CCF Newsletter

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Pandemics and maps

In the wake of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the CCF team came across a collection of maps that spatially visualise outbreaks, and did a little research around the analytics that illustrate pandemic movements. As it turns out, there has been an effort to document pandemics since as early as the 1600s.

Marie Patino’s article, ‘Coronavirus Outbreak Maps Rooted in History’ shares these historic maps enabling us to understand the shift in data analytics and gathering from a more central approach towards radical democratisation of technology, catalysed through Internet access and data sharing.

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This online dashboard was developed by Johns Hopkins University to track the 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak. As of 31st January, it had racked up 52 million views, according to ESRI.1

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‘Metabiota’ structures data from multiple health organisations to track on-going epidemics. It has also on-boarded and cleaned information about thousands of previous outbreaks.1

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In the earliest documented disease map, Filippo Arrieta visualized the strategy for containing the spread of disease in the region of Bari, Italy 1690-92. (Controlling the geographical spread of infectious disease: plague in Italy, 1347-1851)1

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Valentine Seaman, An Inquiry into the Cause of the Prevalence of the Yellow Fever in New York, in the Medical Repository, 1797. (Brian Altonen) 1

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John Snow, Plan Showing the Ascertained Deaths from Cholera. The black bars represent deaths from the disease. (Wellcome Collection online archives) 1

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Richard Grainger, Cholera Map of the Metropolis. 1849, 1850. Via the Wellcome Collection online archives. 1

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Sections showing the relative intensity of the attack of cholera at the various levels along the lines marked on the cholera map. (Wellcome Collection online archives).1

Jay Hilotin’s photo essay, ‘Spanish flu 1918 v/s Covid-19′, shares interesting stills and glimpses depicting the on-ground reality of pandemics, within them is a map titled, ‘Worldwide Diffusion of Influenza’, which illustrates the second wave of the Spanish Influenza pandemic.

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PATHS OF INFECTION: Map depicting the Spanish flu pandemic 1918, Patterson KD, Pyle GF, “The Geography and Mortality of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.” Image Credit: Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 1991; 65(1): 4-21. 2

Historian Mark Osborne Humphries claims he had found “archival evidence” that a respiratory illness that struck northern China in November 1917. This illness was identified a year later by Chinese health officials as identical to the Spanish ‘flu. Humphries also found medical records which indicate that more than 3,000 of the 25,000 Chinese Labor Corps workers who were transported across Canada en route to Europe starting in 1917 ended up in medical quarantine, many with flu-like symptoms.

‘Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak’ in the New York Times, presents a constantly updating world map and illustrating the average number of new cases each day (for the last 7 days). It presents a great insight into how this strain of coronavirus propagates at a regional scale and presents an opportunity to document the global rise of the disease.

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This is a screenshot of the New York Times coronavirus map, retrieved on 25 March 2020. Sources: Local Governments; The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China; World Health Organization. 3

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The map shows the known locations of coronavirus cases by US county. Circles are sized by the number of people there who have tested positive, which may differ from where they contracted the illness. Some people who travelled overseas were taken for treatment in California, Nebraska and Texas. Puerto Rico and the other U.S. territories are not shown. Sources: State and local health agencies, hospitals, C.D.C.3

Nikhil Rampal’s, the India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU), used Google Trends data, to try to measure the degree of curiosity around the deadly virus in India. This analysis denoted that, across India, the search term ‘coronavirus’ was explored most frequently by people in Goa. Goa had a score of 100, (which means that the percentage of people searching for information on the virus through Google was the highest in the country). According to Google Trends, values are calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is the location with the most popularity as a fraction of total searches in that location, while a value of 50 indicates a location which is half as popular.

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Graphic produced by India Today Data Intelligence Unit, based on Google Trends data.4

FOOTNOTES

  1. https://www.citylab.com/design/2020/02/how-we-map-epidemics-coronavirus-history/606349/
  2. https://gulfnews.com/world/spanish-flu-1918-vs-covid-19-1.1582445160581?slide=34
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-maps.html
  4. https://www.indiatoday.in/diu/story/coronavirus-google-trends-search-india-bihar-goa-karnataka-1655343-2020-03-14

 

Car is King: Goa at the mercy of parking rule

The CCF team discusses the parking issue in Goa, and the state’s much-awaited response.

