Monthly updates

2020-Jan 2020-Feb 2020-Mar 2020-Apr 2020-May 2020-Jun
2019-Jul 2019-Aug 2019-Sep 2019-Oct 2019-Nov 2019-Dec
2019-May 2019-Jun


March-20:

PMC:

The long awaited "Pune Road Safety Committee" has been constituted finally!  This Committee will be chaired by Hon Mayor of Pune.  It has representatives of PMC, Pune Traffic Police, PMPML and RTO, along with 5 NGOs: SPTM, Parisar, SRF, CEE and CDSA.

This committee was formed at the behest of SPTM.  We will be coordinating various projects under the Pune Road Safety Campaign through this committee.

Improvements in pedestrian signals:

Today the pedestrian signals don't guarantee you a safe passage even when you start walking when the green man is ON.  This video tells you why that happens, and how SPTM is working with PMC to make pedestrians safer!

Training PMPML drivers:

The Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) regularly trains PMPML's drivers.  In March we conducted a "train the trainers" session for them, so that they can effectively teach PMPML drivers a technique to confidently and safely stop a vehicle before the stop line.

The COVID-19 outbreak:

The outbreak has brought our activities also to almost a standstill.  However, the lockdown has sparked a few new ideas, or shall we say that because of the lockdown, people are likely to be amenable to some ideas that were not considered feasible earlier!  Which are those?

In the next few days we are suggesting some such ideas on our Facebook page.  Please "like" it and give your feedback there!

SPTM can now accept donations online!

Our site did not have the ability to accept donations online, until now.  But now you can donate online too!

For which projects would we need money?

And while you are there, make a donation as well :)


 

February-20:

PMC

The new Commissioner Shri Shekhar Gaikwad had made some startling statements about BRT when he took the office.  It was evident that there were many gaps in his understanding of how a good BRT system could be useful.  MP Smt Vandanatai Chavan facilitated a meeting with him, where SPTM, Parisar and CEE explained to him why a good BRT system is essential for Pune if Pune hopes to achieve its mobility objectives.

Smart Cities

The Pune Smart Cities Development Corporation Ltd (PSCDCL) has a project to streamline traffic within 100 meters of 125 major chowks in Pune.  Luckily, we noticed some flaws in their designs, which could render their cycle tracks unusable by cyclists.  We discussed these flaws with them and they agreed that things should be improved.  As members of PMC's NMT Committee, we have an opportunity to avoid the damage before it happens.

Training PMPML drivers

The Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) regularly trains PMPML's drivers.  These sessions are supported by Smt Vimalabai Neelkanth Jatar Charitable Trust.  On SPTM's request, IDTR is now including a session on "How to stop the bus before the stop line, every time!", which uses training matter provided by us.  We will soon be conducting a "Train the trainer" session for IDTR's instructors.

However, this training happens in small batches every week.  We are also working on how we can train all PMPML drivers in a "burst".

Study of walking habits

Ashwini Sovani from SPTM coordinated a study in which we observed how pedestrians walked along roads that do not have footpaths.  Do they walk such that they can see oncoming vehicles?  We have some interesting observations!  Please read the Report on a study of walking habits of pedestrians in Pune.

Right to Walk

"Parisar" had organized a 2-day National Pedestrian Conference 2020, on 28th-29th Feb.  This year's theme was "Right to walk".  SPTM participated in a panel discussion on "Pedestrian empowerment - creating ecosystem of pedestrians".  It was interesting to understand the many ways in which people from different parts of the country look at pedestrians' rights.


 

January-20:

Pretty much the whole decision making administrators' team in Pune has changed in the last month or so. :(  The Municipal Commissioner, Head of Road Dept of PMC and PMPML CMD have been transferred, and DCP-Tr has taken up his post barely a month ago.  But NGOs working in this domain need to take such transfers in their stride...

PMC:

We met Hon Mayor Shri Mohol this month, and updated him about the Pune Road Safety Campaign.  He has showed keep interest in leading the campaign.  We hope he soon completes the process of forming the Pune Road Safety Committee.

The new Pune Municipal Commissioner made a shocking statement of "reconsidering the BRT", without realizing that one bus lane with sufficient number of buses carries more people than 2, or even 3 lanes of mixed traffic.  MP Smt Vandanatai Chavan organized a meeting of SPTM and other like-minded NGOs with the Commissioner, to urge him to reconsider this regressive statement.  The Commissioner has planned a meeting in February with SPTM and other NGOs, for improving his understanding of the BRT, and a detailed review.

Traffic Police:

We had a couple of introductory meetings with DCP-Tr.  We had noticed that when the Traffic Police give permission to events like Walkathons, they urge the participants to walk on the left side of the road!  We have given them a letter to reconsider and correct this clause.

