Town planning should focus on non-motorised movement – Kadiri

For the country to overcome the challenges of urban mobility in towns and cities, town planners must make efforts to enhance access through the incorporation of non-motorised movement such as walking and cycling.

This was the submission of a former President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Alhaji Waheed Kadiri, who spoke with our correspondent on the theme of this year’s World Habitat Day, ‘Urban mobility’.

He said urban planning must see mobility as one of its raison d’être, adding that confronting the challenges was important as the world was becoming predominantly urban.

Kadiri said, “The proportion of the world population living in urban areas is expected to rise from 51 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent by 2050. At the African level, it is anticipated that by 2015, approximately 41.1 per cent of the continent’s population will be residing in urban centres.

“The need to focus on urban mobility can also be predicated on the fact that a high proportion of global GDP are created in the urban areas, a contribution expected to be in the region of 86 per cent in 2025. Urban mobility currently accounts for 64 per cent, which is likely to triple by 2050.”

He added that the principle of land use separation and density consideration should be re-considered for mixed uses and higher density of development in urban centres in the country.

Kadiri, a former Rector of the Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta, said, “If combined, these two will enhance easier linkage of people to places and also optimise land value. We should create towns and cities that focus on accessibility and optimal urban densities rather than simply increasing the length of urban transport infrastructure to serve the continuously expanding peri-urban developments.

“Efforts at enhanced access should also incorporate non-motorised movement such as walking and cycling,” he said.

Kadiri, said towns and cities could not be efficient in their functions except adequate mobility and access to goods and services were assured, adding that to attain and sustain economic and social development, physical contacts must be made and there must be movements to conquer distance.

He said personal mobility was essential to economic development as it helped to widen work and leisure opportunities for individuals, and also called for the integration of other modes of transportation other than road.

The former NITP president said, “Efforts need be made to integrate the various modes, railway, road and water seamlessly. This is where Information and Communication Technology comes in. As has been achieved elsewhere, an electronic card with pre-paid facilities should afford access to and transfer from different modes without the hassle of purchasing ticket at each interchange point.

“Other models that can be exploited include light rails. If mobility is to enhance economic development, it should not be limited to passenger conveyance only; provisions must be made for freight movement.”

Kadiri, however, said efforts should be made to incorporate every member of the society in improving mobility.

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