EQUIMOB: Inclusive Cities through Equitable Access to Urban Mobility

Field Sites

Our research team is working in three main field sites: Delhi, Bengaluru and Dhaka.


Women commuters and their unequal access to mobility infrastructures in Delhi (Researcher: Dr. Saakshi Joshi)

In Delhi, the project explores how gender is a barrier for women to access transport for work, education, healthcare, and leisure. It will also explore whether user-centred initiatives in Delhi’s public transport such as the free bus tickets for women are helping re-imagine public spaces for different women, or if such changes are short-lived and cosmetic. The participants are adult women (18 years and above; with or without disabilities) using the metro, public buses and intermediate transport modes like walking, auto-rickshaw, battery-powered/electric – rickshaw.

Through a focus on women, the city serves as an important site to explore and understand how social and physical barriers impact access to transport facilities for different groups. The high level of harassment faced by women in Delhi, including in public spaces such as bus-stops and streets, becomes a critical reason for the research to focus on transport access and its analysis through a gendered lens. Through this, the project will lead to developing inclusive guidelines for safe and accessible transport use by women.

In early 2020, fieldwork for the project started after consultations with consortium members and diverse stakeholders. These initial conversations contributed to site selection, rapport establishment, and potential for future research uptake.


Inequalities and barriers in accessing urban mobility infrastructures for older adults in Bengaluru, India (Researcher: Divya S. Patil)

The current emphasis of the sustainable development goals is to make cities and urban infrastructure inclusive for the vulnerable population, which will have an impact on their well-being. There is an increasing concern with respect to the quality of life of the ageing population across the globe that have direct and indirect relationships to access to transportation facilities. Older adults face many barriers in the community that relate to the built environment, which includes public transportation and infrastructure. Older adults face more challenges as they age and are more dependent on the community for social support. Furthermore, reduced mobility narrows down the ability for older adults to socialize with other community members. The objective of this research study is to understand the needs, expectations and impact on the quality of life of older adults regarding urban mobility infrastructures and to develop an evidence-informed framework of interventions to improve mobility infrastructures. This research study will help policymakers make evidence-based decisions for a safe, accessible and sustainable urban mobility system.

Moving Together: Equitable access to mobility infrastructure for Older Adults and Persons with disabilities in Bengaluru (Researcher: Prajwal Nagesh)

Bengaluru, a metropolis in southern India has witnessed sporadic urbanisation. The city’s vibrant economy has led to a high-density population, accentuated inequalities and witnessed an alarming rate of motorisation. The transport infrastructure has come under immense criticism for being unable to cater to the rise in user demand. In light of this, the inequities faced by vulnerable sections require a comprehensive and rigorous research undertaking.

This project will focus on the transport barriers experienced by vulnerable sections like older adults and persons with disabilities. Three wards (administrative division) with intersections of low-income, marginalised social categories, distance from transport core of the city and socio-political reservations are chosen for the study. Visual survey methods at key transport sites, key informant interviews, in-depth participant interviews, and focus group discussions are planned for each of the wards. The sub-project will contribute to SDG 3 (health and well-being), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 11 (policy recommendations to make mobility infrastructures safe, accessible, affordable and available to vulnerable populations).


Older Adults and Barriers to urban mobility in Dhaka city (Researcher: Dr. Selim Jahangir)

The focus of the study is on older adults and barriers to urban mobility in Dhaka. Dhaka is one of the most densely populated megacities in the world. More than 105 million people dwell within an area of only 1463.60 square km and the bus is the most common mode of transport regarding affordability, availability, and maximum coverage area. The increasing population pressure has triggered greater demand for transportation. But the inadequate and poor transport system has resulted in congestion and delay, high traffic jam and poor management. The main objective is to develop evidence-based insights for affordable, safe and accessible urban mobility of older adults in and around Dhaka city. More specifically, the study aims to (a) explore the physical and social barriers faced by the older adults using transport facilities and the social and economic implications of such barriers (SDG-11&9) on older adults; (b) develop and contextualise measures to improve access to work (SDG-8), healthcare (SDG3) and social life (SDG-10) of older adults through improvements in the public and private transport system.

Currently, fieldwork has started and 32 in-depth interviews of the older adults from two neighbourhoods namely Lalbagh and Rayer Bazar have been collected. In addition, 12 interviews from rickshaw pullers, auto-rickshaw and CNG drivers have also been conducted. 15 interviews have been transcribed and for analysing the data coding of transcriptions has started.