We listen first-hand to the stories of road users in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, as they navigate the challenges of their daily commute – from using roads and tricky walkways to taking buses.

Cameras were pinned on select road users as they take viewers on their journey and share their experiences on how each travel and commute is different for every person.

The Asian Development Bank used their stories of to design where to build bus shelters, where to put streetlights and footpaths, etc., to make travelling safer and more accessible for all.

Watch the full version on YouTube.

Transcript

To make transport systems better, we listened to those who use them.  

Using visual journey maps, the ADB-assisted project, Improving Transport Services in Ger Areas in Mongolia asked road and public transport users for their road stories.   

So project designs for transportation components and systems do not just follow quality technical standards but are responsive to user behavior and needs. 

For Byambadorj, his mobility and safety are compromised daily by designs that are blind to those who travel differently and by the current state of road networks.

Byambadorj:

I can only go up this steep ramp with someone else’s assistance.

There is no footpath. The slope is very steep. Too many stones. To go down, I have to go inch by inch, like this.  

Byamabadorj’s stories showed us the impact of risky behaviors of other road users who may also have their own stories and mobility needs.  He told us how each public commute is different for every road user.  And how access makes the most basic of journeys become a daily pilgrimage.    

Byambadorj:

I position next to the door.  There is no designated spot for persons on wheelchairs.

Tserenbadam’s stories showed us that physical mobility is linked to economic mobility. And often, the way people travel is not by choice but by need.   

Tserenbadam:

Our street is rocky. It is difficult to walk here in the summer.

Those with better legs would run to that bus stop.

Tserenbadam suffers body pains from walking long distances between bus stops in all kinds of weather, and rushing—rushing to catch buses.  

ADB used the visual journey maps of Byambadorj, Tserenbadam, and several others, to design where to build bus shelters at the right distances, where to put streetlights, where to build accessible footpaths and crossings, schedule regular and predictable bus arrivals, make public transportation and roads safer for all types of journeys, and forge better relationships with all road users.  

Transport infrastructure and systems are not just about moving from here to there. They are about enabling people living to achieve their potentials, through safe, self-reliant, and independent mobility. 

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