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Slow Murder: The Insidious Link between Vehicular Pollution - Public Health - Climate- and
Urban Poor in India
by: Anumita Roychowdhury, Centre for Science and Environment1
Background Paper for Conference on the "The Environments of the Poor”, Asian Development
Bank, 24-26 Nov 2010, New Delhi2

Widely different concerns have converged around vehicles and mobility in our cities – public
health, fuel splurge and climate impacts. This is the challenge of the balance – curb local air
pollution to save lives – especially those of the poor, and at the same time, shrink carbon and
energy imprints of transportation to save fuels and climate. Even before Indian cities could deal
with deaths and illnesses from toxic air, energy security and global warming imprints of transport
have tiptoed onto their agenda. Studies now show that Indian cities that have high per capita
particulate emissions that are life threatening also have high per capita carbon dioxide emissions
that are heat trapping. This multiple burden of risks demands active and aggressive policy
response, especially to protect the vulnerable in our cities. Exclusion of the poor from the urban
and transportation planning will enhance the magnitude of social and economic impacts of
pollution and climate change. At the same time such exclusion will distance cities from
sustainable mobility solutions that the travel pattern of the poor offer.
This is the crucial stage in India’s transition when the closely built dense cities are beginning to
make the rapid transition from the walking and cycling cities to auto cities. Even today nearly 30-
60 percent of the travel trips across all city classes in India are carbon neutral due to the
dominance of walking and cycling trips. This is also the reflection of the dominance of low
income groups in Indian cities. If the mobility needs of the poor and low income groups become
the defining parameter for mobility planning, Indian cities can be less auto-centric and succeed in
scaling up transportation alternatives even for the urban majority to make mobility less energy
intensive and less polluting.

What are the imperatives of the inclusive mobility planning in India?

Poor are the integral part of the urban majority: The poverty statistics in India gives out the clear
message that the poor are not the minority but represent the majority in Indian cities. More than
quarter of the urban population is poor based on what they spend and the bottom majority earns
less than US$1.8. Their access to transportation modes determines the diversity of livelihood
choices in cities. Any kind of exclusion will not only enhance chronic urban poverty but will also
undermine informal services that support city’s economy and undermine economic growth. It is
estimated that overall the total informal sector constitutes about 55 percent of the total GDP in
India. Equity therefore will have to be the defining parameter of transport planning and growth.

Poor are more vulnerable to public health and climate impacts: While the zero carbon modes of
walking and cycling of the urban poor have created the ecological space to avert the tipping point
of climate change, they themselves are falling victim to life threatening local air pollution that still
remain unresolved. Polluted air and the toxic vehicular fume are taking heavy toll in Indian cities.
Malnutrition and poor access to health services further enhance their risk. Rapid motorization
based on poorer quality technology and fuels is increasing toxic risk as exposure to vehicular
Associate Director, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India.
For more information, see the conference website:
fume is the highest for poor who live closer to the roads. Unfortunately, health costs of the poor
which often remain underestimated due to their lower willingness to pay, fails to drive public
policy on emissions regulations. Technology and fuel quality roadmap will have to be accelerated
to make a paradigm shift. Cities will also need composite in-use emissions management to
reduce pollution. Tax policies need to redistribute resources to meet this cost of this transition for
common good. This is particularly important as the science is increasingly decoding the linkage
between warming and enhancement of public health impacts of local air pollution. More warming
will further enhance the public health impacts and make poor more vulnerable. Interlinking of
goals of public health and climate mitigation and the co-benefit framework for mitigation can
ensure reduction in both heat trapping gases as well as life threatening fumes.

Mainstreaming of transportation modes of urban poor can scale up solutions for the urban
majority: By 2030-31 on an average Indians will travel thrice as many kilometers as they traveled
during 2000-01. Environmental impact of increased travel can be reduced only if people use more
public transport, walk and cycle. While poor are the captive users of cycling and walking, the
middle income groups who so far have been using these modes by choice are shifting to more
energy intensive automobile. Network planning must attach primacy to walking and cycling. The
city mobility plans in the making for sourcing of central government funds and also a few city
master plans have begun to set targets for modal share improvement for public transport by
2020. If meeting such targets can be enabled, the growing automobile dependency can be
prevented which otherwise can lock up enormous carbon and pollution and make sustainable
growth difficult in the future. Equity based inclusive mobility planning therefore assumes even
greater significance.

Public policy needs to maintain dense urban form to bring jobs, home and recreation closer to
integrate the needs of the poor and to cut travel and emissions: The unique travel pattern of the
poor is intrinsically linked with the close urban form and is built around short trip distances that
are walkable. If this is disturbed with urban sprawl then the transportation regime for the poor can
become increasingly unaffordable, difficult, with the risk of limiting their livelihood options.
Environmentalism in cities however, is pushing for more expensive high end transportation
solutions that are either displacing poor or taking transport beyond their affordable means. While
metro in Delhi has displaced slums, the bus rapid transit system in Ahmedabad has displaced a
large number of hawkers. Studies have shown detrimental impacts on earnings, and travel costs
of the displaced. In fact women have been very hard hit. Inclusive and gender sensitive urban
planning will need poor people to stay well dispersed within the city and not pushed to the

