NMTrefers to all modes of transportation that are not powered by a motor. Thisincludes walking, cycling, and other non-motorized Vehicles (NMVs) that can attainlimited speeds, i.e. less than 25 km/hr. The importance of NMT as an affordableand environmentally friendly transport mode is increasingly being recognizedfor its great potential in reducing emissions, improving safety, and createsmore sustainable urban environments.
InIndian cities NMT not only suffers from general neglect and lack of attentionfrom policy makers, urban planners, and engineers, but also suffers from thesocial stigma brought about by the captive nature of NMT use. NMT, therefore, needsto be understood and encouraged from a policy, institutional, planning, culture,and enforcement approach.NMTin India means far more than simply walking and cycling. Instead, it encompassesa wide array of people on streets riding in cycle rickshaws, pulling handcarts,selling wares on vending carts, riding handicap tricycles and bullock carts aswell as children being pushed in prams. All of these modes conflict with a numberof motorized modes on city roads, which lead to unsafe and congestedconditions. In general terms, NMT users can be classified into two categories:those who walk or cycle out of choice and those who are “captive users” and haveno other choice. Indian cities are dominated by the latter, though choice usersare substantial in number. NMT use by choice remains a latent demand primarilydue to the absence of dedicated infrastructure.
Here NMT modes are alsoclassified into commuting and commercial modes – to be able to understand theirunique needs. E-rickshaws, even if nonpolluting is not included as an NMT modebecause it is not powered by human energy.Numbersof accidents in India have increased from 21.2 to 41.
1 per lakh population in2011. The share of urban areas in these accidents was 46.5 per cent. Moreover,the most vulnerable groups, the pedestrians (9 per cent) and the bicycle riders(4.8 per cent) were the most affected by these accidents.
NUTP (2007) also statesthat the use of cheaper non- motorized modes like cycling and walking has becomeextremely risky, and raised a concern that it tends to impact the poor more severelyas many of those killed or injured tend to be cyclists, pedestrians or pavementdwellers. Itis known that the use of NMT increases the road capacity. Pedestrians andcyclists require less space than cars and hence better laid footpaths and segregatedbicycle lanes would assist in better utilizing existing roads. In capital deficitcountries, which are the developing countries, this strategy would mean betterspent available capital. Carrying people by car requires 2.
6 times greater roadarea than by bicycle (IRC 1990). Together with this, NMT provides personal, flexible,and inexpensive mobility. Walking and cycling are the two activities that generallyhappen at road edges, which are undoubtedly one of the most neglected spaces onIndian roads.
The general definition of road is taken to be as movement space formotorized vehicles, and its purpose is thought to be solved if car traffic movessmoothly on it.Theshare of NMT (walking and cycling combined) in Indian cities in the early 1980swas in the range of 40-60% of the total trips. Rickshaws- a unique type of NMTused for both passenger and freight traffic holds a substantial share of modalshare in most Indian cities. However, rickshaws are often blamed for creatingcongestion in the traffic flow – an assumption which was refuted by Tafari et al. (2007), stating that providing segregatedlanes for NMT in fact increases the capacity of road. Rickshaws are animportant feeder service for public transport.