Representatives from Cochin, India and Matale, Sri Lanka, under the European Union funded Sharing Opportunities for Low carbon Urban transporTatION (Solutions) Project, had an opportunity to explore next generation mobility solutions and smart commuting in cities by participating in the 12th edition of the Michelin Challenge Bibendum held in Chengdu city, China in November 2014. Mr. Daljith Nandal from Matale Council and Dr. Rajan from Cochin Corporation were also a part of the training session organized by the Polis network wherein sustainable solutions being implemented and in practice in various cities around the world were brought to the forefront.
While Dr. Rajan from Cochin highlighted transport solutions taken up in the city to resolve the mobility demand and the need for an integrated transport system that connects all kinds of modes available in the city to ease access, Mr. Daljith Nandal enquired about the transport solutions applicable to smaller and emerging cities like Matale, where the population is growing at an increasing pace along with a growing transport demand. The conference served as a peer learning platform for various cities to explore state of art transport solutions, share emerging opportunities and develop new trends.
Cochin which is also a take-up city under the Solutions Project, visited Hangzhou – a leading city for the same project, to share and develop new trends in urban transport solutions. The three day visit to Hangzhou provided an extensive opportunity for Cochin to explore various public transport systems existing in the city which are catering to its huge travel demand. Hangzhou and Cochin share similar characteristics when it comes to their extensive inland water transport system which is the traditional means for ferrying various goods and passengers inter-city and intra-city. Various meetings were held to better understand the process and challenges to implement various public transport schemes and managing the growing number of personal vehicles.
Hangzhou is an inspiration for many cities aiming towards sustainable transport. It holds the world’s largest public bicycle sharing system, an intra-city metro and a bus system with numerous types of buses such as trolley buses, hybrid buses and RNG(Renewable natural gas also known as substitute natural gas)run buses, catering to the city’s increasing travel demand. To induce sustainability and low carbon transport into public transport system, Hangzhou city has also introduced 200 electric driven taxis which further reduces the emissions in the city.
The Solutions project brings to Cochin immense opportunities for developing new trends in resolving transport solutions in the city through knowledge sharing, expertise and technology exchange and interaction with Hangzhou city in the near future. As part of the project program Hangzhou city will also be visiting Cochin to understand the transport issues through site visits and close meetings with various departments relevant to transport.