Urban Transport in India: Issues, Challenges, and the Way Forward
European Transport/Trasporti Europei (2012) Issue 52, Paper n° 5, ISSN 1825-3997
26 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2014
Date Written: December 27, 2012
Cities and towns play a vital role in promoting economic growth and prosperity. Although less than one-third of India’s people live in cities and towns, these areas generate over two-third of the country’s income and account for 90% of government revenues. In the coming years, as India becomes more and more urbanized, urban areas will play a critical role in sustaining high rates of economic growth. But, economic growth momentum can be sustained if and only if cities function efficiently - that their resources are used to maximize the cities’ contribution to national income. City efficiency largely depends upon the effectiveness of its transport systems, that is, efficacy with which people and goods are moved throughout the city. Poor transport systems stifle economic growth and development, and the net effect may be a loss of competitiveness in both domestic as well as international markets. Although Indian cities have lower vehicle ownership rate, number of vehicles per capita, than their counterparts in developed countries, they suffer from worse congestion, delay, pollution, and accidents than cities in the industrialized world. This paper provides an overview of urban transport issues and challenges in India. Rather than covering every aspect of urban transportation, it primarily focuses on those areas that are important from policy point of view. The paper first reviews the trends of vehicular growth and availability of transport infrastructure in Indian cities. This is followed by a discussion on the nature and magnitude of urban transport problems such as congestion, pollution and road accidents. Building on this background, the paper proposes policy measures to improve urban transportation in India.
Keywords: Urban Transport; Transport Policy; India.
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