Kolkata: SwitchON Foundation in partnership with New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) and in association with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), launched an innovative sustainability initiative “Cycle to Work”.
It is an effort to urge the corporate and local resident welfare associations of Newtown Kolkata to recognise and consider cycling as the mode daily transport and commute to work.
Similar initiative has been taken by other cities like Silvassa as part of Cycles4Change Challenge and the Streets4People Challenge 2020, launched under the Smart Cities Mission – Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA).
The initiative aims to inspire cities to create ‘healthy streets’ with integrated walking, cycling, and public transport in order to make streets safe and convenient for all. Under the programme, more than a 100 cities are part of this nation-wide transformation – Newtown, Kolkata being one of them as a leading example.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), safe infrastructure for walking and cycling is also a pathway for achieving greater health equity. Cycling to work saves costs, increases productivity, and promotes mental health.
From introducing public bicycle sharing schemes, reserved cycle lanes to provision for bicycle parking, across the township, NKDA’s actions have been an inspiration for the larger sustainable development across the metropolitan area.
The initiative aims to encourage various organizations, corporates and their teams to shift from cars and motorbikes, and cycle to their workplace instead—building health while saving the planet.
Debashis Sen, Chairman NKDA said, “This cycle to work initiative is a very important milestone for NKDA, as we want to encourage people to come forward and adopt sustainable habits for future generations. Bicycles prove to be important means of transport for health and livelihoods. New Town, Kolkata is one of the most cycle-friendly cities in India. I am a big supporter of cycling and we at NKDA have created the necessary infrastructure for cycling as well as multiple initiatives for all companies and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) to put it in use.”
Aishwarya Soni, Deputy Manager – Strategic & Visual Communications, ITDP India said, “Cycle2Work is a great initiative that encourages employees to choose a healthy, eco-friendly mode of commute. The positive impacts of switching to cycling are immense, and I’m happy to see New Town Kolkata embracing this initiative.”
Vinay Jaju MD SwitchON Foundation said, “We are really happy to see the response and support from different corporates, housing societies on using cycles to work, we expect this would further encourage more corporates in promoting the Cycle to Work culture among their employees. It not just promotes health but can also lead to positive environmental effects, especially if cycling and walking replace short car trips.”
The initiative urges the employers to encourage their employees through healthy competitions like nudging each other to perform better on the health and carbon offset leader-board.
As part of the initiative employers across Newtown taking up cycling will also have the opportunity to post regularly on updates on their employees who use cycles getting due recognition on social media.