Cycling for Everyone
Cycling for Everyone

Cycling Infrastructure Capacity Building in Mysuru, India

4 May 2023

From February 13th to 17th, 2023, the Dutch Cycling Embassy led a five-day capacity building training on the topic of urban cycling at the Administrative Training Institute in Mysuru, India. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) proposed the organization of this training for 50 government officials from four states (Karnataka, Gujarat, Orrisa and Kerala) as institutional reforms which are essential for introducing and implementing sustainable transport in India. The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) representing the Government of Karnataka supported the initiative, both content-wise as well as offering the Institute as the anchor for the training program.

The program covered, but was not limited to, the following themes: infrastructure and intersection design, network planning, combining cycle and public transport, mobility hubs, transitioning pop-up to permanent infrastructure, traffic education, and cycling stimulation. It was delivered to the participants in an interactive manner through a mix of classroom presentations, discussions, question-and-answer sessions, site visit, serious game, and interactive group work.

The content was based on successful Dutch principles and addressed areas that can help communities become more cycle-friendly. This integrated approached is based on effective Hardware, Software and Orgware. However, every city, region and country is different. Therefore, the content was not imposed onto the participants but sketch as a way to learn from Dutch experiences while encouraging customizing to local geographic, political and cultural context. The aim was to build a cycling network that is safe and sustainable for people of all ages, abilities, and for different types of cycles. As a result, cycling as a mode of transport becomes accessible to everyone.

The team of experts included Niels van Oort (TU Delft), Erik Tetteroo (HODworks), Teije Gorris (DTV Capacity Building), Dirk de Jager (Sustainable Solutions) and Shelley Bontje (Team Lead, Dutch Cycling Embassy), who prepared customized learning materials for the training.

The five-day training program kicked off at with an inauguration session with Ernst Doering⁠—Cluster Coordinator, Sustainable Urban & Industrial Development of GIZ, Achim Bukart⁠—Consul General, Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ewout de Wit⁠—Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands of South India, and V. Manjula⁠—Commissioner of the DULT. The inauguration session was concluded with an enjoyable group cycle ride on the campus of the institute.

The second day featured a mix of classroom sessions, on-site visits, and discussions concerning the selected case studies. Essential in the integrated approach is taking network planning as the starting point. Therefore, Erik provided the participants with an insightful presentation on cycle network planning in the Netherlands. Among others discussing challenges and opportunities, route choices, hierarchy of road networks differentiated by mode and design objectives. Teije continued the presentation with a deep dive into the Dutch five design principles. At first, he analysed who we are designing for, i.e. which target groups, as well are what are the characteristics of the cyclists. To further perpetuate the theory and practice gained by the presentations and the exercise, it was then time to go outside and visit as well as experience and discuss the real time case studies.

The third day started with the question: How to get to the optimal (transport) mix? Niels shared the foundations to answer the question properly by transferring his knowledge concerning among others present technology trends (i.e., automation, electrification, information and sharification), emerging modes, public transport systems and micromobility. He also discussed the need of balancing (societal) costs and benefits which are key for answering the question. Niels identified the potential benefits of sustainable modes based on the 5xE model: Effective mobility, Efficient City, Economy, Environment and Equity. This day also included a site visit. During the site visit each mentor group visited on of the three identified mobility hubs of Mysuru: the intracity bus station, the intercity bus station, and the train station. At each hub, a presentation by the local manger was provided, as well as the participants had to execute on the spot exercises.

The fourth day consisted of a full program of discussing enabling strategies for the implementation of active mobility. Dirk de Jager provided a deep dive on the Orgware aspect of active mobility. He explained the importance of having Orgware in place as it includes all the preconditions to make a successful change toward inclusive cycle strategies or masterplans. As an intermezzo of the exercise, and elaborating on factors which influence Orgware, GIZ supported in organising a panel discussion on inclusive cycling, focusing on cycle users with limited mobility. The panel consisted of Chandni Auja (GIZ), Teije Gorris (DTV), Prateek Khandelwal (Ramp my City), Shirish Mahendru (GIZ) and Shelley Bontje (DCE). The panel discussed challenges faced by persons with disabilities in accessing transport modes, first and last mile connectivity problems, and the need to make infrastructure inclusive for adapted cycles. This was followed by a screening of the film Together We Cycle and a panel discussion including representatives from the City of Mysore, workshops participants, DULT, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management, GIZ, BOSCH and MyBike.

After four intense, highly condensed and enjoyable days the training concluded with a morning full of presentations from the mentor groups as well as a festive closure ceremony wherein participants were granted their training certificates. The valedictory session included among others a reflection of trainer’s perspective on their experience of the program by Shelley as well as closing remarks by Ms. Manjula, Commissioner at DULT. She encouraged all participants to take up inclusive planning as an ‘’Investment for your own future, to keep yourselves young and healthy forever’’. Mr. Manjunath Sekhar⁠—Project Manager Green Urban Mobility Innovation Living Lab project, concluded that the five-day workshop was a great success and an outstanding example of Indo-German-Dutch cooperation. He sincerely thanked all participants and organizers involved for their commitment. The trainers and the dignitaries handed out the certificates and an evaluation form to all of the participants.

Based on the evaluations, the training was graded 4.77 points out of 5. Several testimonials were received, including the following: ‘”The stimulating training environment and chance to talk with other city representatives and international experts have made me re-evaluate my own assumptions and misconceptions about the successful implementation of active transportation and public transportation. I feel better equipped now to make more logical decisions that take the needs of a wider range of stakeholders into account and are also more likely to be accepted. The program emphasised the value of logical planning and implementation on the ground to gather experience before scaling up. It emphasised how crucial it is to keep learning and getting better in order to succeed.’’

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