Also the corridor based transit planning that links central business districts are not appropriately
aligned with the network movement of the poor which is highly localized. Moreover, short trips –
less than 5 kms dominate urban travel pattern in Indian cities that are catered to by walking
cycling, and low cost-high frequency para-transit. But neglect of these modes and non-motorised
network is limiting the sustainable options for the urban majority as well and making the higher
income classes more dependent on cars and other motorized trips that lock up more carbon and

Public policy and funding of transportation will have to ensure equity: National policies including
National Urban Transport Policy, National Climate Action Plan, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban
Renewal Missions among others have begun to acknowledge the needs of the poor and poverty
concerns. But the policy so far has not been able to change the practice. The city development
plans and city mobility plans that are in the making for sourcing of the central government funds
for transportation in most cases do not even address the travel needs of the slum dwellers and
the low income classes. Also the analysis of the funding pattern under these policies shows that
the public funding is still biased towards car centric road building despite very low car ownership
in Indian cities. More than 70 per cent of the projects sanctioned under the JNNURM programme
for instance are tied to road building. Investments on non-motorised infrastructure are negligible.
This trend will have to be reversed. Distorted fiscal policies such as that tax buses higher than
cars or allows hidden subsidies to the car owners in terms of free parking or parking for a
pittance, use of subsidized diesel etc, create perverse incentives for car ownership and usage.
The emissions and health cost impact of these incentives are not included in public policy.

Inclusive planning for sustainable mobility is more cost effective than sprawl and high-end
transportation based planning: According to an estimate by the National Transport Development
Committee on urban transport/rail transport, the investment needed for a urban sprawl based
scenario in India that will need more road and rail transport is staggering – the investment
requirement can be in the range of Rs 36,60,000 crore (USD 813.5 billion)over the next 20 years.
This is three times higher than the total plan and non-plan expenditure of the Government of India
in 2009-10. McKinsey has estimated that India would require nearly USD 600 billion in urban
roads and mass transit sector which is 50 per cent of the total funding requirement in all sectors
for the future urbanisation in India. But if the cities change their paradigm to more compact cities
and adopt public transport oriented measures and travel demand management measures the
investment requirement will reduce to half. This also means cities can become more sustainable
and self sustaining with inclusive and compact planning. But somehow low cost options are not
favoured in investment plans of either the urban local bodies or the donor community.

Transportation reform may also become anti-poor if not planned well: As cities begin to opt for
more transportation reforms and capital intensive formal transportation systems to scale up public
transport, it creates pressure for more resources. Already cities as part of the fiscal reforms are
aiming to capitalize on land value gains along the transit lines; and, relaxing building norms to
allow more built up areas for densification. But most cities have begun to initiate these measures
without creating the regulatory safeguards to ensure that such measures do not out price poor
and low income groups from such development. The regulatory conditions of affordable housing
for the low income groups as well as the chronically poor must be laid down in new development
in advance.

Need common planning for common good: Often the neighbourhoods of the migrant poor in most
Indian cities are treated as unauthorised colonies. As a result, they are not included in the
municipal planning and investments in public infrastructure. They remain invisible from public
policy perspective. This further enhances the risks for the vulnerable. Compact and city-wide
community based urban planning is essential to de-risk poor community, enhance public spaces
and improve productivity of the workforce.
Global climate regime and mitigation strategies will also have to be inclusive: In the global climate
regime there is still no clarity with regard to the ways the transport sector mitigation can be
enabled and supported at the local levels. The carbon finance mechanism evolving under the
UNFCCC process has not worked for low carbon transport so far. Clean development mechanism
has been able to reduce less than 1 per cent of emissions from the transport sector. The reasons
include difficulty to prove additionality or prove change because of the project; transport
emissions are widely dispersed; and the carbon funds are too small for the total cost of transport
project. Solutions to this dilemma can be found in the programmatic approach for investments
and planning in cities that allows a number of similar projects for scale and impact.
Instead of supporting one capital intensive project a bunch of projects can be designed that
integrates carbon neutral trips of walking and cycling, bus transport and other land-use based
strategies to make global development assistance more equity based. This can enable a range of
technical and non-technical interventions including land-use planning, urban form, technical
support for travel demand management measures, and infrastructure design for non-motorised
transport. The comparatively higher share of carbon neutral trips in developing countries like India
provides the window of opportunity to the world to avert the tipping point. This baseline needs
protection and scaling up.

