By Dean Tony La Viña, http://manilastandardtoday.com
In my last column on inclusive mobility, published a few weeks ago, I focused on the virtues of Guangzhou’s integrated bus rapid transit, bike-sharing, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, especially in comparison to local experience. Clearly, inclusive mobility needs government to reform and revamp public transportation and road/land use policy. Mobility however is not a service that is solely provided by government—or by big business, for that matter. Just as the system can accommodate passengers and pedestrians of any age, gender, economic status, or physical ability, so should inclusive mobility accommodate service providers apart from large-scale players like government and transport companies, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation closer to the ground and the end-user.
This was what the Inclusive Mobility Challenge, whose awards were handed out last September 21, was about: encouraging entrepreneurs and innovators to develop proposals, especially those which can improve the mobility (or access to mobility) of those who need it the most: the poor, the elderly and the disabled, women and children. In today’s Metro Manila, their mobility is hampered by unsafe roads, inconvenient public transport, and the lack of safe pedestrian and bike lanes, and disabled-friendly infrastructure (e.g., wheelchair ramps or elevators). These proposals, depending on their objectives, had to meet criteria of accessibility by the end user, especially the marginalized; affordability on a budget; and environmental impact—emphasizing the Challenge’s objective of promoting “mobility of all, for all, by all.”