There is an urgent need in
India for development of mobility that is safe, clean, affordable, shared and smart.
And in order to achieve this, several steps need to be taken by the government
and other stakeholders. These findings formed part of a report on ‘Transforming
Mobility’, released in the capital by NRI (Nomura Research Institute)
Consulting & Solutions, one of the largest consulting firms in Japan with a
very strong footprint in Asia and Europe.
In order to develop a mobility
that is safe and smart, among other things, the report has suggested the
• Creating public transport
systems which are well integrated with each other to fulfil the need for
transit in a smooth and hassle free manner
• Adoption of zero / low
emission vehicles and measures for reducing non-vehicular dust related
• Intelligent mobility
solutions such as smart traffic lights and lane management systems, redesign of
roads post identification of bottle necks and planning separate lanes for slow
moving traffic for reducing heterogeneity of speeds on roads
• Smart parking
management e.g. integrated database of
parking with app based parking spot finder, dynamic pricing of parking spots,
parking regulations for app based taxis as well as for parking in residential
• Initiatives should be taken
for sharing transport infrastructure and making sustainable transport options
more affordable and acceptable e.g. car pooling and making public transport
more affordable to enable people who take inefficient intermediate public
transport or non – motorised options switch to public transport
Lastly, the report said, it is
important to prioritise these measures in terms of the impact / coverage of
population as well as the ease of implementation e.g. Footpaths and walk-ways
maybe easier to implement and will impact a large portion of people who make
their journey on foot.
Similarly stringent in-use
vehicle pollution check will help bring down pollution, stricter traffic law
enforcement will also reduce congestion and make roads safer.
In addition, simpler measures
such as vacuum cleaning of roads and creation of vertical and median garden and
enforcement of dust control norms in construction sites will reduce dust and
hence pollution levels. In the mid to longer term, we could get the next set of
improvements e.g. through an integrated traffic management system, smart parking
solutions, etc. In a nutshell, it is essential that in our quest for
transformation of mobility we ensure that solutions are sustainable, scalable
and also all encompassing, the report pointed out.
The report captures the
current state of mobility in India, including the infrastructure as well as the
various forms. Thereafter it goes on to define the challenges faced by mobility
in terms of capacity , capacity utilisation as well as issues plaguing it e.g.
pollution, safety, affordability. Lastly, it details a vision for the future of
mobility, stated Ashim Sharma, Partner & Group Head – Business Performance
Improvement (Auto, Engineering & Logistics), NRI (Nomura Research
Institute) Consulting & Solutions.
The report was unveiled by key
stakeholders from the industry that included Abhay Damle, Anil Srivastava,
Saurabh Kumar, Chetan Maini, Mahesh Bajaj, Vikram Gulati and Rahul Bharti.
The report mentioned that the geographical
expanse of India, and dispersion of points of production and consumption make
transport sector a crucial driver for GDP growth. Road infrastructure plays a
major role in on-surface transportation of both goods and passenger traffic in
India, carrying 2,871 Bn Tonne km of freight as well as 18,109 Bn Passenger Km
annually. However, the quality of our roads needs improvement. On an average,
trucks in India cover about 250-300 km per day as against 700-800 km in
developed countries. In our cities, congestion leads to drastic drops in speed
with average speed in Delhi being around 26 kmph. The World Economic Forum
ranks India as 55th in terms of road infrastructure.
The report further said that within cities there are also
multiple challenges on account of heterogeneity of traffic e.g. slow speed
e-rickshaws sharing roads with cars that leads to immense zig –zag movement and
hence congestion. Besides this, a lack of parking facilities aggravates the
issue by increasing congestion due to roadside parking, creating reluctance in
switching to public transport with the first and last mile being in private
vehicles due to limited parking at metro stations, etc. Lack of proper parking
areas for app- based cabs which stay on the road for as long as 8-12 hours also
leads to high congestion on busy roads.
The report noted that though buses
are a popular mode of transport here, India, with a penetration of about 1.7
buses per 1,000 people, however, lags behind countries such as Thailand (8.6),
South Africa (6.5), USA (2.7). Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) corridors have also
not been able to succeed in most of our cities with Ahmedabad and Surat being
the only outliers.
Metro and mono rail
infrastructure is also growing in Indian cities. The ridership is still not
very high compared to other global cities. For instance, the ridership per km
in Delhi is 10, 879 as against 14,593 in Shanghai, 14,467 in New York and
27,811 in Sao Paolo. On top of that, cities other than Delhi do not have an
expansive metro network, the report said..
Additionally, low quality
infrastructure and poor on-time performance, uncoordinated timetables, lack of
connections at transfer stops, buying new ticket with every change of mode and
no single authority to maintain and coordinate urban transit network lead to
fewer people opting for public transport. As a result, ¾th of the 227 Mn vehicles running on roads are
two wheelers with several people also using inefficient intermediate public
transport such as shared Autos, E-Rickshaws, over crowded vans, coupled with
journeys on foot.
All these factors have led to
hazardous levels of pollution in cities. As a case in point, while the number
of vehicles per km in Delhi (using registration data) is 176, the Air Quality
Index (AQI) is (Hazardous) 457 while London with 220 vehicles per km has an AQI
of 58 (Moderate) and Tokyo with 132 vehicles per km has an AQI of 66.
Therefore, dust on roads, construction dust and to some extent other forms of
vehicles e.g. heavy trucks plying through cities are a big contributor to the
high city pollution levels. In addition, while the overall number of road
accidents has decreased, an increasing severity of accidents has emerged as a
major challenge. About 11 people per
100,000 were killed in road accidents in 2014, said the report.
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