In early March, ITDP joined Clean Air Initiative-Asia to implement a rapid mobility assessment tool in Nashik, a city in western India about 150km northeast of Mumbai. The project, funded by UN-Habitat, seeks to create a quick and inexpensive way to gauge transportation needs in cities with little existing data. After reviewing existing data collection methods a new rapid assessment tool was developed, which consists of two parts: a household survey and a focus group discussion. The household survey aims to collect information about many different parts of the city while the focus group discussion aims to gather data from underrepresented groups whose important input might not be covered in the household survey. The city of Nashik was selected for the first test of the new tool.
In Nashik, the focus group discussion was held on Sunday, March 3, and included representatives of the blind, the disabled, women, the medical community, and the traffic police. The discussion brought forth a variety of perspectives on transportation, with particularly informative input from women and the disabled who discussed the daily challenges of safety and access that they faced when traveling around the city.
The household survey was conducted with help from the NDMVP’s Nashik College of Architecture-Nashik, National Institute of Technology (NIT)-Nashik, and the Institute for Design Environment and Architecture (IDEA) College. These student spent four hours on a Sunday learning the survey form and practicing techniques. The actual survey was conducted on three weekdays in over 12 neighborhoods, which were scouted ahead of time by the survey team. Students visited every part of Nashik, from informal settlements in the heart of the city to new, high-income areas in the outskirts.
With oversight from university professors and the survey team, students went to a variety of households in each neighborhood. Over the course of three days, over 1,000 surveys were conducted. Each survey, conducted by a team of two students, took approximately one hour, and most households were happy to provide information in order to improve transportation in Nashik. From the survey, ITDP and Clean Air Asia learned a great deal about the City of Nashik and about conducting surveys in the Indian context. ITDP will further refinine this tool for use in other cities that lack transportation data.