Should I give up or should I keep on chasing pavements, even if they lead nowhere?

March 22, 2013

This is a refrain from a song but could well have been the mantra of any of the several claimants to footpaths, infrastructure specifically intended for pedestrians but used by so many different claimants. Recent news coverage (where Transparent Chennai research or researchers have been quoted) on footpaths shows that the fight for pedestrian infrastructure is not simply between pedestrians and vehicles. Footpaths are a constant war zone where pedestrians, private vehicle owners, the local government, public transport authorities, public gas, telecom, water and sewerage and electricity agencies, private telecom corporations, shopkeepers, political parties, hawkers all battle it out shoulder-to-shoulder. Into this fray entered Transparent Chennai with its walkability surveys. Our team of researchers – Kadambari Badami, Roshan Toshniwal and Lalitha Selvarajan – are working to provide a comprehensive understanding of the problems, many of which stem from poorly thought-out designs, and to suggest potential solutions in partnership with local residents. Follow our work for regular updates, and volunteer for our surveys to take action!