NMT Best Practice

Five Guiding Principles for NMT Facilities

It is internationally recognized that the five main requirements for providing effective NMT facilities are those listed below. These provide the basic or fundamental advice note or guideline for NMT scheme design. Whilst the type and use of NMTs in India may be different from other countries, these principles still apply.


Maximise the safety of users in relation to other road users as they have a high degree of vulnerability


Form a coherent and continuous network linking all origin and destination points for users, and not ad hoc facilities that end abruptly


Form a direct route from origin to destination without significant detour that will cause the users to ignore the facility


Plan and implement NMT facilities to make NMT travel attractive both by day and night


Ensure a smooth, quick and comfortable flow of NMT traffic without excessive gradients or uneven surfacing
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European Best Practice

The Netherlands is frequently referred to as a model country for promoting high levels of cycling and subsequently restraining motor vehicle use. Typical Dutch methods take into consideration many aspects of infrastructure planning. For example, traffic calming measures are incorporated into housing developments, which themselves incorporate or encourage cycling by specific infrastructure, low vehicle speeds, and low motor vehicle volumes. Urban infrastructure is constructed in an open manner, without hard borders between public and private premises e.g. minimal use of walls, fencing, dead-end streets, so that continuous, direct cycle routes can be provided. Public space is designed to integrate greenery with walking and cycling facilities, and local authorities allocate annual budgets for maintaining public utilities, including cycle infrastructure. City centres are divided into sectors with borders that can be crossed by pedestrians and cyclists whilst motor vehicles are forced to make detours. Housing developers must contribute financially to area-wide services including cycle-friendly streets. Finally, a wide variety of secure cycle parking facilities are provided, sometimes obligatory with building permits.

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Asian Best Practice

Asia typically shows high levels of NMV use. In Tokyo, the national Bicycle Law, enacted in 1980, encouraged local governments to provide bicycle lanes, paths, and parking facilities near railway stations in order to promote the use of bicycles as a feeder mode for rail services. Other factors that contributed to high cycle use include the development of the Japanese bicycle industry, low bicycle prices in relation to income, the shared use of sidewalks and footpaths with pedestrians. Examples of Asian facilities (particularly from Japan) are presented throughout this Module.

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NMT Measures Applicable to the Indian Environment

In many low income Asian cities there are large numbers of NMVs, which assert their own right-of-way and it may be considered that there is little need to create an NMT network. However, with increasing motorization and congestion and decreasing inclination to use non-motorised methods, it is becoming increasingly necessary to design appropriate facilities for non-motorised traffic. High density Indian cities present a very different environment to the relatively low density urban environments in Europe, such as in the Netherlands. Also, the lack of road user education and erratic driving environment in some Asian cities suggests the necessity for segregated facilities for NMVs on safety grounds alone. It is noticeable that in many western countries with high rates of motor vehicle ownership and use, the NMV is viewed by planners as a preferable alternative and is fully encouraged to the practical extent. However, many Asian cities with historically high volumes of NMVs view the effectiveness of NMT less favourably as it is seen as a slow mode that obstructs the smooth movement of traffic, causing congestion. These differences render a global guideline less effective though best practice lessons can still be applied.

In the case of India, the issues relating to non motorised vehicles and pedestrians need to be addressed separately as the nature of their movement and requirements are different. Whilst countries such as Japan and parts of Europe tend to mix pedestrian and cycle movements, the characteristics of Indian NMT makes this more difficult. For example, certain categories of NMT cater to hawkers and social activities within cities whilst the ubiquitous cycle-rickshaw needs to be accommodated in areas separate from pedestrians. For this reason, this Guideline addresses NMVs and pedestrians as separate components.

There is no single correct solution to providing suitable infrastructure for NMVs: much will depend on the broader traffic, environmental and planning objectives and on available funds. Measures are likely to be more easily funded and implemented if they benefit the wider community, not just NMVs. Strategies that emphasize traffic restraint, speed reduction and promotion of environmentally-friendly modes will tend to benefit NMVs. Different scenarios for NMVs require the consideration of techniques for managing them. In the end, the success of the chosen scenario will depend on the effectiveness of the techniques for implementing it. An overview of techniques relevant to the Indian case is given below providing the backdrop to the scenarios and guidance in selecting them. It is important to regularly review NMV transport in order to monitor flows and usage characteristics for future planning and for evaluating the effectiveness of any measures.

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