Founding Organizations - EMBARQ India, IAmGurgaon, Pedalyatri, Duplays & Heritage School, with support from Gurgaon Police;
Supported by - Times of India, Radio Mirchi, NASSCOM, DLF 5, Palam Vihar Residents Association, Tabono Events, Sri Ram School, Bhagta Bharat, Running & Living, Let's Walk Gurgaon, Gurgaon First, DPS Sector 45; Amity International School, Excelsior School;
Sponsors - Nagarro, Coca Cola, Conscient, Reebok, Genpact
How does your idea encourage citizens to participate in making roads safer?
Streets are public assets, but on most days are monopolized by cars, two-wheelers, trucks, buses, etc. On Raahgiri Day, predefined roads are blocked to motorized vehicles so that people can regain ownership of the streets; so that residents including both young and old people can come out on roads, without the fear of being hit by vehicles, and enjoy the freedom of walking, cycling on streets with their family and friends.
Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Raahgiri is essentially about providing safe streets to NMT modes, to encourage creation of living streets. It is a demonstration to public agencies, that people want to cycle or walk if safe infrastructure is provided. The biggest barrier might be the lack of understanding of the real cause behind this movement, which might convert the movement into a mere carnival; such that no infrastructural changes (creation of cycle and foot paths) happen.
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following challenges?
Active citizenship: Projects that work to promote active engagement with road safety from individual citizens, pedestrians, communities, and social networks, or that use education as a tool to raise awareness and promote engagement.
If yes, how is your project applicable to the Bangalore context?
This project can be applied to all Indian cities. In fact Bangalore already has a movement of its own called the "Cycle Day" where citizen groups together with the administration are trying to promote cycling in the city. By expanding the scope of that movement to include other NMT modes, and extending it to a Raahgiri Day, might help raise other issues around road safety; it will also encourage and sensitize a larger segment of residents who might not want to cycle but start using other NMT and PT modes in their daily lives.
The Raahgiri team in Gurgaon did a recent survey in the Raahgiri zone to quantify the impact of this movement. Out of a sample of 185 respondents, 28% said that they have bought cycles after experiencing cycling on the Raahgiri Day, while a significant 87% said that they now walk/cycle to cover shorter distances. This movement has had a great impact on building a sense of community in Gurgaon. Instead of sleeping it over, residents now prefer to come out on Sunday mornings with family and friends. About 31% said that they come with friends and 53% with families.
The environmental impact of this movement has been a ground breaker. The noise level in the Raahgiri loop on Raahgiri Days is found to be 18% lesser than that on weekdays and about 2% lesser than on Non-Raahgiri Sundays. Not just this, the air pollution level (PM 2.5 emissions) on Raahgiri Days is found to be 49% lesser than on weekdays and 24% lesser than on Non-Raahgiri Sundays.
The movement has also has a positive impact on local businesses. About 80% of shop owners who did not like the concept of Raahgiri before it began, now like it because there sales have increased significantly.
Therefore the impact of this movement is multifold and has the potential to positively impact all Indian cities, specially looking at the current scenario of a pressurized transport infrastructure and a significant impact on our environment because of that.