Climate proof transport infrastructure to reduce risks to poor: Climate proofing can help to
strengthen resilience of the transport infrastructure to fence poor against extreme climatic events.
Mobility plans will have to reflect these new challenges and evaluate the impacts of climate
vagaries on transportation systems and access, options for design adaptation and potential costs.
This will require spatial planning of the city especially the poor neighbouourhoods that are often
located in low lying areas that are subject to water logging and flooding. Non-motorised
infrastructure is often best suited for access to the vulnerable areas. Transport connectivity will
have to be designed for quick evacuation during extreme climatic episodes. Public transport
systems and the road infrastructure will have to be resilient. These design concerns will have to
be integrated with the urban design guidelines in cities.
Need roadmap for inclusive planning: Cities need to leverage their comprehensive mobility plans
and clean air plans to set time bound targets for improving modal share of walking, cycling and
bus transport; meet clean air targets; inclusive land use plans to bring homes and jobs closer to
reduce travel distances, leapfrog technology to make a paradigm shift and cut emissions at
source; habitat and shelter policies should keep poor within the city; investment policies should
favour NMT infrastructure and network; travel demand management to restraint car usage, and
ensure climate proofing of transportation infrastructure.
With inclusive planning the cities can benefit enormously from reduced air pollution, lower health
and GHG costs, congestion costs and parking subsidy, reduced costs of road construction and
enhanced property values due to improved livability. Economic efficiency of cities and well-being
of urban inhabitants are directly influenced by the pattern of mobility.
Transport and air pollution experts have just about begun to investigate the link between urban
poor – transportation – public health and climate. There is very little information in India on this.
However, this rapid review of the existing information in India helps to identify the contour of this


India needs to be on high alert as degrading air quality and worsening of climate impacts make
the urban poor more vulnerable. Urban poverty in India remains high at 25.7 percent as estimated
by the Planning Commission in 2004-5 based on household consumer expenditure. Though the
rate of poverty has declined over time the rate of decline has slowed down from 0.82 percentage
points per year from 1973-74 to 1983-84, to 0.61 percentage points from 1993-94 to 2004-05.
Also the gap between rural and urban poverty incidence is narrowing. A recent study by Mckinsey
Global Institute in 2010 states that 75 per cent of the urban population in India is in the bottom
rung of income level – Rs 80/day (USD 1.8). Though the share of Indian urban population at 30
per cent is lower than the industrialized world, in absolute terms the numbers are huge at 340
million, more than the US population. This is also poised to increase in the future (Mckinsey,
The share of marginalized people with poor access to essential facilities is thus rising in Indian
cities. They also live in very poor habitats. Nearly 21 percent of the total urban population lives in
slums. This share is estimated to be higher – about 40 per cent to over half in the metro cities of
Delhi and Mumbai. Also all low income classes are not necessarily in the slums. Urbanization in
India is marked by a growth of unauthorized colonies, slum clusters and low income
neighbourhoods that are often left out of the planning process as they do not have a legal entity.
This further adds to the crisis. Poor access to basic services makes them particularly vulnerable
to pollution and climate impacts. More poor people in cities will enhance the vulnerability.
India has its own unique urban mosaic. It is top heavy with highly concentrated population only in
few cities. About 70 percent of urban population is in about little less than 400 cities. The rest are
distributed across remaining 4000 towns and cities. In fact, about one third of the total urban
population is estimated to live in the megacities that contribute to nearly 50 percent of the carbon
emissions. Top rung cities show strong trend towards suburbanisation. However, there is slower
growth in the bottom rung cities that have grown due to infrastructure investments and rural to
urban migration. India is expected to have 68 cities with more than one million population each,
13 cities with more than four million, and six mega cities with more than 10 million. The middle
rung cities are growing faster than big metros today.
In fact, cities big in scale and density make pollution control and public transport more efficient. It
is therefore possible to leverage that opportunity in Indian cities. But the efficiency gains can be
limited in Indian cities due to poor urban governance. Smaller cities with much lower motorisation
need preventive strategies. Nonetheless, all cities face the common challenge of equity based
inclusive planning and growth.
Globally, focus on cities is getting sharper mainly because energy demand is expected to grow
more rapidly in cities due to growth in urban population, lifestyle changes, and increase in the
level of economic activities. The World Energy Outlook 2009 states that already two-third of
world’s energy is consumed in cities – by half of world’s population. By 2030 cities will be
consuming 73 per cent of world energy. India mirrors this trend. There is still a big difference
between big and small cities in India. Bigger cities that have longer travel distances and also a
much larger share of personal vehicles guzzle more fuels. Smaller cities with much less
motorsied vehicles use less fuels (See Graph 1: Per capita CO2 emissions vary according to the
size of the city)
This is largely the reflection of the way people travel in cities and their affordability. Particularly,
the informal job markets of the poor also create a dense movement networks in cities.
Predictably, the smaller cities with much higher share of non-motorised transport have a lot less
carbon emissions. But bigger cities with much higher motorised trips including public transport
trips have a lot higher emissions. Approximately, the 3 megacities contributes nearly 50 percent
of the transport related carbon emissions, estimates the Transport Risk Injury Prevention
Programme (TRIPP) of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Megacities have nearly 2 times
more per capita emission than category 2 cities and 5 times more than category three cities.
Graph 1: Per capita CO2 emissions vary according to the size of the city

Source Based on Wilbur Smith

It is not the modes of the poor but that of the rich in the cities which threatens to disturb India’s
baseline CO2 emissions from the transport sector. A Wilbur Smith Associate study of 2008 on 30
Indian cities for the Union Ministry of Urban Development shows that the maximum fuel
consumption by vehicles for all cities classified in terms of population size is contributed by cars
and motorised two-wheelers (See Graph 2: Fuel consumption per day in different classes of
cities). These modes account for approximately 65 – 90 percent of the total carbon-dioxide
emissions that is directly linked with the amount of energy burnt by all vehicles in these cities.
Graph 2: Fuel consumption per day in different classes of cities

