In a bid to promote non-motorised transport (NMT) in Chennai, team Stride of the India Smart Cities Fellowship, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and BYCS’ Bicycle Mayor of Chennai have initiated a crowdsourcing exercise to map the cycling amenities in Chennai.
Digital tool for promoting NMT
The team intends to develop a digital tool for monitoring non-motorised transport (NMT) scenarios and engaging citizens to promote walking and cycling in Chennai. Kickstarting the project, Chennai has been chosen as the pilot city. Upon completing the pilot, the initiative will be scaled up across different Indian cities.
The project aims to gather data on various cycle repair shops, rentals and sellers in the city. The data will help the Chennai Smart City Mission to identify the gaps in provision of cycling amenities and undertake pre-emptive actions to enable better services for cyclists in Chennai.
The initiative was kickstarted on February 20th at Elliot’s Beach, Besant Nagar and will go on till February 28th. The coordinators also add that the mapping activity will be continuous.
What should volunteers do?
As part of this exercise, any person residing in Chennai can go on the mapping journeys as per their convenience. The idea is to form different units for different areas in the city that could cycle together and map the amenities. However, this is not a prerequisite and if convenient, as people are welcome to do it alone as well. The volunteers will be provided with certificates of recognition.
The citizen engagement digital tool will facilitate citizens’ interaction with officials from the civic body. Along with it, the team plans to create a dashboard which will help create a service-level benchmarking for the implementation of NMT.
Advantages of the exercise
While it has been four days since the campaign was launched, Srinidhi Ravishankar, one of the fellows tells us that they have received a positive response. “We have 105 volunteers and they have mapped 120 mapped locations of cycling amenities across Chennai,” she said.
Commenting on the initiative, Bicycle Mayor of Chennai, Felix John says, “This is a useful resource that can help cyclists in Chennai and aid the civic body in taking measures to promote cycling. It will also give a boost to cycle rental shops and puncture shops.
The team also plans to initiate the next phase of crowdsourcing where volunteers will be invited to map good routes for cycling and walking in Chennai.
Interested volunteers can register here.
For queries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
[ Based on information from Team Stride and Felix John, Bicycle Mayor of Chennai]