How is Efficient and Affordable Urban Mass Transport key to the Rapid Economic Development of India?

India has long been experiencing the population growth and demographic changes after its Independence. The main aspect associated with it is the growth in urbanization and urban population. According to 1901 census, the population residing in urban areas was 11.4 per cent, this rate was increased to 28.53% according to the 2001 census and reached to 34% in 2017 report of The World Bank. It is considered that the growth of Urbanization and urban population is going along the way, and together with them, metropolitanisation of cities has also been happening. In these cities, Urban Mass transport system is required to handle loads of population as well as freight.

As more and more cities join the league of metropolitan cities, they need to have the transportation infrastructure comprising the roads (arterial and sub-arterial ways, linking roads, highways and expressways) to be able to function in a better way. Efficient and effective public transport is an important factor for urban sustainability. Efficient transport networks that include the public transit would help in reducing a city’s per capita carbon footprints, help in easing the commute, increasing accessibility and needs of transportation. The Sustainable Cities Institute places five principles of sustainability for transportation: accessibility; affordability; connectivity; holistic transportation and land use planning; and planning with the environment in mind. Urban mass transportation system is not only providing better mobility to the public but also contributing to the economic development of the cities.

Urban Mass Transport system is very crucial for the management and the development of the urban infrastructure. Absence of well-developed mass urban transport system will make the cities more dependent on private transport and overindulgence on private transport will not only lead in severe congestion and traffic jams but also lead to severe environmental degradation due to the excessive emission and noise from the traffic. Increased traffic congestion, pollution, accidents and the loss of fuel would bear on economic development. So, good urban mass transportation systems will help the people to less indulgent on private transport and it renders the cities not coming into the clutches of traffic, pollution, accidents and the loss of fuel.

Efficient and affordable urban mass transport: Keystone to economic development

Increase in Productive Man-hours

It is to be noted that billions of man-hours lost in a “stuck in traffic” excuses. As an example, in two decades between 1981 to 2001, the population of six major metropolitan cities in India increased by about 1.9 times, whereas the number of motor vehicles went up by over 7.75 times during the same period. Its means there has surged of congestion and a large amount of time spent in traffic during the transit towards the office. These unproductive hours spent in traffic can be utilised for productive work by the efficient and affordable urban mass transport system. The utilised hours will contribute towards economic development.

Reduces the Dependency on Private Transport-

Increased in the use of personal vehicles and lack of strict and periodic emission control have led to increasing carbon emissions and noise pollution. This results in unhealthy air quality and thus public health impairment. Even, these personal vehicles occupy more and more parking space which results in congestion and traffic in the cities. Altogether, it restricts the economic development of urban cities. The good urban mass transportation system will make people less indulgent on the private vehicle which results in economic development and reduces pollution.

Enhances Job & Labour Force Accessibility:

Efficient and affordable urban mass transport system would help to enhance job and labour force accessibility to their work and contribute to providing their full potential. It means cities with good mobility options will contribute towards economic development.

Health Benefits

In countries such as India, pollution is a major component of health problems. Most of the health problems are encountered by exposure to harmful air during travel. This health problem has the potential to cause long time drainage of economic resources. If an efficient transport system is available, there are more chances that commuters will avoid harmful road transport system.

Opens New Markets for Businesses:

The urban mass transportation system has a great impact on business growth. The well-developed urban mass transport system will provide new markets for business. It is to be noted that the company establishment completely depends upon the available infrastructure to operate in efficient and appropriate ways and transportation system is one of the vital facilities. Altogether, transportation management plays a key role in economic development. City transportation influences per capita expenditure and revenues to a large extent and thus a country’s GDP. If examples are to be drawn from a big city (Mumbai), Mumbai owes much of its business capital status to a well-laid out public transportation management.

Towards Building an Efficient and Affordable Urban Mass Transport

Government has implemented various policies for promoting affordable, efficient and accessible mobility system like – National Transit Oriented Development Policy, 2017; Green Urban Transport Scheme, 2016; FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric vehicles etc. The federal government of India has launched two flagship programmes – hundred Smart Cities and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation, and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for five hundred cities that have a population of 100,000 or more, with funding of $8 billion and $8.3 billion, respectively.

Way Forward

Thus, it would be better for India to achieve efficient and sustainable city public transport systems to handle the large-scale increasing population in the urban regions. This will not only reduce pollution but also make movement fast, easy and efficient. Altogether, the public infrastructure will improve the mobility of people and will open the door to new economic opportunities for the country.

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