Source: Based Wilbur Smith 2008

Predictably, therefore, vehicle numbers and the CO2 emissions correlate strongly in all Indian
cities. (Graph 3: Vehicle of rich creates the heat trap). Smaller cities with small vehicle fleet show
lower CN2 emissions.
Graph 3: Vehicle of rich creates the heat trap

3000000 7000000

2500000 6000000


CO2 emissions in tons

Vehicle numbers

Vehicle numbers
CO2 emissions


500000 1000000

0 0










Source Centre for Science and Environment, 2010

There are varying estimates of transport sector’s contribution to the overall CO2 load in India. The
official communication to the UNFCCC in 2004 reports the share at 12 per cent. A more recent
estimate from the Ministry of Environment and Forests puts this at a lower level – 7.5 percent and
predicts that this would double by 2015. But consider this – the total consumption of oil is
responsible for 57 per cent of the CO2 in the country today. And among all oil-consuming sectors,
CO2 emissions from transport are increasing at the fastest rate – at more than 6 per cent per
annum. This is daunting for any national combat plan for climate. Even globally, curbing warming
gases from the transport sector has proven to be the most difficult. International Energy Agency
has predicted that the future increase in energy demand in the transport sector of India will be
largely driven by the increase in personal cars. Asian Development Bank has predicted that
transport energy use will increase six times by 2020. This is ominous in a country where 72 per
cent of the crude oil is imported. Energy imprint of motorization will have to be reduced.
Indian cities have the chance to plan their mobility differently and avert the oil guzzling.
Automobile dependence is still much lower as India has 8 cars per 1000 persons. Public transport
including buses and rail already meet more than three-quarters of passenger demand for
motorized transport. In the nonmotorized segment, walking and bicycling meet more than a
quarter of all trips in major cities and greater than half in small towns and rural areas. This is an
Inherently closely built dense cities that have short travel distances make walking, cycling and
para transit extremely attractive and feasible. TRIPP estimates that the average distance of the
85 per cent of all travel trips in Indian cities is less than 10 kilometer. Nearly 40 to 45 per cent is
less than 5 kilometers. This makes our cities very walkable and cyclable. Dominance of urban
poor has so far contributed to creating the ecological space in cities. This baseline of usage of
sustainable modes is an opportunity and must be scaled up.
This scaling up is possible if Indian cities adopt a co-benefit framework for emissions control:
While public health remains the primary driver of change in Indian cities, ensuring the attendant
benefits of climate mitigation is established in the National Climate Action Plan. This is important
as the scientists are now decoding the subtle link between air pollution and warming. Even local
pollutants can enhance the warming effects. Diesel PM increases toxic particulate emissions but
also heat trapping black carbon. On the other hand, warming can also enhance local public health
impacts. Higher temperature can increase photochemical smog and ozone. Each increase of 1
degree Celsius caused by carbon dioxide, can enhance PM and ozone build up. The resulting air
pollution can lead to thousands of additional deaths and many more cases of respiratory illness
and asthma etc.


Some of the worst cases of outdoor air pollution are found in Indian cities. Even medium and
small sized towns and cities are witnessing phenomenal spurt in pollution as severe as or more
than any mega city. This is increasing premature deaths and illnesses.
The poor carry a larger environmental burden of disease. They face higher exposure, have poor
access to health care and shoulder higher healthcare costs. Higher level of risks for the poor
persists as the poorest of environmental quality is found in urban areas. More than half of our
cities have air pollution levels that are officially classified as critical (see Graph 4: proliferating
hotspots). Tiny particulates are dangerous even at very low concentration. In many cities nitrogen
oxide levels are rising and this adds to the problem of ozone pollution that is extremely harmful.
Clearly, life threatening pollutants are not confined only to big cities.
Graph 4: Proliferating hotspots

