Step

The rapid growth in motor vehicle ownership and activity in India is causing a wide range of serious health, environmental, socio-economic, and resource use impacts, even as it provides mobility to millions, and contributes to employment and the economy. The loss of accessibility for pedestrians is one of the most important of these negative impacts, which remains neglected by policy. Urban transport planning is fundamentally about moral and political choices - about what kind of cities we want for ourselves and our future generations, whether urban space is primarily for people or motor vehicles, and what we owe each other. While motor vehicles play a vitally important role, as do planning and infrastructure for them, and technological measures to mitigate their impacts, an urban transport policy that focuses on these measures to the exclusion of infrastructure for walking and other non-motorised modes is likely to prove futile, even counter-productive. There is, therefore, an urgent need for an integrated approach that addresses multiple impacts, caters to multiple modes and road users, and is sensitive to the needs,
capabilities and constraints in the Indian context.