BENGALURU: A study by a PhD student from IISc has found only 13 per cent non-workers in high-income households in Bengaluru walk for personal errands.
Titled ‘Activity-travel behaviour of non-workers belonging to different income-group households in Bangalore’, it recorded responses from 2,400 households.
The low percentage could be because of the poor pedestrian facilities. Even walking enthusiasts like Niyaz Ahmed, a resident of JP Nagar, worries it is not safe anymore.
“The footpaths are uneven. I prefer walking on the flatter surfaces of the main road, but the traffic makes it unsafe,” he says. He used to walk from JP Nagar to Konankunte Cross every morning.
Vinay Kumar, an engineering trainee at Mercedes Benz, spends most of his time in his office in Whitefield, where residents have been protesting against the lack of civic infrastructure in the area.
“I rarely walk, and rely on my bike and public transport.”
Zaffar Sait, a resident of Richards Town, says encroachments make it harder to walk. “Especially in commercial areas, footpaths are taken up by vendors. Often, slabs are missing.”
Middle and high income groups prefer two-wheelers to walking. The distance covered by middle-and high-income groups on two-wheelers and that covered by the low-income groups -- 2.3 km -- on foot are approximately the same, according to the study.
The study indicates that the poorer sections walk because they have few other options. They “wade through the existing pedestrian environment, irrespective of the travel distance.”
M Manoj, lead author of the study who completed his PhD in the Engineering Department of IISc, felt travel patterns needed to be studied better to arrive at a policy-based solution to the traffic problem.
According to the 2001 census, 56 per cent of Bengaluru’s population are non-workers.
MOBILITY INDEX: Of the respondents from the low-income group, that is who earn less than Rs 10,000 a monthl, 74 per cent said they did not own a mobile phone and 100 per cent said they did not have a driving licence.