A major port in the southern Indian state of Kerala, Kochi has faced challenges common to many of India's urban centers, including rapid population growth and a corresponding increase in the number of cars on the road.
Public enterprise Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) was set up to counter growing congestion and air pollution. The building blocks were put in place in 2014, when AFD co-financed the Kochi Metro Rail project, whose elevated metro corridor would be the first step in the city's integrated urban mobility policy.
With growing emphasis on low-carbon mass-transport, Kochi is on the way to developing a comprehensive, multimodal transport network that prioritizes first and last mile connectivity. To mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the French, German and EU ambassadors to India visited Kochi to see the city's transport planning in action.
An Evolving City
Kochi's water metro, financed by KFW, marked the start of the mission. From here, the envoys boarded a boat to the Cochin Shipyard where construction of a 100-seater boat is underway. E-buses ferried the convoy to Vytilla, an intermodal transport hub, which connects the water metro, bus services and the Kochi Metro, the latter receiving AFD financing, as well as a Technical Assistance grant from the EU.
From Vytilla, the delegation moved to Edapally, where mobility planning gives precedence to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. It's the ideal location to highlight the benefits of the MobiliseYourCity program - an initiative launched by the French and German governments during COP21 and geared towards reducing urban transport-related emissions. Kochi is one of the cities pioneering the MYC initiative in India, with support from AFD and €3.5 M funding from the European Union.
Working Together, Internationally
The visit concluded a metro ride to Muttom Depot from where the Ambassadors took e-rickshas. They’re electric versions of the iconic Indian vehicles, assuring grener connectivity to the operations control room. Here, the ambassadors learned more of the Kochi metro's groundbreaking gender and social inclusion initiatives, as well as about work on flood mitigation measures, rainwater harvesting and solar power-integration.
"Five years on, it is truly inspiring to see how our collaboration has supported the city to improve public transport, reduce emissions and create a commuter and climate-friendly city," said Emmanuel Lenain, France's Ambassador to India. "Achieving COP 21’s Agenda of Solutions relies on broad partnership coalitions like the one built in Kochi. It is an inspiring example of what we can achieve together with India, showing the way to concrete actions that help meet the Paris agreement’s goals.”
EU Ambassador, Ugo Astuto said: “As the world continues to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, we must not forget that the fight against climate change is an existential issue for all of us. We must work together for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. Post Covid, we need to ‘build back better’ and invest in an economic model fit for the 21st century: green, digital and resilient.”
This project is carried out with the support of the European Union