Fazilka Dial-a-rickshaw project on MIT radar
Make them yours
This is a terrific, excellent world-level project Navdeep.
I have been following some of the rumblings on it with my ear to the ground on this end of the planet, but your note of this morning clarifies and makes my mouth water. The mere fact of putting at the base of the project the one and only cardinal rule of real sustainable transport, i.e., you work with what you have. Brilliant!!
All involved, including Chris and Albert, you and Sandeep and surely many others, are to be congratulated on their clear original thinking. Now let's see how it plays out.
I would love to have an article(s) for World Streets on this, and then to follow up as things progress. What can I say? Wow!
Thank you again,
Eric Britton, Editor / Managing Director
8, rue Jospeh Bara 75006 Paris France
Tel. +331 7550 3788 | editor@... | Skype: newmobility
From: sustran-discuss-bounces+editor=worldstreets.org@... [mailto:sustran-discuss-bounces+editor=worldstreets.org@...] On Behalf Of Asija, Navdeep
Sent: Saturday, 30 July, 2011 06:05
Subject: [sustran] Fazilka Dial-a-rickshaw project on MIT radar
Chandigarh Fazilka, ::
the newly-created district of Punjab, is making news on the international
front. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in US is studying its eco
cab project, where a rickshaw arrives at your doorstep soon after you call
up a call centre. Their objective: To see how the new experiment can help
civic bodies offset the traditional car-centric development patterns that
have handicapped many cities — from Beijing to Bangalore.
The project, titled “Future of Urban Mobility”, has been given to MIT by the
Singapore government to study solutions in regard to sustainable urban
transport. What has excited MIT about the dial-a-rickshaw project in Fazilka
is how intelligence systems (cellphone network) can be used with existing
transportation modes to benefit townships.
To study the project in detail, Albert Ching — a research assistant in the
Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT — recently visited Fazilka.
His specific mandate was to study the eco cab project in the township.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ching said preliminary study has revealed
that intelligence infrastructure (mobile telephony) in India has developed
much ahead of transport infrastructure. “India has more than 700 million
cellphones versus about 13 million cars. After visiting Fazilka, I learnt
fully how their project works. They have five call centres — one for each
sub-zone. You dial the call centre in your area and within five to ten
minutes, the rickshaw puller reaches you,” said Ching.
The aspiring urban innovator said this is almost a revolution in terms of
urban transport. “It takes care of multiple issues like traffic congestion,
air pollution, parking, road safety, etc,” he said. With the efforts of
Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF) — a local NGO — and the local
administration, Fazilka now has car-free zones and pedestrian areas.
Ching was told to study the Fazilka project by P Christopher Zegras,
associate professor in Transportation and Urban Planning at MIT. “The
Fazilka experiment seems to offer an important demonstration of merging
advanced mobile communications technology with sustainable mobility
services. Such advances will be crucial to improving the quality of life in
urban areas across the world in the 21st century — offering affordable,
reliable, convenient, job-creating, low-carbon mobility solutions,” Zegras
told The Indian Express.
The researchers studying the “Future of Urban Mobility” project at MIT have
found that a major problem being faced by developed countries like Singapore
is their car-centric infrastructure. This has caused a high auto-dependence,
with too many people choosing to use cars. “Countries like Singapore can’t
turn back the clock. But many other cities which have rickshaws in public
transport can replicate the eco cab concept. Fazilka will be a case study
for our project, to spread the word about how it can be done. If something
good happens in Fazilka but nobody comes to know about it, it will be a big
waste,” said Ching.
GWAF Secretary Navdeep Asija said the township has five call centres for the
eco cab project. The project will get a further boost with a new scheme
introduced by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
Sandeep Diwan, BSNL’s General Manager (Enterprise Business) said that for
the first time in the country, the Nigam has given 900 pre-paid mobile
connections under a closed user group. Within the group, users have free
unlimited calling. With a dedicated series, the project will soon have nine
call centres and greater access to rickshaw pullers.
“The eco cab project works best within a zone of 3 km. Bigger cities can
create sub-zones to ensure success of the project,” said Asija.
HC flak for Haryana for not launching eco cabs
Irked over non-filing of a response with regard to the steps taken for the
launch of eco cabs, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday directed the
director of Haryana urban bodies department to be present before the court
on the next date of hearing.
A division bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and Ajay Tewari observed
that the state’s response was not too serious towards the issue. The
directions were passed during the resumed hearing of a PIL arising out of a
suo motu notice taken by the high court on a news item published in The
The court held that on March 25, the bench had asked the government to get
in touch with Navdeep Asija — running a Graduates Welfare Association in
Fazilka — to take his views into consideration on the issue of introducing