Number Crunching in Transport

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Use light colored clothes at night. You would want motorists to see you - wouldn't you?

Sudhir Gota

Innovative thinkers in Transport sector have not yet established the relationship between the color of clothes, walking and its impact on fatality. But, there are some who have found the answer to reduce pedestrian fatality.

Pune Traffic police in India advices pedestrians and cyclists to follow particular instructions -

1. Use light colored clothes at night. You would want motorists to see you - wouldn't you?

2. If there is no footpath, walk facing the oncoming traffic.

3. The only right of way is the one the other Driver/Rider gives you, especially the one who is Bigger/Heavier.

Check out Pune Traffic Police website (

I have always wondered why such kind of advice is given to pedestrians and cyclists without even thinking about the infrastructure for them.

What ails us?

What’s wrong with our system which implements laws such as jaywalking but cannot even provide accessible crossings or footpaths?

My questions were partly answered previous week when we hosted one of the leading proponents of good transport – Prof Madhav Badami in Manila.

During our interactions, Prof was adamant that “Windshield view” of the policymakers and media people was the main cause. His actual quote was - “Most who WALK don’t have a SAY, Those who have a SAY, don’t WALK “

During the brownbag in ADB, he built a case for restoring pedestrian accessibility. Harping on the “Restoring” issue, he argued that Asian cities which had the natural advantage for walking have lost it due to illogical policies and thus facing all sorts of problems. Lamenting on the current trend of use of quick fix (flyovers) and/or ornamental solutions (providing expensive, inappropriate options when not required) he questioned - Is it that we do not know; we can’t do; OR we simply don’t give a damn…..

Prof indicated that the current problems are iatrogenic in nature and if we don’t act now, it would be too late. Prof in order to illustrate his case took the audience on an India Photo tour and narrated his experience while taking the photos. The audience was appalled on seeing the bad state of pedestrian infrastructure and the interconnectivity of walking with public transport. Prof showed how high cost intensive metro’s neglect walking facilities while promoting park and ride.

Source : Prof Badami

Prof used the terms “seamless connectivity” and “refuse distance” many times to indicate the importance of changing the mindsets from only footpaths to many other aspects of pedestrian facilities.

Inspired by his speech, a gentleman from ADB’s finance division questioned back – is there no hope?

I knew the answer – there is lot of hope in Asia. We are not yet motorized to the extent of developed countries. We need to only shift and scale-up the investment to stop migration of people and in modes… and to do this as Bert Fabian puts it – “everything is in the mindset”.

We need to change mindset of people and cities would follow.

1 comment:

damingbenefits said...

Most who WALK don’t have a SAY, Those who have a SAY, don’t WALK -- amen to that!

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