If the roadmap for a state is defined by its forward-thinking approach, then Jharkhand is definitely en route to carving out its legacy. Coming into existence at the turn of the 21st century, the state is making giant strides in various fields; sustainable mobility included.

According to the 2011 Census, only 24% of the population resided in urban settlements. But the wave of urbanisation has already hit shore and the state administration is taking proactive measures to augur well with the change.

Urban mobility, the state realises, could prove to be a stumbling block or the impetus that fuels its downfall or leads to its growth. In this regard, Jharkhand is betting big on a future where sustainable transport is not an afterthought but the notion. A concern that is well understood and supported by the ITDP India Programme.

Stressing on the fact that transport planning should focus on the movement of people, not vehicles, Jharkhand showed an active interest in urban designing based on the principles of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). In 2016, the Jharkhand Urban Development and Housing Department (JUDHD) sought the ITDP India Programme’s sound input for the state-level TOD Policy, which has now been published in the state gazette in 2017.

The policy provides a strategic framework to create compact, liveable cities, where 80% or more of the urban population has access to high-quality public transport. It encourages urban planning practices that promote sustainable modes of transit while simultaneously discouraging the use of private motor vehicles.

Rolling the Ball on Parking Management

Inspired by the success of Ranchi’s Pilot Smart Parking Management, state authorities acted swiftly to frame a regulation for parking management across the state. The India Programme provided vital inputs to JUDHD to draft the statewide parking regulation—which was approved by the cabinet in late 2017.

Testing out Cycle Sharing

Since bicycle sharing is a key element to sustainable transport, the State Urban Development Agency (SUDA), in 2017, began work to check Ranchi’s feasibility to the project. The India Programme is providing technical input for this study and the spillover feasibility studies which are being conducted for Jamshedpur and Dhanbad. 

Sustainability as a Policy

Inspired by Maharashtra’s Urban Mobility Policy, the Jharkhand government began laying the groundwork for a sustainable urban transport policy. Designed with the National Urban Transport Policy in mind, the policy will emphasise on adequate road space for sustainable transport modes, such as walking, cycling, and public transport. The policy, with the India Programme offering technical expertise, has been drafted and submitted to the state for further scrutiny and reviews.

Jharkhand’s move to jump on the sustainable urban mobility bandwagon will help develop its transport sector for the long-haul. The administration has readily displayed its resolve to put its people above automobiles. And hence, in the coming years, the state will be a testament of urban mobility through the scope of sustainable practices.