The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has launched the India Cycles4Change Challenge to support smart cities to implement cycling-friendly projects in response to the Covid-19. In the first phase, 10 cities will be selected and will receive technical support from the Centre and also a reward of Rs 1 crore each.
“The portal would be launched on July 10,” Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Housing and Urban Affairs, said on June 25 at a webinar to mark the 5th anniversary of PMAY (U), Smart Cities Mission (SCM) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
The India Programme of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) will be the knowledge partner of the Smart Cities Mission to assist the Mission in conducting this challenge and guiding cities in developing and implementing their proposals.
A recent survey by the ITDP India Programme showed that cycling would increase by 50-65 percent as cities come out of lockdown. This was corroborated by the actual response on the ground with a sudden spike in the use of cycles.
Cycling can be a sustainable alternative to private motor vehicles. Cycling provides equal access to jobs, education, recreation, and other everyday activities for all sections of society – rich, poor, children, women, and others, she said.
The challenge aims to help cities connect with their citizens as well as experts to develop a unified vision and initiatives to promote cycling. In addition to creating extensive cycling-networks through low-cost interventions like pop-up cycle lanes and traffic-calmed or non-motorized zones, cities could launch programs such as community-led cycle rental schemes that increase the availability of cycles to citizens and promote the usage of cycling through public events and outreach, transport experts said.
The India Cycles4Change Challenge will have two stages. As part of stage 1, cities would have to register for the challenge after the launch of the portal on July 10. They would have about 10 days for the same.