New Delhi: The Smart Cities Mission opened the registration for India Cycles4Change Challenge on 10th July, 2020. The challenge was launched on 25th June, 2020 by Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Housing and Urban Affairs. The event was marked by description of the Challenge brief and launch of the online portal for submission of application for participating cities. The event was attended by over 450 participants, including CEOs of Smart Cities, Commissioners, city officials, civil society organizations, experts, and citizens.
The Challenge aims to help cities connect with their citizens as well as experts to develop a unified vision to promote cycling. Cities are encouraged to collaborate with CSOs, experts, and volunteers as they develop and implement their plans. Citizen collaboration will also be a key metric in the evaluation of proposals submitted by the cities. To assist the cities in this aspect, the online portal also features a registration form for CSOs, urban designers, planners, students and other citizens who wish to collaborate with their cities.
Cities can access the Challenge Brief and register for the India Cycles4Change Challenge on the portal at https://smartnet.niua.org/indiacyclechallenge/. The portal also offers further details on the Challenge and a registration form for citizens, experts, and CSOs to express their interest in collaborating with the city for the project.
Applications open for cities
The Challenge is open to all cities under the Smart Cities Mission, capital cities of States/UTs, and all cities with a population of more than 5 lakh population. The Challenge will run in two stages. All eligible cities can register and submit their applications on the portal from 10th until 21st July.
The Challenge will run in two stages. Stage One will run until October where cities will focus on piloting quick interventions to promote cycling and developing a scale-up strategy. In October 2020, 11 cities will be shortlisted and will receive Rs. 1 Crore award and guidance from national and international experts to further scale-up the initiatives in Stage Two, which will be held until May 2021.
The vision of the India Cycles4Change Challenge
The need for personalized forms of transport is expected to increase as a response to COVID-19. A recent survey by the ITDP India Programme shows that cycling would increase by 50-65% as cities come out of lockdown. Cities around the world are leveraging the opportunity to expand their cycling networks and public bicycle-sharing systems. As per ITDP, increasing cycling can help cities in a green economic recovery. Investments in cycling infrastructure have economic benefits of up to 5.5 times the initial investment. Cycling for short distances can result in an annual benefit of INR 1.8 trillion to the Indian economy.
Cycling initiatives in India Cities
Indian cities have started working towards promoting cycling as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kolkata has proposed a dedicated cycle corridor by reclaiming parking spaces. The city will conduct a preliminary road survey within four months, after which the project will be implemented by early next year. In Guwahati, The Green lane Foundation, with the support of the Bicycle Mayor of Guwahati and Pedal for a Change, is conducting a survey for citizens to vote for the best routes for bicycle lanes in the city, which will be incorporated into the Challenge.