Data speaks!:

On that note, we are conducting surveys of

  1. Walking habits: Which side of the road do people walk on?
  2. Helmet usage: How many parents use a helmet when dropping/ picking up children from school?

We should be able to publish these 2 reports in February.  Results from these surveys will help us decide the kind of projects we should take up on these fronts.

Outreach:

Modern urban transport planning focuses on sustainable modes like walking, cycling and public transport.  Traditional projects like flyovers, parking structures encourage use of cars and 2-wheelers, thus fueling congestion.  Unfortunately, the masses are still not aware of this, hence massive outreach efforts are needed.

SPTM will be coordinating a series of articles on this topic, in "Lokmat".  This series should also commence in February.  We will be writing several articles in the series too.

Network:

SPTM has joined a national forum called "SUM Net India" (http://www.sumnet.in/), which advocates Sustainable Urban Mobility solutions.  With this forum and network, we will be able to contribute to efforts of improving sustainable urban mobility across the country.


 

December-19:

1. PTP:

ARS (Accident Reporting System): We had good discussions with the (then) DCP-Traffic Shri Deshmukh and also with Commissioner of Police Shri Venkatesham, on using the "Third I" system for reporting traffic accidents also. The system is already being used for reporting other crimes, and has 80-90% of the capabilities needed for reporting and analysing traffic accidents.  We are in discussion with PTP and Third I about the features needed for a good ARS.

2. SPTM Staff!

Asmita Patil, Ashwini Sovani and Mahesh Kulkarni have pledged to spend some weekday hours for SPTM.  They will of course need a few months to learn the ropes.  Right now, Ashwini will focus on some studies, findings of which will be useful for us in our activities.  (Some of us have already volunteered for a project she is coordinating!)  Mahesh will also do so, but will soon shift to coordinating some projects.  Asmita is working on raising funds for SPTM's needs, and would also move to projects eventually.

3. Fundraising:

We have started contacting some prospective donors who could include SPTM in their CSR activities.  We will intensify these discussions in Jan and Feb, and let us hope that SPTM has some healthy CSR support before the next financial year begins.


 

November-19:

1. PMC:

The long awaited Karve Road site visit with Exec Engineer and Urban Designers of PMC happened, finally!  We explained our views on why the new cycle track on Karve Road is not effective and suggested remedies.  The PMC staff agreed with our views.  But the tough job begins now: 1) To ensure that they do not repeat such mistakes on other roads and 2) To have them fix this cycle track+footpath combo.

2. Pune Traffic Police:

We joined hands with Parisar and conducted a sensitization workshop on "Sustainable Transportation" for senior officers of PTP.  The objective was to make them aware of the recent steps taken by the city towards walk-bus-cycle friendly transportation planning, so that what the traffic police do is in sync with what PMC does.

3. PMPML:

After a few months of follow up, PMPML finally has all approvals in place for getting themselves ready for training their drivers so that they can stop the buses before the stop line at red signal.  We hope that they can complete their purchases by 15th December, and the training sessions can actually start.


 

October-19:

1. PMC:

We and other NGOs working on the "Pune Road Safety Campaign" want PMC to implement a few projects for improving road safety in Pune.  Though PMC has agreed to do these projects, we want to ensure that they have the required budget for these projects.  We teamed up with other NGOs and prepared budgetary proposals for these projects, viz., upgrading signal controllers, building mid-block crossings, providing CCTV coverage to black spots and an outreach campaign.  We submitted these proposals to Hon Municipal Commissioner.  Of course, we will need to follow up with PMC to ensure that they land up in the final budget.

2. Pune Traffic Police:

Their records show that there is some reduction in fatalities in Pune in 2019.  They sent us the data on fatal accidents in 2019 and we did some analysis for them.  Yes, the data they have is rather crude, but it suggests that 2-wh fatalities have fallen by ~37% while pedestrian fatalities have reduced by ~12%.  No matter how diluted the helmet campaign was, it seems to have worked!

3. Other:

Lions Club invited SPTM for a panel discussion to sensitize their members about various transportation issues and projects people see happening in Pune.

As a run-up to the Maharashtra Assembly Elections, 6 articles written by Harshad appeared in "Lokmat".  They were aimed at prodding voters to ask the right questions to the candidates.  Those who have "liked" our Facebook page must have seen them.  If you haven't yet, do like our FB page!


 

September-19:

1. PMC

Road Dept/ Street Design:

SPTM and Parisar has a joint meeting with the head of the Roads Dept, to discuss how the design of the new footpaths and cycle tracks can be improved, so that cyclists can find these really useful.  A site visit along with PMC's Urban Designers will happen soon.  This should lead to an improvement in their design process.

