AMRUT Capacity Building Workshop in Gujarat Initiates Discussion on Holistic Urban Transport Planning and Innovation
Recently empanelled as a national training institution for urban planning by the Ministry of Urban Development, WRI India has been leading capacity building initiatives under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) programme in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Through a series of intensive residential workshops, our trainings strengthen the skills of Urban Local Bodies and introduce them to best practices in urban development solutions.
WRI India recently conducted a three-part series of trainings for the Government of Gujarat, with support from the Gujarat Urban Development Mission. The event was held in Gandhinagar on 14-16 September 2016, and was attended by almost 30 Urban Local Body representatives from 20 cities of the state. Participants hailed from a range of urban departments such as municipal corporations, urban development authorities, and public works agencies. Training sessions were led by experts from the WRI India team.
The training focused on various aspects of public transport planning, fielding learning capsules on subjects such as Non-Motorized Transport, Optimization of City Bus Services, Transit Oriented Development, and Safe Access to Mass Transit. The sessions were designed to include a range of interactive exercises and teaching tools, including:
- Dedicated sessions for participant-led discussions and presentations, such as one focusing on the various AMRUT projects sanctioned in the state and the peer-based learning possibilities in the same.
- A specially-designed board game to help participants understand safe access principles in the context of Ahmedabad’s Ranip precinct, an upcoming multimodal transit hub.
- Simple formulae to quickly assess a city’s public transport infrastructure needs, such as fleet size.
- A site visit to Gandhinagar’s GBike system, where participants were able to view the operational and infrastructural elements behind public bike sharing services.
- A site visit to Ahmedabad’s Janmarg system, with participants being shown the BRT system’s state-of-the-art control centre in addition riding on the system itself.
The workshop’s content and structure were greatly appreciated by the participants, with many noting the focus on contextualizing all learnings with examples from within the state and other relevant cities from across the country, and the use of interactive teaching methods to foster participant-led ideation and discussion. Ms. Deepa Dave, Assistant Urban Planner, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, who participated in the training, noted that the use of short site visits and learning tools such as the board game on Safe Access to Mass Transit had contributed greatly towards making the training an immersive and hands-on experience for all participants.
The key takeaways from the workshop included:
- The importance of innovating and contextualizing global urban solutions to the specific natures of Indian cities.
- The need for holistic planning to create universally accessible public transport infrastructure.
- The existence of multiple innovative financial pathways towards building and sustaining public transport infrastructure.
Many participants, particularly those from smaller cities like Porbander, Bharuch, and Surendranagar, felt that the discussions and ideas hosted through the training had the potential to be translated into on-the-ground projects, and were keen to revisit their cities’ development agendas to assess the scope and possibilities in realising the same. They also felt they had benefitted greatly from the guided site visits which helped them understand urban transport innovations from a more relatable and local perspective.
Mr. J B Patel, Deputy CEO of Gujarat Urban Development Mission and Chief Guest at the training was happy to see attending Urban Local Body officials collectively brainstorming on urban challenges, and urged them to use their learnings as a pivot for ushering transformative positive changes in their cities.
WRI India will revisit these learnings and advance participants’ understanding of urban transport and development in the next edition of this workshop.