Kochi, a city that is fighting for its place to gain the reputation of being smart. A proposed IT township project that carries the “Smart” prefix to it is still to become a reality. It’s true that lack of political will and lack of vision will continue to bog the city down from spreading its wings and flying higher, but in spite of all odds Kochi will definitely grow bigger. But is Kochi ready to carry the weight of being called “Smart”. Ground realities show that it has a long way to go.
What we need is an efficient traffic management system that would ideally reduce the traffic flow beyond four gateway points of Kochi. Two gateway points may be identified as Vyttila and Edapally that can play the role of Urban Transit Stations and the remaining two gateway points, namely Thrippunithara and Aluva can act as Semi-Urban Transit Stations.
The Transit Stations would provide for elaborate parking space at a nominal fee and also have the public transport systems close to it. The idea is to discourage people from getting their personal vehicles beyond these gateway points. Entry of personal vehicles beyond these gateway points should be allowed only at a premium cost. For this to become a success, we need a more scientific and efficient public transport system that caters to the needs of general public. This public transport system would carry the general public to the city and back to these gateway points. What is also the need of hour is a smart traffic signaling system that would never have to depend on manual intervention. Traffic policemen controlling the vehicular traffic at major entry points is a common scene in Kochi. Frequent power outages and lack of proper signaling system are the major bottlenecks here. Therefore, these issues need to be addressed well within the availability of resources. A bigger problem that is sure to get in the way of any developmental initiative is the narrow mindedness of vested interests and the “get everything for free or at no charge” mindset of general public.
To make a city smarter is a real challenge. To grow up to this challenge is a matter of perseverance. Perseverance on the part of project planners, political leaders and the people that make the city. Let us not forget that one more city becoming smart is making our planet smarter. And let all smart initiatives make our planet sustainable.
City: Kochi, Cochin
Descriptive Term: Smart Kochi