Indian Cities and SDG 11.2

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Hitesh Vaidya.

India is transforming into an ever more urbanised country. Most estimates indicate that India’s urbanisation is poised to accelerate in the coming decades. The scale of the projected urban population offers both an opportunity, as well as a challenge of mobilizing resources and capacity to manage this transition.

Recent global policy discourses orchestrated under the aegis of the United Nations, such as the Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030), the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol and the New Urban Agenda – all stress upon the need for concerted focus at the city and the community scale and contribute direct tangible benefits to the quality of lives of the people. India affirms its commitment to the larger goals of urban equity and eradication of poverty, productivity, competitiveness, innovation, and urban resilience, all while respecting the carrying capacity of the planet.

A much-needed urban transformation is the core focus of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11. SDG 11 consisting of 10 sub-goals and 15 indicators, is most relevant for shaping and function of future cities. It seeks to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through eliminating slum-like conditions, providing fossil-fuel-free transportation, renewable energy and improved urban planning, reducing urban sprawl, increasing participation of people in urban governance, enhancing cultural and heritage preservation, addressing urban resilience and climate change challenges, better management of urban environments (pollution and waste management), providing access to safe and secure public spaces for all, and improving urban management through better policies and regulations. India through its flagship missions is already striving towards inclusive, safe, sustainable and adequate housing for individuals and families while promoting livelihoods, innovation, urban renewal and the preservation of India’s built heritage.

The National Institute of Urban Affairs and eGov magazine have collaborated to raise awareness, inform, recognize, celebrate, and share successes through bringing out a special series focusing on SDG 11. The second issue of the series focuses on SDG 11.2—provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons by 2030.

Transportation networks are the arteries of any country’s economy. Currently, the transport sector contributes around 6.81 % to India’s economy. Transportation networks and services contribute to the physical, social, and economic well-being of the people by providing access to jobs, health, education, and other key services. Wellintegrated, sustainable, and inclusive transportation also fosters development, promotes equity, and reduces poverty in an urban area.

This issue is a collection of 13 articles and four interviews related to the urban transportation situation in India. They highlight the need for a holistic understanding and assessment of the urban transport sector across social, environmental, and economical aspects. The broad themes covered in the articles include accessibility-mixed land use and smart growth, transit-oriented development, transportation cost and affordability, public transport, transport facilities and accessibility by women, children, PwDs and older people, urban transport schemes and policies in India, transport finance models, use of technology, information and data in transportation planning.

NIUA is committed to helping Indian cities perform better. To achieve this objective, along with our own resources, we partner with media, industry, academia, and other government and non-government organisations for effective research, capacity-building, and advocacy outcomes. This collaboration is a demonstration of the same. Teams at NIUA and eGov magazine have enthusiastically worked to collate a diverse range of knowledge-base on the crosscutting issues in the transport sector in India for this special issue. My sincere thanks to all the authors who have contributed to this special issue and shared their knowledge to make this issue possible.




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