Building a robust public discussion on sustainable mobility
For immediate release
Chennai, Feb 16, 2023
Mobility is essential to achieve our everyday activities and helps support a stronger economy. But are we looking at transport from the right perspective? Experts and journalists gathered to discuss the significance of sustainable mobility, at a media workshop organised by Citizen consumer and civic Action Group on the 16th of February, 2023.
The unprecedented growth of our cities over the past decade has increased the number of vehicles on road. Data shows that there has been an increase in the usage of motorised private vehicles at the same time, there has been a decrease in the usage of public transport and cycling. The increase in motorized private vehicles has led to high vehicular pollution, congestion and has contributed to climate change. The only way to achieve equitable mobility without damaging the environment is by adopting sustainable transportation. In recent years, the concept of sustainable mobility has taken centre stage and it is part of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
This workshop discussed the role of journalists in promoting sustainable transport and how to look at sustainable transport from different angles. Sustainable mobility is going to be the new trend and be the top priority in all urban development projects. It’s time that we work together and create awareness of the concept of sustainable mobility for our citizens through the power of media.
G Ananthakrishnan, a senior journalist, formerly with The Hindu, spoke on the different transport service providers in Chennai and the need to see the big picture. He said “We are not seeing mobility in terms of social and environmental issues. Perspectives such as quality, safety, accessibility for the physically challenged and improvements in the ticketing systems are crucial to bring in users. In addition, we need to see mobility as a service rather than looking at it as a profit-making mechanism. Only when we start reporting from a different angle will we be able to create awareness on the prevailing transport issues."
Felix John, Bicycle Mayor of Chennai (BYCS) highlighted the importance of reporting pedestrian and cyclist issues on various media platforms. He spoke on ways to achieve equitable mobility and prioritise marginalised user groups (such as pedestrians and cyclists). “Our policies only emphasize bikes and cars, not cyclists and pedestrians. But we need to change that, the road is for all user groups”, said Felix John.
R Devapriyan, Senior Anchor from News18, spoke about ways to put forth civic issues in different media platforms. He spoke about the difficulties in reporting and tactics for better outreach with the public. “We approach news as a story and look to showcasing issues that connect with the viewer,” he noted. He said the impact on the public can be considerable when the outreach is done properly.
The workshop ended with a discussion on the challenges faced by the reporters and ways to include sustainable transport for effective reporting.
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Citizen consumer & civic Action Group (CAG) is a thirty seven year old nonprofit and non-political organisation working on citizen rights and good governance. It has worked primarily to protect the interests of consumers and citizens of Chennai even as its efforts have had state level and even national level impacts.