A roadmap to enhance micro-mobility in Chennai

Smrithi Prasad is an Architect and holds a Masters degree in M.Plan, specialized in Urban Design from CEPT University. She has more than 2.5 years of experience in the research and planning of sustainable mobility projects. She is currently associated with ITDP and is extensively supporting the team with high-quality research on various developments in the field of sustainable mobility which includes bus systems, shared mobility, informal public transport, gender and transport and electric mobility.


Micro-mobility refers to small, lightweight vehicles that typically operate at speeds below 25 km/h, which can be human-powered or electric, shared or personally owned and are ideal for short trips up to 10 kms. By encouraging micro-mobility, public transportation can become the fastest, cost-effective option for most trips, yielding benefits such as better first-and-last mile connectivity, urban resilience, improved air quality, increased physical activity, better health outcomes and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. However, despite these potential benefits, micro-mobility still remains nascent to the city of Chennai. This project of micro-mobility focuses to provide a real tangible solution to bridge the first-and-last-mile transportation gap by identifying a potential precinct in Chennai, integrating various modes of public transportation with cycle-share facilities, collaborating with localities to analyze the potential walkable and cyclable routes within the precinct for the people to commute to the transit stations, designing a good street network for the people to walk/cycle within the precinct, creating social media awareness campaign etc., thereby sensitizing the people of Chennai about the adoption of green transportation. Scaling up more such neighbourhood level planning will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, liveable and healthier cities with interconnected walking and cycling street networks.

As cities face rapid population growth, the need to move more residents through existing transportation networks is becoming ever more pressing. While mass transit remains the most efficient means of moving large numbers of people long distances, getting people to and from transit remains a perennial difficulty—the much-discussed first-mile/last-mile challenge.If people lack a convenient, affordable way to get on a bus or train, they are far more likely to opt for a personal vehicle, contributing to the gridlock and poor air quality that plagues so many cities. Micro-mobility integration with public transport offers a tantalizing solution to address the first-mile/last-mile problem and to shrink the transit deserts in the city.


The covid pandemic emphasized the significance of micro-mobility in various cities and as a way forward towards sustainable mobility, we should rethink our transportation networks with micro-mobility as a critical mode. Being an urban designer, it is my responsibility to take individual action against climate change and I believe in the concept of making a few small alterations in our ways of living to collectively create a big impact.

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