Leeds City Region hosts Smart Cities delegation from India

A delegation of senior government officials from India visited the region to discuss Smart Mobility and Urban Governance and to explore options to accelerate the adoption of smart innovations in urban transport in India.

In September 2019 a delegation of senior government officials from India visited the region as part of the ESRC-ICSSR Indo-UK Under Reform research project examining the Smart Cities Mission in India. The delegation included a senior civil servant from each of the four case study cities (Bangalore, Jaipur, Kochi and Indore) as well as a Smart Cities Mission representative from the Indian national government.

The Under Reform project looks at transport reform in India, aims to develop cutting edge insights into how reforming transport governance works, and how best to generate more sustainable transport systems in Indian cities.

In 2015, the Indian national government launched the Smart Cities Mission, aiming to reform transport governance more effectively than had been managed at individual city level. This project researches and analyses planned reforms in four of India’s designated smart cities, considering their impact on the prosperity and quality of life of citizens. The intention is to move beyond simply identifying problems, rather developing an understanding of how to overcome them.

The delegation spent the morning at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Ben Still, Managing Director of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority provided a presentation on de-centralisation of transport and the integration of transport across cites and regions, highlighting the collaborative approach the Combined Authority takes with the bus and rail companies. The session was rich with discussion, with delegates being struck by the differences and points of overlap between systems in their cities and the UK setup. Another area of interest was Smart Transport, with the discussion centred around Smart Mobility Apps and the MCard. The delegation was especially interested to learn that the MCard can be used on multiple modes of transportation owned by different providers.

In the afternoon, the delegation heard from Leeds City Council, with a focus on future strategies for Leeds, especially with regard to the new railway station and bus networks. This was followed by a walking tour of Leeds.  

The research project is being led by Professor Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance, Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, and Dr Louise Reardon, Lecturer, Institute of Local Government Studies at the University of Birmingham, in partnership with Professor Sanjay Gupta, Professor of Transport Planning, Department of Transport Planning at the School of Planning and Architecture Delhi, and Professor Ashish Verma, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.