Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs & Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Hardeep S. Puri inaugurated the 14th edition of Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference 2021 on 29th October, the day-long Conference was held on-line. The main theme of this year’s conference was “Mobility for All” with focus on providing equitable access and promote inclusive urban transportation which aims to provide affordable, clean, safe, informative, efficient and accessible transport systems, with special attention to the diverse needs from all factions of the society, especially the specially-abled, elderly, women and children.
In his inaugural address, Shri Puri said that the urban population in 2020 accounted for 56% of the total global population, up from 30% in 1950, and is expected to increase to 60% by 2030. Of this, almost 90% is anticipated to be in Asia and Africa. This accelerated urbanization is the driving force behind the need for increased transportation of people and goods which is responsible for more than 30% of the world’s energy consumption. He reiterated thatsustainable mobility and universal access is crucial for achieving the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Minister said that with the Government’s focus towards the world’s largest vaccination drive, which has now crossed one billion mark, India has taken a lead in this direction. He said that efforts should be concentrated towards continued reduction in transmission of the virus and this is why the 14th UMI is being conducted virtually.
The Minister said that the National Urban Transport Policy of 2006 highlights “Moving people rather than vehicles”, following which most vision documents and policy statements related to urban transportation are formulated. India’s prominent role in the formulation of the SDGs, asserts her prominence in bringing these goals to fruition. The national development goals of “Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas” policy initiatives for inclusive development converge well with the SDGs, and India will play a leading role in determining the success of the SDGs globally.
Shri Puri said that technology has enabled real-time analysis of transport and traffic,and public sector agencies have now begun to encourage the use of public transportation through new mobility business models such as on-demand and multimodal trip-planning applications. “Moving people” has translated to “Moving people from all sections of the society” while maintaining that private vehicles on the street should be restricted, he added.
On the Metro Rail Policy, the Minister said that in order to achieve “mobility for all”, promotion of seamlessly integrated urban transport, and universal accessibility, the Ministry had disseminated the Metro Rail Policy, 2017. The policy stresses on induction of mass transit mediums, which has not only provided a truly reliable and accessible transit medium for the vulnerable sections of the society, but also mandates ensuring a more compact & walkable development patterns for the users.
On the changing mode of transport system he said, different Indian cities are either implementing or looking at new public transport systems, be it a metro, Metrolite, MetroNeo, High-capacity buses, in addition to uplifting infrastructure for Non-Motorised Transport by coming up with dedicated cycle lanes, improved footpaths and other street side infrastructure.
In his welcome address, Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, said the focus of this conference is to bring ease of living with suitable urban mobility policies. This would be achieved by concentrating on innovation and technology in the sector. He said that urban transportation means urban transformation, with emphasis on affordable, sustainable and green urban transport. He said that during the Covid-19, three different challenges were introduced in the country- Cycle4change, Strret4people, and Transport for all.
The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Daniel Ernesto Moser, Head of the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) Germany, while special address was given by Prof Dr. Claudia Warning, Director General, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
A film titled “India at 75-Mobility for All” and five publications, namely ‘Toolkit on Mobility as a Service (MaaS)’, ‘Source Book on PPP Arrangements for Urban Bus Operations in India’, ‘A compendium of ‘SMART-Sustainable Urban Transport’, ‘Compendium of ‘SMART-MOVE – Innovative Urban Mobility Challenge 2021’ and ‘Service and Business Plan for City Bus Operations for two ESCBS Cities Chandigarh and Mira-Bhayandar under the World Bank—GEF assisted Efficient and Sustainable City Bus Services (ESCBS) Project’ were also released.