Urban transport has been riddled with problems of increasing congestion, air pollution, rising accidents, rising greenhouse gases emissions and many other consequential impacts.
Major investments are being poured into infrastructure and systems development to deal with these issues, and there have been several studies that have estimated the quantum of investments needed for infrastructure spending along with various policy regimes emerging to enable and guide these investments. National governments have been driving these policies, processes and projects – often under the assumption that the urban local bodies do not have the capacity to plan and execute them, thus rendering the entire process undemocratic. Large infrastructure projects, which are often accompanied by land reforms, are re-shaping cities in an unprecedented manner, causing social upheaval. The environmental impact of these changes is both significant and largely ignored, as are the long-term financial consequences for the country and the city itself.
This toolkit has been created to enable a better decision making processes in the urban transport sector by providing a framework for assessing governance and decision making based on principles of Transparency, Accountability, Participation and enhanced Capacity (of both Government and Civil Society) (TAP-C) in developing cities in the global south, applying the tools developed to carry out assessments in chosen cases and using the results to identify and push for reforms through civil society partnerships and engagement with government agencies.
Better governance is defined as transparent and accountable, by way of increased participation of a broader array of stakeholders, including ordinary citizens, achieved by a greater availability of information, enhanced capacity of the stakeholders to comprehend and process the information that becomes available and meaningful mechanisms for participation and involvement in decision making, leading to socially, environmentally and economically sustainable transport solutions.
Since the emphasis is on governance processes, the TGI methodology focuses on how decisions are made, rather than what decisions are made.
The project was implemented progressively through successive stages beginning with defining scope and broad framework for TGI, following with actual development of the toolkit, and finally applying it in pilot projects, reviewing the outcome and refining it.
TGI has been developed from its inception so that it should be applicable to the “global south”, i.e., developing countries in which cities are undergoing rapid growth and facing similar problems of urbanization in general and transportation in particular. Governance levels and the extent of public participation are also generally low in all such countries and considerable gains can be expected by applying the TGI toolkit. Moreover, it is expected that the bulk of urban population growth around the world will occur in such cities.
Hence cities of the “global south” have been kept in mind while developing the framework and toolkit and future activities will be expanded accordingly at each appropriate stage.
The toolkit has been developed by Parisar in collaboration with WRI India.
To read the detailed toolkit and findings, click here.