Urban Mobility

For the first time in human history, half of the world’s population resides in itscities. By 2050, cities will be home to nearly 70% of the global population.

India is in midst of developing its infrastructure as a foundation to grow in the current century. It needs to do so in a sustainable and equitable manner.Development shouldn’t mean building more roads but rather alternative options of mobility. It should mean safe, affordable and sustainable transportation options for the whole of society that includes women, children, elderly and people with special needs.

Mobility is distinct from transportation. Transportation means getting from point A to point B. Whereas mobility is transportation and quality of the journey. Mobility
could be defined by three parameters: (a). Time; (b). Affordability and (c). Safety.

Improved mobility should improve the quality of citizen life, i.e. have positive societal impact; it should have efficient transport systems to reduce environmental
impact; it should increase productivity of the citizenry by reducing congestion, optimizing parking spaces and prioritizing other citizen needs. For example, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) increases efficiency of mobility by decongesting other vehicles and thereby reduces commuting time increasing passenger satisfaction and productivity while also decreasing traffic risk.

India needs to address a few challenges as it adopts measures to improve mobility on its roads. It still has an increasing trend of ownership of private vehicles as compared to use of public transport and non-mechanised alternatives. The Indian transport sector accounts for 18% of commercial energy use with high dependenceon oil. More number of private vehicles lead to congestion on road as well as vehicular emissions which impacts human health negatively and also accounts for sizable city land as parking spaces.

The city of Bengaluru has seen its population rise by 40% since 2011. By 2031, the city would be home to about 20 million people. The city has gained an infamous reputation for the traffic jams being one of the worst in the country. Bengaluru is only second to Delhi with regards to number of vehicles on city roads with over 80 lakh vehicles. There are 50 lakh two-wheelers in the city with accidents involving them being the highest.

This problem is compounded by decrease in ridership in the city’s public buses. Although the city carries one of the biggest fleets of buses with 6500 of them, the high cost of the tickets have discouraged the public from commuting in them. The city also has a well laid out network of rail and metro transport but they still haven’t eased the congestion on the roads. First and last mile connectivity issues discourage citizens from using these modes of transportation.

Such issues could be addressed by integrating various modes of transport with seamless connectivity under one authority and common ticketing system. Increasing the fleet of buses and coverage of the routes with reduction in fares would encourage commuters to shift to using buses. Having dedicated routes for buses and lanes for shared transportation would reduce single-use private trips, decongest density of vehicles and reduce vehicular emissions. Increasing cycling infrastructure like cycles on rent and docking stations along with demarcated spaces for cyclists to ensure safety could encourage citizens to cycle to work and for short commutes instead of being restricted to a recreational activity. Such measures could set Bengaluru on a path of sustainable mobility.

Bengaluru Sustainability Forum considers Mobility as one of the areas of priority for a city to be sustainable. The Forum looks to be a repository of resources in the form of Reports & Articles and Weblinks which could be found by accessing the tabs below.