Source: Centre for Science and Environment based on CPCB data

Review of health impact studies carried out in Asia and India carried out by the Health Effect
Institute, has shown that the effects are as lethal here as in the industrialized countries. But
scientists also warn that the effects could be even more severe if the studies account for poverty
and malnutrition that further modify the effect of pollution on health especially in our cities with
exceptionally high levels of pollution and with multiple pollutants increasing at the same time.
Vehicular emissions pose a special challenge as vehicle emissions take place in the breathing
zone of people, contribute significantly to human exposure and causes significant increase in
respiratory symptoms and lung function impairment, cancer and plethora of other ailments.
Pollution concentration in our breathe is 3-4 times higher than the ambient air concentration. Poor
have a higher prevalence of some underlying diseases related to air pollution and proximity to
roadways increases the potential health effects. In three cities World Bank review found vehicles
contributing an average 50 percent of the direct PM emissions and 70 percent of PM exposure.
The 2005 WHO report states that the epidemiological evidences for the adverse health effects of
exposure to transport related air pollution are increasing. Some of the deadliest air toxics, also
carcinogens, are related to vehicular emissions. Transport users, walkers and cyclists are the
most exposed groups – most of them are also poor.
This has ominous implications for public health in India where the rapidly growing vehicular fleet,
old and ill-maintained vehicles, traffic congestion, poor fuel quality and adulterated fuel have
severely enhanced the vehicular pollution load. Assessment of carried out by the US based
Health Effect Institute shows that in densely-populated cities of Asia and India, more than 50 – 60
per cent of the population lives or works near the roadside. There is a marked gradient among
local, regional, and roadside levels. Roadside levels are reported to be much higher than the
ambient levels. This is particularly serious as most low income neighborhoods are located along
the roads (See Figure 1: Polluted core of Delhi and arterial roads in Delhi with heavy traffic:
Recipe for high exposure). Poor also have a higher prevalence of some underlying diseases
relevant to air pollution and proximity to roadways increases the potential health effects.
Figure 1: Polluted core of Delhi and arterial roads in Delhi with heavy traffic: Recipe for
high exposure
Air quality forecasting system for Delhi shows Central Road Research Institute survey
extremely unhealthy levels. This has serious of 2007 shows traffic volume has
implication for the poor who live within 500 m exceeded the designed capacity of 51
of key roads. arterial roads in Delhi.
Source: Aria Technologies SA and Leosphere SA Source: Central Road Research Institute
in collaboration with CPCB)
Very few studies have been carried out in India looking specifically into the impact of air pollution
on poor. An assessment by the Delhi based School of planning and Architecture during 2000-01
ranked respiratory diseases as the second largest cause of morbidity in urban slums. The
National Cancer Control Programme has listed greater exposure to environmental carcinogens as
one of the most important reasons for the prevalence of cancer. And the department of preventive
oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, incidence of cancer in the city’s slums was found to be
high. Air pollution is envisaged to play a role in the enhancement of this risk. These findings serve
to highlight the challenge we face in India and the preparedness needed to deal with it.
Yet another study carried out in Bangalore by H Paramesh found that increased prevalence of
asthma in children when correlated with the geographical situation of the school in relation to
vehicular traffic and the socioeconomic group of children. Group I-Children from schools of heavy
traffic area showed prevalence of 19.34 percent, Group Il-Children from heavy traffic region and
low socioeconomic population -- 31.14 percent and Group III-Children from low traffic area school
-- 11.15 percent respectively. Similarly, in Hyderabad a drug off-take study was conducted by
doctors of S V S Medical College, to gather data of 56 different drugs being sold within a 5-km
radius of the air quality monitoring stations at five of the most polluted zones in the city. It showed
that since 1998, the highest drug sale had been in Punjagutta and Abids zones of the twin cities.
These areas have recorded highest PM1 and PM10 levels.
A few studies carried out in other parts of the world show the insidious link between air pollution
and health of the poor people. A study done by the Mexico based National institute of Public
Health shows that children living in poor neighbourhood are at great risk. Elevated PM1- levels for
consecutive days resulted in an 82 percent increase in respiratory deaths in infants aged between
one month and a year in the following days. A Yale university study – Children’s exposure to
diesel exhaust in school buses – found that districts with the highest socio-economic status had
the lowest prevalence rates (5.5 per cent) while those with the lowest status had the highest
prevalence rates (averaging 9 per cent). In Asia Health Effect Institute has carried out in Vietnam
that has assessed impact of poverty. Clearly, poor living conditions and nutritional deficiencies in
developing cities can increase susceptibility to air pollution.
Poor are also the captive residents of polluted environs as they continue to live in unhealthy
areas while rich may have a choice. The Chennai study has also found that those close to traffic
points showed higher willingness to pay for air quality improvement. This dropped as distance
increased. Also studies carried out by the economists in the Delhi based Indian Institute of
Economic Growth have found significant welfare gains from air pollution reduction to safe levels
in cities of Delhi and Kolkata and the gains accrued through the location choices of houses very
high. (M N Murty, IEG). The benefits are worth Rs 4,665 crore in Delhi Rs 2,663 crore in Kolkata.
This, says study, justifies the cost of action, like introducing CNG, mass transport, relocation
polluting Industries etc. But as it is evident poor cannot make locational decisions.
Health costs through poverty lens: India has not assessed health costs of air pollution and the
costs to the vulnerable adequately to drive policies. There are only a few indicative studies. In
1995 the World Bank had assessed the annual health costs for 28 cities at Rs 5,500 crore. Delhi
alone accounted for Rs 1000 crore. Another study carried out by SIM Air in 2009 put the Delhi
cost at Rs 2450 crore.
While poor are more vulnerable to air pollution their ability to bear that cost is very low. This
further enhances their vulnerability. A study carried out by the J Sacratees, (Journal of Social and
Economic Development, Vol. 11 January-June 2009 No. 1) in Chennai assessed the Willingness
to Pay for the improved air quality in different localities surrounding monitoring stations. Air
pollution is high in two stations but the actual health cost differs in study areas. This is determined
by the income level of the residents. The residents of Kilpauk and Vallalar Nagar are very low and
they depend on government health centres. But those in Adyar and Anna Nagar have higher
income levels and depend on private clinics. It also found that when income level rises by 1 per
cent, the probability of WTP for better air quality also rises by 0.0039 per cent. Also men respond
more positively towards improving air quality compared to women. Thus, gender and poverty link
further enhances the risk.
So far the official number crunching on health cost of air pollution has remained cosmetic and
minimalist. At the time of deciding the Auto Fuel Policy Roadmap in 2002-03, a study
commissioned to assess the health costs and benefits for the proposed improvement in the
emissions standards to Euro II and subsequently to Euro III/IV had undervalued the costs
The study carried out by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy assessed change in
health costs in 25 cities and found total annual health cost ranged between Rs 679.07 crore to Rs
9,307.81 crore. The study did not consider the cost of premature deaths but only income loss and
treatment cost of pollution-related sicknesses. Therefore, the benefits seemed low compared to
the cost of refinery improvement that the oil companies had quoted. The refineries since then
have maintained that it has cost them nearly Rs 30,000 --40,000 crore to make the requisite
improvement to meet the emissions standards roadmap. In fact, this is the cost of setting one
metro system in one city of Delhi that meets 5 percent of travel demand and is beyond the
affordable range of the poor. As a standard practice, the cost benefits estimates are not even
included in policy making to prioritise investments in India. This scenario is in contrast to the US
where the US EPA justified very stringent low-sulphur fuels and standards for heavy-duty diesels
on the grounds that while the annual investments to get the clean fuel would cost US $4 billion,
the health benefits account for a whopping US $70 billion with 8,000 lives saved a year.
Public policy must attach primacy to health costs to influence investments in clean fuel and
vehicle standards. Nation-wide improvement in emissions standards can cut emissions at source
and reduce exposure for all. Getting the cleanest vehicles quickly provides the great health
benefit to the poor. If the car owners are made to pay an additional amount, refineries can afford
the costs of improvement. Benefits to the poor and the urban majority justify it.
As the health criteria fail to drive public policy on emissions regulations the judiciary in India steps
in to evoke the fundamental principles that determine the environmental governance -- Right to
Life, the precautionary principle, the polluter pay principle. Constitutional provision on right to life
and wholesome environment and the duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and standard
of living to protect public health becomes the basis of various pollution control related directives in
India. .