 

If you have ever found yourself driving past your destination and circling around for that elusive space free of a ‘No Parking’ sign (or ignoring that), you are part of an overwhelming majority in Goa. The situation isn’t unusual in a state where the annual vehicle growth rate is almost 10 times that of the population growth rate (2001-2011) (Source: Draft Parking Policy, IPSCL).

draft-parking-policy_ipscdl-7-e1553841170779.jpg

Source: Draft Parking Policy, IPSCL

This phenomenal increase in traffic volume coupled with limited road space in major cities in the state account for the state’s parking woes. An unreliable public transport system and the general attitude towards car ownership, with its attached social status, evince that, without an efficient implementation of a holistic parking policy, the problem will not go away any time soon. The problem isn’t without irony: according to the Central Road Research Institute, an average car’s steering time in only 400 hours a year. That means a typical vehicle stays parked 95% of the time!

The past decade’s figures reveal the extent of the problem: with a 14.5 lakh population (Source: Census 2011) and a whopping 54.8 lakh tourist footfall in 2018 alone (Source: Department of Tourism, Govt. of Goa), it is evident that Goa’s thriving tourism industry heavily relies on the rental automobile industry. Where is the road space for all these vehicles?

img_7235.jpgTwo-wheelers encroach upon footpaths, making pedestrians vulnerable to moving vehicles on the carriageway.

The conventional methods of dealing with parking have largely been to increase the supply to meet the demand, by providing additional infrastructure for the driver rather than providing enough choices for the commuters, in terms of alternative public transport. The former, a limited approach, only leads to a system which will be insufficient in due course of time as it attracts more and more vehicles, as against a fixed parameter of road capacity.

To tackle parking, it is important to derive logical solutions to parking, based on its types: on-street parking and off-street parking. In its proposed Decongestion Model for Panaji City Centre in 2014, CCF called for delineation of on-street parking and a paid parking strategy. A significant parking fee for visitors encourages them to park off-street, in strategically located multi-storey parking structures, and use a regulated hop-on hop-off bus system into the city. The Model recommended a discounted parking allowance for shop owners and free parking for residents.

141118_Decongestion report-41CCF’s proposed off-street parking management in the Decongestion Model of the Panaji City Centre

 

parkingCCF’s proposed on-street parking management in the Decongestion Model of the Panaji City Centre

In the Draft Parking Policy, Imagine Panaji Smart City Limited has envisioned the following parking management strategies:

  1. Delineation of on-street parking
  2. Introduction of parking reservations on streets
  3. Pricing for on-street parking
  4. Pricing for off-street parking
  5. Parking permit schemes for residential and work zones
  6. Use of technology for Smart Parking
  7. Instituting a Parking Cell for enforcement
  8. Reconsidering building regulations to reduce parking minimums
  9. Introduction of Proof of Parking attached to the owner’s residential location
  10. Planning parking for the relatively sustainable electric vehicles

Parking-Basics-7Source: Parking Basics, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

The Smart City parking proposal reconsiders the status quo: the automobile should not dominate the street. With an aim to prioritise the safe movement of people, services and goods on the road network, it seeks to enhance walkability of the city.

With demand-based pricing formulated on various factors—land value, vehicle type and duration of parking, parking district, and existing demand in the parking—the policy “enhances turnover of parking bays and ensures access to limited on-street parking in high parking demand areas.” The proposal also provides for any plans for the future of mobility: electric vehicles, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Parking-Basics-13Source: Parking Basics, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

The implementation of such parking solutions has a rough road ahead. The pay-parking system, introduced in Panaji in 2016, failed to bring any discipline to the city’s chaotic and mismanaged traffic and was discontinued in 2017 after the expiry of the contract awarded to a private operator. (Source: Herald Goa) However, the Corporation of the City of Panaji has decided, in March 2019, to reinstate the system using its workers to implement it (Source: Times of India Goa). Other tourist-attracting centres, such as Candolim and Old Goa, have also implemented the system to restrict unregulated parking and gain revenue.

Over recent decades, it has become evident that parking is an issue constantly and disproportionately growing with city size, in India and across the world. With timely implementation of the parking policy in its major urban centres, Goa has the chance to buck the trend, and ‘park’ the issue at the kerb!

Unclogging Panaji’s congestion problem

The CCF team discusses a major problem in the Goan capital: mobility, and the proposed Decongestion Model.

Continue reading “Unclogging Panaji’s congestion problem”