Friends of Public Transport Chennai, india

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Friends of Public Transport (FOPT) aims to make public transport in Chennai more understandable for the city's commuters, and encourage those trying to make the shift. Our approach leverages open access technology to provide information and tools commuters need to ensure a safe, comfortable, dignified, and sustainable urban mobility experience. FOPT aims to improve the way commuters navigate the city’s formal and informal public transportation networks by providing them with tools that can help to transcend the gaps in physical infrastructure. To this effect, FOPT is currently focusing its efforts to map all formal and informal transportation in Chennai digitally, and share all data openly because information is meaningful only if citizens can make use of it to improve the quality of their lives and of those around them.

CATEGORY: Professional SETTING: Urban STATUS: On-going

BY: Urban Design Collective

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: We plan to induct ‘Friends of Public Transport’ in the real world. Regular users of public transport who are confident of guiding others through the maze of the city will be given wearable badges that say ‘Friends of Public Transport’. If you happen to see anyone on the street with this badge, you could walk up to them and ask for help to commute to your destination through public transport. Our aim is to overcome the technological divide and reach more people on the ground. We also hope to develop a mobile platform, which apart from providing information, will enable users to report any changes or errors in the map so that it always remains current. This is particularly useful since construction activity in the city tends to result in frequent rerouting of public transport, in the process confusing commuters.

PARTNERS: FOPT was conceived as part of a study commissioned by the Institute For Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam in July 2016, ahead of the impending Habitat III Conference. The aim of the study was to test the mobility sector indicators of SDG 11 on the ground in three cities - Chennai, Mexico City, and Santo Domingo. Three local teams were deployed on the ground and each team developed its own study methodology to create a contextual narrative on the urban mobility sector. FOPT was the platform set up as part of the study methodology for Chennai and the Chennai team was comprised of Urban Design Collective and MOAD- The Madras Office for Architects and Designers. In the future as the project matures, we hope to engage the main transport organisations of Chennai; Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), Southern Railway, and Chennai Metro Rail Corporation. We also hope to engage paratransit purveyors such as the Auto Drivers Union, and daily commuters as champions for the project.