SHILLONG: The 16th Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference and Expo 2023, an event with focus on sustainable urban transport in Delhi, awarded Shillong for its exemplary public involvement in transport planning.
Shillong’s award for the “City with the Best Record of Public Involvement in its Transport Planning” was received for the project “Shared Commuter Service in East Khasi Hills (Shillong)”.
The Sustainable Transport and Efficient Mobility Society (STEMS), an initiative birthed by the Planning Department, Meghalaya government in 2021, spearheaded this transformative project.
The esteemed award was presented by Manoj Joshi, Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, to STEMS. Representing STEMS was its CEO, Isawanda Laloo, also the Secretary to the Meghalaya government, who, along with her dedicated team members, accepted the award on Sunday.
While Shillong stood out for its exceptional public engagement, other cities, including Delhi, Lucknow, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Kochi, and Jabalpur, were also recognised for their accomplishments in various categories.
STEMS’s award-winning project excelled due to its inclusive collaboration with community members, school officials, parents, and government departments such as the District Administration, East Khasi Hills, Shillong Traffic Police, and PWD.
This holistic approach has already received praise from parents and students in the initial shared bus service for 15 schools.
Kicked off in 2023 with the introduction of 30 school buses targeting the congestion hotspots of Shillong, the buses under the project, apart from being tracked via GPS, ensuring real-time updates to parents, are equipped with CCTV cameras.
Furthermore, each bus has professionally trained caretakers onboard. Reportedly, the bus routes were finalised after extensive consultations with both the public and governmental stakeholders.
Integral to the project’s implementation were partnerships with the Meghalaya Transport Corporation, NIC Meghalaya and NIC Uttarakhand, with crucial support from the Shillong Traffic Police and the Public Works Department (Roads).