During his recent visit to South India, Mr Walter J. Lindner, Hon’ble German Ambassador to India, commended the efforts made by the SMART-SUT project with its partners to transform the mobility sector in the cities of Kochi and Coimbatore.
The coastal city of Kochi has taken several strides towards sustainable mobility, with the Mayor declaring 2021 as the ‘Year of Active Mobility’ for the city. GIZ’s SMART-SUT project has been supporting the Kochi Municipal Corporation in preparing a Transport Strategy Document (TSD) for the West Kochi Island and participating in various mobility challenges initiated by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India. The city was chosen as one of the winners of the Streets4People challenge and launched a campaign to become the Active Streets and Cycling Capital of India under the banner ‘Cycle With Kochi’.
Visiting the ‘Kochi Ithile’ wayfinding signage project, the ambassador appreciated its potential to benefit the tourists and locals visiting the West Kochi area and hoped for its replication across other cities in India. The project consists of 21 physical and 3 digital wayfinding signages along with a web application that provide localised information for tourists as well as citizens through legible text and graphics. This handy way-finding app is part of a larger project initiated by World Resource Institute India (WRI-India) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) called the ‘Way Finding’ project, that is being rolled out in collaboration with Kochi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Center for heritage, Environment and Development (CHED).
Followed by a bicycle ride, the Ambassador met the participants of the ‘Cycle with Kochi’ training programme for women, which aims to empower high school girls and women from low-income families by giving them a cost-effective and green mobility option. Supported by SMART-SUT, the programme has already benefitted more than 160 women and the training continues.
In Coimbatore, the ambassador visited an elementary school and interacted with the students on the importance of road safety around school precincts. He also lauded the efforts taken by the SMART-SUT project to support the municipal corporation in implementing an eco-mobility corridor with the redesign of 26 pedestrian hotspots, tactical urbanism guidebook and creation of safe school precincts.
Laghu Parashar — Deputy Project Head
Integrated Sustainable Urban Transport Systems for Smart Cities (SMART-SUT)