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Mobility in Auroville - Background

Over many years the topic of road design and traffic planning has been of great interest to members of the Auroville community. At the time of its inception, beginning with the inauguration at the Matrimandir amphitheatre in 1968, the way to get around AV was 1) by walking, 2) by bicycle and 3) by bullock vandi. The road to Pondicherry was a long but doable walk, practically the only cars being ambassador taxis and the rare "antique" foreign models left to end their days as "wedding chariots". Public transport in the form of buses (also often very old) and cycle (plus some auto) rikshaws shared the roads with the cyclists, pedestrians and water buffalos... but then, rapid waves of change brought more people, motorbikes and scooters, and the opening of the floodgates of the private car market...

Auroville mirrored these developments. The environmentally-conscious City of the Future (in the making) made way grudgingly to the advent of the petrol economy in India. And the debate about "mobility and planning" has been evolving ever since.

Various interpretations of Auroville's Master Plan, as facilited by Auroville's Future (and every other planning group to exist in parallel or consequently), have made proposals about how to combine elements of Mother's vision of a car-free, garden-like environment with the residents' immediate mobility needs (like getting construction materials to the new site, effectively managing an active unit or project, or ferrying the kids between school-sports-home). A sticking point in these deliberations has turned around "permanent solutions", and immediate needs - in areas of investment, materials, layout & design. And a major difficulty, apart from negotiating existing roads into the overlay of the future City plan, is the fact that major thoroughfares pass through land which does not, or perhaps will not soon, belong to Auroville.

Discussion groups have formed around the topic. Studies have been made with the help of international professionals. There is general agreement on what we want, but not on how we would achieve this - a clear plan of implementation that would allow growth in steps towards the overall results we would wish to see.

City Study Circle planning and design forum 2001

AV Today article on recommendations of the Planning Group 2006 (see the reference material below under "Studies/Interpreting the Galaxy")

Initiatives within Auroville

2011 initiatives

Following on the visit and work with Karl-Heinz Posch in 2010, the Mobiltiy Integration Team, with backing from PCG and L'avenir d'Auroville, arranged a 2nd Mobility Management event - "Mobility Management & Land Use Planning" - a workshop between the 21st and the 26th of March, in Verite's ILC hall. Along with this there were 2 evening presentations on international mobility awareness & planning ("Bus Rapid Transit & the Bioregion", and "Car-Free Cities"), plus an overview summary of the week's explorations presented to the community on the following Monday 28th afternoon at the Multi-Media Centre.

Materials made available and presented during this series of sessions are available to view and download - see the section "Studies & Reports" below.

2010 initiatives

In April - Karl Heinz Posch, traffic planner and mobility management consultant (see below under "resource persons") visited Auroville between April 26th to 30th for information gathering and to prepare a wider workshop schedule for September 2010. He was assisted by a small team of Aurovilians (David, Tony, Gundolf, Gillian, Suhasini, Raman & Isha) in meeting groups and gathering information, and his travel expenses were covered through funding by L'avenir d'Auroville, coordinated by Lalit. During the visit 2 public events took place and were recorded by AV Radio: "Shared Space" (a slideshow talk on the urban design concept, to listen go to: ), and "AV Mobility", a general presentation on the findings of the week-long exploration (also can be heard at:

2009 initiatives

There have been several initiatives and funded studies promoting a more conscious approach to the flow of traffic within Auroville in 2009:

In January 2009 AV Radio ran a series of discussion panels on pertinent subjects, one being Mobility, and a group of Aurovilians met in a public forum to look at sustainable mobility.

In November 2009 L'avenir d'Auroville created a list of priorities for road works, as a result of their Road Map study (see below).

In May 2009 a month-long workshop was organized on the theme of creating within Auroville a Bicycle-Friendly environment. This was sponsored both by private sources and also through contributions from projects and units of the community, and resulted in a number of designs (bicycle accessories, cycle path map, crossing and parking area prototypes) ready to be adopted by Auroville units.

In June 2009 there has been a study of traffic flows and patterns conducted under the auspices of CSR the AV Mobility Study (CEPT).

In December 2009 L'avenir arranged, with the help of the Residents Assembly Service (RAS), a General Information Meeting to present a detailed plan to implement the investment in roads and road related infrastructure. Based on this plan the first stretch of the Crown Road (from Solar Kitchen to Arka) was marked and paved by Road Service.

2008 onwards - program to install solar powered street lights around Auroville [CSR - DEW Institute project]- see "Forum / Topics / Facilities"

2005 (?) Visitors Information Center developed an integrated development plan for bringing day visitors to the Matrimandir, while keeping vehicles (such as touring buses, taxis and private cars) parked at the periphery. For those visitors unable to enjoy the sculpted walk designed for this purpose (approx. 15 minutes) three electric Bijlee mini-carriers were purchased and set in action to ferry visitors to the 2 main Matrimandir entrances.

Studies & Reports

International Consultants to Auroville

Various Resources & Links

List of links: assorted sources of related information online

List of materials available from the Mobility Management Team

See also