Concerned over the increasing number of students travelling to school and college using private vehicles instead of walking, cycling or using public transport, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has launched a competition, seeking practical design solutions and policies that will reverse the trend.
“Over the past two decades, the percentage of students cycling, walking or using school buses has reduced drastically. As per the Common Mobility Plan (CMP) prepared in 2018, only 4 per cent students cycle to school whereas 21 per cent use private vehicles like cars and two-wheelers. The situation is alarming and this change in travel behaviour is adversely affecting city health and traffic and needs to be reversed,” a public notice issued by PMC said.
The decrease in use of cycles or school buses is mainly because they have not remained safe, reliable and convenient, the PMC said. This, in turn, results in a vicious cycle that sees more and more cars and two wheelers on the city roads, adding to congestion, delays and pollution.
“The PMC has selected nine school priority zones to be developed in a manner that would encourage students and school children between the age group of 12 to 18 years to cycle, walk to school and use sustainable modes of transportation,” V G Kulkarni, in charge of PMC road department, said.
“The civic body has floated an urban design competition to give a context-based and practical, implementable design solution that provides a strategy for safe access to schools and suggests policies to encourage model shift from private mode to public transport or non-motorised transport. This would be to develop infrastructure within 500 metres from the school,” Kulkarni added.
The nine priority zones based on major educational institutes are Deccan Gymkhana, Hadapsar, Lohegaon-Dhanori, Kothrud, Vadgaon Budruk, Parvati-Bibewadi, Pashan, Kondhwa and Kharadi.
Teams have to register by July 24 and submit proposals by August 31. Three winning teams will be announced on September 30 and will get prize money of Rs 5 lakh each.
The PMC will conduct a trial of the proposed design ideas on three pilot sites.
The competition is open to urban design, planning and architectural firms, and institutes and professionals in the country. The team can choose any one site for design demonstration purposes. Contestants are expected to do a reconnaissance survey of the site, interact with locals, school authorities, parents and traffic police, document issues and opportunities, make practical assessments of existing traffic, parking , hawking situations etc. and come up with practical interventions. Traffic calming measures and international best practices for student priority zones or slow traffic zones need to be referred to make the proposals workable on site, the PMC has said.
The design solution should be easy to implement, low cost and require less maintenance. It should also include a strategy to provide safe access to schools, road safety improvement plan, traffic calming measures etc.