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Geetam Tiwari is driving force behind India’s urban transit policies

Professor Geetam Tiwari's research revealed that pedestrians in Indian cities need better protection from freight trucks and motorbikes. (International Transport Forum)

As one of India’s foremost voices on transportation policy, Geetam Tiwari is accustomed to circumventing roadblocks — figuratively and literally.

Christina Olsen interviewed Tiwari for Meeting of the Minds about challenges that range from safeguarding pedestrians on India’s congested streets to finding cheaper ways to deploy electric buses.

Tiwari, an associate professor for transport planning at the Indian Institute of Technology (ITT) in Delhi, doesn’t limit her policy development to Indian municipalities. Her research is designed to help all poor cities, particularly in Asia and Africa. That’s why she’s sensitive to the presence of informal settlements and the need to integrate slum dwellers into planning efforts.

Her research pinpoints some disturbing trends. Despite a daytime ban on large freight haulers entering Indian cities, 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities in urban areas involve delivery vehicles. Many of the collisions are caused by small trucks allowed to ply city streets, the article says. Meanwhile, two-wheeled transport also is responsible for a disproportionate amount of traffic fatalities in India and throughout Asia. Among the reasons: traffic calming is more effective with cars, while motorbikes and mopeds sometimes illegally use lanes reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Meeting of the Minds

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