Walking in India is more of a class status, and is seen as something which only those who cannot afford vehicles resort to. “We have to make walking more fashionable so that more people take to it,” said Prof. Raja Angara from the School of Economics, University of Hyderabad .

Delivering a talk on ‘Economic Impact of Lack of Good Pedestrian Infrastructure in India’, jointly organised by the Goethe-Zentrum and Centre for Pedestrian and Infrastructure Planning (CPIP) here on Tuesday, Prof. Angara said that the paucity of pavements increases as the government plants trees on them. “In spite of foot over bridges existing in the city, pedestrians do not utilise them due to lack of habit, as most people are used to walking on roads,” he observed.

He stressed on the need to ‘pedestrianise’ areas, which means converting places so that vehicles aren’t allowed. “People here have been pushed on to the roads due to lack of walking space,” said Prof. Angara.

Citing a report on urban transport conducted by the standing committee on urban development in 2008, he said that 40 per cent of India’s population will be living in cities by the year 2040, and as a result, vehicular traffic is expected to grow at the rate of eight to 12 per cent per annum.

“With lesser space in cities, the walking mode in India is also expected to reduce by 0.5 per cent annually. It is not surprising that with the given growth rate of traffic, accidents have increased. And what’s more, 45 per cent of those involved in road mishaps are pedestrians,” Prof. Angara said.

People have been pushed on to the road due to lack of walking space, says UoH professor