Green growth requires mainstreaming of the needs of the poor not only to enhance the coping
capacity of the poor in the changing climate but also for effective mitigation. Public policy will
have to address upfront capital costs to phase in low polluting and low carbon vehicle technology;
ensure massive reorientation of the transportation policies to integrate the principles of inclusive
growth; and, mainstream carbon neutral mobility pattern of the poor in the land-use planning.

Urban poor and clean vehicle technology to reduce personal exposure: Public health
security in cities demands a stringent roadmap for vehicle technology and fuel quality. Slow
technology transition is preventing rapid cut in emissions at source to reduce exposure. An
assessment of the cycle inclusive policy by the GTZ shows that those who cycle are exposed to
substantially higher doze of toxic benzene and particulates. This demands drastic cut in
emissions at source.

Five to ten year lag in emissions standards and uncontrolled dieselization without clean diesel
can aggravate public health impacts of motorization in India. Explosive vehicle numbers swamp
the effect of small incremental steps in improving emissions standards. The scaling up of
investments in the automobile and the refinery sectors in post 2010 phase must therefore be
linked with stringent emissions standards roadmap to meet air quality goals. The current
approach of keeping emissions standards tighter for a few big cities benefits only a segment of
the urban population. Making enforcement of the ambient air quality standards mandatory in cities
will see rapid transition to clean fuels and technologies and protection of urban poor.
The co-benefit framework must also ensure that the clean air and climate policies prevent tradeoff
between toxic risks and climate mitigation. Dieselisation is an evidence of this serious trade-off.
Diesel in India has yet to meet the clean benchmark but it is attractive for its fuel efficiency
benefits. If diesel gets advantage under fuel economy regulations and climate policies for its fuel
efficiency without the commensurate improvement in its toxic emissions, public health impacts
can be serious. Emissions data from the vehicle certification body, Automotive research
Association of India in Pune shows that diesel cars may emit 1.2 times less CO2 compared to
petrol cars, other toxic emissions from diesel cars can be 7.5 times higher. (See graph 5 i-iii:
Comparative emissions factors for Euro III diesel and petrol cars in India). Also under the climate
debate the focus on the warming effect of black carbon can push diesel down on the priority

Graph 5: Comparative emissions factors for Euro III diesel and petrol cars in India

i. PM emissions: Euro III diesel car emits 7.5 times more PM than petrol cars

ii. NOx emissions: Euro III diesel car emits 3 times more NOx than petrol cars

iii. Total toxics emissions: Euro III diesel car emits nearly 7 times more air toxics

Post 2005 Mo
iv. CO2 emissions: Euro III diesel car emits nearly 1.2 times less carbon dioxides

