Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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8.2.3 Non-Motorised Systems

Non-motorised transport systems (bicycles, rickshaws, push-carts, etc.) have been used to meet transport needs of urban poor and rural dwellers in developing countries for a long time (Dimitriou, 1990; WRI et al, 1996). Recently, because of its environmental benefits, cycling is seen as an option to meeting the growing demand for urban travel provided its associated infrastructure is available (WRI et al, 1996). Some European cities have instituted bicycle-friendly measures such as dedicated lanes, improved signalling, etc. that have resulted in increased use and, thereby, in an improvement of the environment. Delft and Groningen in the Netherlands and Copenhagen in Denmark are examples. In the latter, cycle trips increased by 50% in five years after instituting a cycle infrastructure (PTRC, 1991). Cycling can be useful for short urban trips for both passenger and freight trips in cities of developing countries (Dimitriou, 1990). Its use varies widely among developing countries depending on the terrain, cost and safety. It represents 30-50% of urban trips in China, 15-20% in India, 3.5% in Africa and 16% in Latin America, though in the latter it is used more for recreational purposes. However, safety is a major problem; in New Delhi and Bangkok, 14% and 6% of fatal accidents were suffered by cyclists (Gate/GTZ, 1998). Despite this, for many developing countries with economic constraints cycling can be an option if they can satisfy associated infrastructure needs. Studies show that investments in infrastructure needs (dedicated lanes, parking facilities, inter-modal facilities, special signalling) could be recovered between 1 to 4 years with good planning (Simon, 1996). Walking forms a substantial share of movements in many countries, and can be a viable alternative for short distances if the associated infrastructure such as footbridges, attractive and convenient walkways and proper signalling are instituted.

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