Electrical Dept/ Signals:

After we demonstrated the correct way to program pedestrian signals, the Electrical Dept of PMC requested us to submit a proposal to allocate budget next year to upgrade all old signal controllers in Pune, so that pedestrian signals at all intersections can be programmed properly.  This will go a long way towards improving pedestrians' safety.  We have submitted the proposal to them last week.

Hon Mayor/ Road Safety Committee:

The formation of the Road Safety Committee cleared a major step when all party leaders empowered Hon Mayor to form the committee.  However, this happened just a day before the Code of Conduct came in place, so this committee will have to wait for some time.

2. Pune Traffic Police:

There was some movement on the Accident Reporting System after a long time.  DCP-traffic said that the IT platform used by Pune Police may have some similar inherent capability, so it may be just a matter of adding a module.  He will be discussing this in detail in a week, after getting some info from Pune Police.


 

August-19:

1. PMC:

Road Dept:

On 31st July (missed writing about this last month...) SPTM, along with other NGOS (Parisar and CEE) conducted a sensitization workshop on "Sustainable Transportation" for staff of PMC's Road Dept.  The Road Dept essentially has civil engineers.  Their main job is "building roads and other infra."  They are not quite familiar with the recent progress made by Pune towards planning transportation in a sustainable way.  The workshop covered:

  1. An overview of "sustainable transportation"
  2. Pedestrian Policy
  3. "Urban Street Design Guidelines": Street Design that is inclusive for all
  4. Pune Bicycle Plan

Electrical Dept:

The Elect Dept is responsible for installing and maintaining the signals.  We interacted with them to explain them how the pedestrian signals at chowks are programmed in an unsafe way.  Then we had them program the pedestrian signal at Ganraj Chowk (Baner Road) in a correct way.  Now, at Ganraj Chowk, if you start crossing the road when the green man is ON, you will get sufficient time to cross the road before vehicular signal turns green.

This is the first such safe pedestrian signal in Pune, and probably the first even in India!

This improvement can be implemented only with the more recent signal controllers.  We are going to push PMC to provide enough budget in 2020-21 to upgrade all old signal controllers in Pune, and to also install any missing pedestrian signals.

Hon Mayor:

Meanwhile, the Mayor's office informed that formation of PMC's Road Safety Committee has progressed a couple of steps.  The Municipal Commissioner has signed our proposal.  We hope that the remaining steps will be completed soon.

2. PMPML:

PMPML's CMD approved our proposal to provide sufficient budget for conducting a special training session for all their drivers to be able to stop a bus before the stop line.  We hope that the required material for this training is in place in September and the sessions can also start.


 

July-2019:

Pune boasts itself of being an IT city, yet we don't have an IT based Accident Reporting System.  One of the projects under Pune Road Safety Campaign is to establish such a system.  We worked with CEE to develop a set of requirements for such a system for Pune and submitted it to DCP-Traffic.

The project with MIT WPU made a good "real start".  We have shortlisted a few points on which to make a few pilots.  This will help us decide a common theme, the pitch, etc.

Pedestrians' safety has a lot of focus under Pune Road Safety Campaign.  Many traffic signals do not have signals for pedestrians.  We followed up with PMC's Electrical Dept, who have issued a tender to buy some pedestrian signals.

SPTM is now a member of the newly formed "NMT Committee" of PMC.  This Committee, chaired by the Additional Municipal Commissioner and convened by the Head of the Road Dept, is intended to address issued faced by "non-motorized" transport (pedestrians and cyclists).  Being a member of this Committee gives us a very useful forum to impact what PMC does.


June-2019:

MIT World Peace University has offered to make and sponsor a set of 12 road safety videos to propagate road safety habits and also the Pune Road Safety Campaign.  We had our first meeting with MIT in June, and took some high level decisions.

As a part of the Pune Road Safety Campaign, PMPML intends to train all their drivers to be able to stop the buses before stop line at intersections with signals.  We discussed the training material with PMPML's CMD, and she has given a go ahead.

SPTM was invited by Lokmat for a brainstorming-cum-suggestions session along with DCP-Traffic and a few other NGOs.  We hope the session made Lokmat (and even DCP-Traffic) aware of some counter-intuitive yet effective transportation planning measures.

You must have noticed some footpaths around the city get a makeover.  Unfortunately, some of these footpaths and cycle tracks have some design issues.  SPTM is working with PMC's Cycle Department and Road Department to improve their design process, so that such issues don't arise hereafter.


 

May-2019:

As you know, SPTM is the lead coordinator of the Pune Road Safety Campaign led by Hon Mayor of Pune.  We requested the Mayor to call a meeting to take a stock of and to accelerate the projects committed by various government agencies.  This meeting was held on 22nd May.  It was decided to establish a "Road Safety Committee" with Hon Mayor as the Chairperson.  The process of formation of this Committee is in final stages.  SPTM will play the role of "secretary" of this Committee.