Source:: ARAI 2007, Draft report on “Emission Factor development for Indian Vehicles “ as a part
of Ambient Air Quality Monitoring and Emission Source Apportionment Studies, Pune
Diesel exhaust also raises concerns over communities in close proximity to major freight routes
who are facing a disproportionate burden of the health risks. Urban sprawl and relocations of
slums to the urban periphery and on highways is likely to continue. The expansion of high traffic
roadways will increase health concerns related to population exposures to highway traffic
exhaust. This requires diesel risk reduction strategies as well as spatial planning for low income
It is ironical that despite the enormous public health costs of diesel, the government is willingly
incurring huge revenue losses due to dieselisation of the car fleet without setting clean diesel
benchmark for the vehicle industry. The government absorbs colossal revenue losses on account
of this ‘luxury’ consumption of diesel while the poor people are made to bear the disproportionate
burden of its health costs. The Union government earns more excise revenue from every litre of
petrol used by a petrol car compared to a litre of diesel used by a diesel car. Cheap diesel also
induces more travel and therefore more emissions. Urgent steps are needed to rationalise
taxation policy to remove incentives for diesel cars and cut toxic risks.
Technology for co-benefits: Like diesel all technology segments will need a roadmap to meet
the combined goals of public health and climate mitigation. For instance, a section of the low
income groups use motorized two-wheelers that have the smallest carbon footprint (a typical two-
wheeler has achieved 60-70 km/litre) amongst the motorised vehicles due to their very high fuel
efficiency. This in fact helps to keep the operational costs of the two-wheeler to as low as Re 1
per km. But these vehicles can also be quite polluting. The emissions data from the Automotive
Research Association of India shows that a new two-wheeler can emit more local air pollutant
than a new car. The challenge therefore is to push this technology to improve further to maximize
both emissions and energy gains in an affordable manner.
Similarly, the natural gas vehicle programme in Indian cities has provided the opportunity to
reduce the overall toxic risks (Table; 1 Comparative emissions of Indian diesel and CNG buses).
As the mainstream technologies are taking time to improve Indian cities have opted for fuel
substitution strategy to cut particulate emissions from vehicles to negligible levels. Studies carried
out by the US based Resources For the Future has established direct air quality gains from this
programme. Similarly, the World Bank study of 2004 found that the drop in PM10 after the first
phase of action in Delhi that includes the CNG programme has helped to save 3,629 lives per
These programmes are now entering the second expansion phase and need to be linked with
robust roadmap to maximize their potential to reduce both local air pollutants as well as green
house gas emissions. Globally, GHG reduction potential is drawing attention as a recent IEA
study states that on well to wheel basis 25 percent average reduction in CO2 (e) compared to
petrol light duty vehicles is possible. In relation to diesel results are mixed and depend on type
and level of technology. (IEA 2010)
Table: 1 Comparative emissions of Indian diesel and CNG buses (Euro II vintage)
Type of bus CO HC NOx PM
g/km g/km g/km g/km
Euro II diesel bus on 5001.45 0.29 6.24 0.35
ppm sulphur fuel + DOC
Euro II diesel bus on 3500.65 0.15 5.85 0.11
ppm sulphur fuel + DOC

Euro II diesel bus on 501.42 0.04 13.58 0.009
ppm sulphur fuel + CRT

Euro II CNG bus +three3.18 1.455 5.35 0.0065
way catalytic converter

Source: Source: The Energy and Resources Institute, 2004, Fuel Choices for Transport and the
Environment, New Delhi, page 9

An assessment of the Delhi programme has further shown that in comparison with the warming
potential of black carbon emissions from the older diesel bus fleet, CNG has been less warming.
When black carbon from diesel is not considered estimated CO2 (e) increases due to switch.
When black carbon is taking into account -- switch is carbon neutral Upto 30 percent reduction in
CO2 (e) (See graph 6: Climate benefits of the CNG programme in Delhi)
Graph 6: Climate benefits of the CNG programme in Delhi

Source: Conor Reynolds and M Kandlikar, British Columbia 2008

It is also important to include the vehicles of the poor in the technology roadmap discussions –
para transit vehicles, and non-motorised vehicles including bicycles and cycle rickshaws. While
para transit technology will have to meet much cleaner benchmark, the non-motorised vehicles
need design innovation to reduce rolling resistance, drag etc to make it user friendly.
Urban poor and transport energy policy: Absence of energy policies for vehicles is negating
fuel saving benefits of the sustainable travel pattern of the urban poor: Vehicles in India currently
use up nearly half of petroleum products. The future increase in fuel consumption in the road
transport sector will largely be driven by light-duty vehicles. This is unaffordable as nearly 85 per
cent of our crude oil needs will be imported at exorbitant rates by 2030. While car numbers are
growing so is the average weight of the cars. (Graph 7: Car market shifts steadily towards bigger
cars). Fuel economy of the car fleet declines for a given increase in large vehicle market share.
This is evident from the ongoing review of the International Council on Clean transportation that
shows fuel economy of a car fleet decline for a given increase in large vehicle market. A 10 per
cent increase in large vehicle sales can roughly result in 2 per cent deterioration in fleet fuel
economy. This means roughly, an additional 17,500 barrels of oil will be consumed annually by
those 10 per cent large vehicle sales. This is unacceptable cost on account of luxury
consumption. The vehicle technologies must be driven by stringent fuel economy regulations and
restraints to maximize fuel savings to create space for affordable public transport.
Graph 7: Car market shifts steadily towards bigger cars

