Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Birendranagar

The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Birendranagar was a two-year project funded by GIZ under IKI and implemented by Green Decisions Labs, Sano Paila, and Cycle City Network Nepal. This project aimed to raise awareness about the benefits of a sustainable urban mobility plan and encourage its adoption. It involved collecting engineering and social data to design infrastructures that support sustainable urban mobility. Additionally, the project focused on preparing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) policy for Birendranagar and engaging its residents in capacity-building activities.

Our project began with the vital task of engaging and sensitizing the municipality of Birendranagar regarding the importance of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). A key meeting was convened including the mayor, deputy mayor, chief administrative officer, section officers, ward chairpersons and officers, police, engineers, and sub-engineers. This session served as an introduction and educational platform, outlining the essence, scope, and significance of the SUMP. It emphasized the critical role of the SUMP in promoting sustainable and efficient urban mobility within Birendranagar.

To further bolster understanding, an exposure visit was organized to Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, and Mumbai. Pune, exemplifying sustainable mobility efforts, served as a model for Pimpri-Chinchwad, which has been awarded ‘City with Best Non-Motorised Transport System’ and boasts a 54 km bus rapid transit system alongside 100 km of walking and cycling-friendly roads. The visit included touring key sites like 8 to 80 Park, Linear Garden, and Sai Chowk, observing people-friendly designs, pedestrian-friendly roads, cycle lanes, and public parks. The team also visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, in Mumbai, a historic and major railway station.

A community engagement program across all fourteen wards attracted 254 attendees. Participants reflected on mobility issues and collaborated on solutions through structured activities. They conducted a SWOT analysis of the transportation system and performed a root cause analysis using the “5 Whys” technique. After identifying root causes, they brainstormed potential solutions and identified key stakeholders to help implement these solutions.

The subsequent phase focused on understanding residents’ mobility patterns through an Origin-Destination Survey conducted across all wards. Volunteers from Nepalese Youth for Climate Action (NYCA) were trained in survey methods and sustainable urban transportation. Following a practice survey, the volunteers, along with trainers, collected data from 764 households over five days. This survey captured commuting duration, preferred modes of transport, commute purposes, destinations, and travel times. The Origin-Destination (OD) Survey identified the most popular commuting routes for pedestrians, cyclists, and auto users. Surveyors gathered geographic coordinates of households and estimated coordinates of destinations. Using ArcGIS and Python, we computed the shortest routes between origins and destinations, breaking them into segments. These segments were evaluated for frequency and overlap to rank the most commonly used paths, providing insights into high-traffic areas and major hotspots.

After analyzing the data collected and identifying major routes, the roads were analyzed according to five parameters: Demand, O-D Hotspot, Safety (Accident), Obstacle, and Municipality. A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with representatives from civil society organizations, including NYCA Karnali, Sundar Nepal Sanstha, and Mid Western University, was organized to ensure a community-driven approach in identifying intervention points for the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. The session aimed to share survey data, provide insights into the SUMP, and involve participants in rating key parameters for intervention. These ratings were used to calculate the weightage of the five parameters through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), a structured technique for complex decision-making involving multiple criteria.

The next phase transitioned into detailed mapping and infrastructure design for the identified  key road sections, leveraging insights from community engagement and data analysis. Topography surveys informed the creation of contour maps, while software tools like Smart Road and AutoCAD facilitated the development of infrastructure designs tailored to enhance urban mobility, including dedicated cycle lanes. Through a holistic approach encompassing stakeholder engagement, data-driven insights, and meticulous planning, the project aimed to pave the way for a more sustainable and efficient urban mobility landscape in Birendranagar.

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