Transforming India’s Mobility
The rapid growth in India’s urbanization, population and wealth over the last few decades has had a marked effect on the mobility of its citizens. India’s transport demand has grown by almost 8 times since 1980 – more than any other Asian economy. A recent WHO study has 14 Indian cities featuring in the top fifteen most polluted cities in the world. This challenge leads to significant health and welfare losses, currently estimated by the World Bank at 7.7% of India’s GDP (PPP adjusted). Additionally, major Indian cities are also now consistently ranked amongst the world’s most congested cities. The average speed for vehicles in some metros are reported as low as 17 km/h. These high levels of congestion have huge cost in form of reduced productivity and fuel waste; a high-level estimate of the economic loss of congestion, for our top four metros, is over USD 22 billion annually.
Transforming India’s Mobility’: Path to the Future
Safe, Adequate and Holistic Infrastructure (SAHI)
- Safe Infrastructure: Ensuring well engineered, safe infrastructure for travel:
- Clear guidelines promoting usage & deployment of women-only buses along with emergency services-equipped sidewalks and pathways for NMT users is required.
- Tailoring the routes of public transport options so that women can get down closer to their destination can improve the sense of safety.
- Adequate: Ensuring multiple modes of connectivity
- Connect rural villages/hamlets by building durable & paved all-weather roads to integrate the hinterland with urban areas.
- Global example: In the last 5 years, China has built or renovated 1.28 million kms of rural roads, with 99.24% of townships and 98.34% of villages now connected by asphalt or cement roads
- Utilize the railway network to boost rural-to-rural, rural-to-urban and urban-to urban connectivity. Railway adoption and connectivity could be enhanced through a better network of feeder, inter-modal routes providing last-mile connectivity.
- Develop inland waterways to reduce transportation and freight cost. Integrate waterways with existing public infrastructure to increase utilization.
- Global example: UK (Eng. And Wales) has a network of 5000 km of fully navigable waterways, with clearly defined responsibilities for local/ national bodies, policies for developing integrated multi-modal riverside transport hubs, and initiatives to promote green tourism and transport.
- Strengthen availability & adoption of public transport in rural areas: Every state / district should be directed to measure the usage and adoption of current public transport connecting rural hubs.
- Global example: Switzerland has one of the highest usage rates of public transport – especially in its rural areas. Under a nationally coordinated plan named Taktfahrplan, scheduling and availability of buses & public transport has been planned in order to ensure maximum utilization and customer satisfaction.
- Expand air connectivity to connect regional, remote areas
- Holistic: Data driven planning, including integrated planning to reduce need to travel
- A clear framework for assessing unique mobility needs in rural and urban settings should be used in the planning stage.
- Utilize PPP to deploy ‘Mobility as a Service’ to connect rural transport providers with user demand
Peak Time’ Travel Optimization
- Re-invent the need to travel during peak hours: Guidelines for planning cities with integrated land planning should be formulated.
- Discourage private car ownership & usage:
- Implement dynamic pricing for tolls, parking etc. to ease congestion and improve use of public transport.
- Global example: Singapore has adopted an electronic road pricing mechanism as well, as a usage-based taxation mechanism, reducing traffic by ~25,000 vehicles during peak hours in the city and increasing average road speeds by 20%.
- Guidelines encompassing fiscal measures and enforcement mechanisms to limit number of new vehicular licenses could be explored.
- Streamline traffic flows & improve driver discipline
- Implement ITS (e.g. Singapore intelligent transport system) in key cities to gather real-time data and manage traffic situations in real-time (dynamic lights etc)
- Global example: The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has developed a system for adjusting signals in response to real-time traffic demands, the city was able to cut travel times by 13%, stopping by 31% and delays by 21%.
- Strengthen the licensing process by making it a multi-phased process with drivers graduating from a learner’s license to a permanent license over a defined time period
- Guidelines to to scale up the deployment of plate-recognition software aided by effective CCTV footage. This may be used for automated generations of e-challans.
Logistics And Goods Transport
- Optimize vehicle flow through populous urban areas
- Timing and zoning: Identify and enforce norms around freight movement, e.g. dedicated freight routes
- Effective feeder network using effective and green last mile connectivity
- Optimize warehouse locations and inter-modal network
- Warehouse location strategy: Develop large shared warehouses to serve as consolidation centers
- Well-planned, adequate multi-modal logistics and interchange facilities: To further minimize the interaction between commercial and passenger traffic
- Maximize load utilization for all categories of goods: Build digital, shared platforms for improving utilization
Seamless, Convenient Public Transport
- Design city-specific PT roadmaps with clear hierarchy among different modes: Long-term transportation plan should define the primary mode of transport and the supporting modes of transport by city type (Metro vs. Tier 1 vs. Tier 2…)
- Create an integrated multimodal PT network supported by last mile connectivity:
- Ensure seamless connectivity between the different modes of transport
- Encourage development of digital platforms which provide access to multi-modal public transport.
- Make PT attractive for urban India: Use principles of transit oriented development (TOD) to ensure commercial activity around transit hubs
- Encourage ride-sharing and ride-sourcing through digital means: Address safety concern with regards to shared mobility by designing clear guidelines for various stakeholders
- Enable private vehicle sharing: Introduce high occupancy lanes to encourage car pooling
Non-Motorized Transport (NMT)
- Integrate seamlessly with public transport: Build NMT paths, which offer seamless connectivity with other modes of transport.
- Ensure safety for NMT users: Outline guidelines for safety of NMT users
- Design for comfort & accessibility: Build sheltered walkways & cycling paths, which protect pedestrians/cyclists from extreme weather, keeping in mind the comfort of commuters.
Green Mobility Technologies
- Devise pollution control norms to promote clean technologies: Impose supply side regulations on OEMs to increase production of zero emission vehicles through market based incentives like Corporate average fuel economy (CAFÉ) and ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) production credits
- Use feebate mechanism to incentivize use of green mobility technologies: Identify potential mechanisms and develop regulation for incentivizing green mobility technologies with a feebate mechanism.
- Provide supporting infrastructure to drive adoption: Government to facilitate the setting up of public charging infrastructure – an important enabler for adoption of green mobility technologies. PPP in this space and utilization of existing infrastructure like petrol pumps are also being explored