Mainstreaming sustainable modes of the urban poor for mitigation: Even today the baseline
in Indian cities reflects substantial use of public transport, non-motorised transport, para-transit
and walking. About 30 to 60 per cent of all trips in our cities are carbon neutral mainly because
these are cycling and walking trips. The share of these trips increases in smaller cities. The non
motorized transport has a share of about 30 percent in cities with more than one million
populations, which increases to nearly 60 percent in smaller cities (see Graph 8: Pattern of urban
mobility).. The share of public transport is more than 40 percent in cities with more than 5 million
population (mostly organized bus systems) and about 10-20 percent in cities with one to two
million population (primarily served by informal route taxis). Smaller cities have higher share of
non-motorised transport. The diversity of public and para transit modes and high share of walking
and cycling represent the key strength in Indian cities.
But their share is already declining and may continue to slide and hurt the poor if policy action
remains weak. A study carried out by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur shows that
without intervention increase in passenger mobility will change the modal split in favour of
personal vehicles. The share of public transport may drop from 75.7 per cent in 2001-02 to 44.7
per cent in 2030-31. On a per passenger basis a car uses six times more energy than a bus.
Already in Delhi the bus ridership has declined from 60 per cent in 2001 to 40 per cent in 2008.
Cycling has also reduced substantially. Despite the odds walk trips are still very substantial in
Indian cities that vary between 16 to 54 per cent of all motorized as well as non-motorised trips.
Graph 8: Pattern of urban mobility
Source: G Tiwari 2010

Cities with high non-motorised transport also show significantly lower CO2 emissions compared
to the bigger cities (See graph 9: Cities with higher walking and cycling have significantly low
CO2 levels). This means continuous erosion of non-motorised trips and increase in motorized
trips will come with an enormous fuel penalty.
Graph 9: Cities with higher walking and cycling have significantly low CO2 levels
7000000 60

6000000 50
CO2 emissions in tons


NMT Share in per cent

CO2 emissions
NMT share

1000000 10

0 0










Source: Centre for Science and Environment

Also a study carried out by the Asian Development Bank in Bangalore shows an increase in the
share of bus trips from 62 percent to 80 percent can save equal to 21 percent of the fuel
consumed, lead to 23 percent reduction in total vehicle numbers and free-up road space
equivalent to taking off more than four lakh cars from roads. As a result the CO2 emissions can
drop by 13 per cent, particulate matter can drop by 29 per cent and nitrogen oxides by 6 per cent.
Green growth that hinges on compact cities, public transport and non-motorised transport is pro-
poor and sustainable.


After the first generation action in Indian cities each new batch of vehicles though a little cleaner
barely makes an impact on the air quality or the GHG emissions as its exponential numbers
swamp the effect. The future trajectory will have to combine technology leapfrog strategy with
mobility management. Indian cities have the chance to plan it differently. As mentioned earlier
their strength lies in the substantial ridership of public transport and non-motorised transport. But
the way the transportation regime is evolving in our cities it is fast marginalising the need of the
poor and the urban majority. This trend will have to be reversed to cut emissions further. But
there are policy bottlenecks. Even though policies are adopting the principles of sustainable
mobility there are inherent contradictions that may work against the interest of the poor.
Transport infrastructure investments marginalizing the poor: Transport policy is geared
towards motorized transport and public fund is tied to it. Poor are politically weak to influence the
investment decisions to protect their walkways and cycle paths and low costs para-transit. In
cities like Pune and Chennai road infrastructure continues to hog attention instead of public
transport and NMT infrastructure (See Graph 10: Percentage breakup of capital expenditure in
transport). The transportation regime is becoming increasingly iniquitous. Cities are being built for
the car owning minority.

Graph 10: Percentage breakup of capital expenditure in transport

Source: TRIPP 2010

A CSE analysis shows that since 2007-08 in Delhi, although the percentage share of budget
allocation for transportation has increased, the component of the same being allocated for public
transport as a percentage has declined. Although the share for public transportation in terms of
absolute amount has increased, higher percentage component of the total transport fund has
gone to construction of roads, flyovers, underpasses and other physical traffic infrastructure
instead of public transportation projects (See Graph 11: Percentage share of public transport in
total transport allocation).
This essentially indicates that the resources are not being equitably allocated to the infrastructure
for non-motorised transport that is the dominant mode of transport for the poor.

Graph 11: Percentage share of public transport in total transport allocation

P e r ce n t a g e s h a r e o f P u b lic T r an s p o r t in T o ta l T r a n s p o r t A llo c a tio n

Percentage allocation to Transport 1 0 0%

31 9 0%
30 29.33
8 0%
26.76 27.19
Percentage Allocation to Transport

percenatge share of Public Transport

25 25.22 7 0%
23.34 6 0%
O th e rs
20 5 0%
19.13 Pu blic Tr an s po r t
4 0%
15 15.16 14.81 3 0%

2 0%
1 0%

5 2 00 1 -0 2 20 0 2- 0 3 2 0 03 - 04 2 00 4 -0 5 20 0 5- 0 6 2 0 06 - 07 2 00 7 -0 8 20 0 8- 0 9 2 0 09 - 10
Bu d g e t Y e a r
2 001-02 20 02-03 2003-04 2004- 05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2 008-09 20 09-10

Budge t Yea r (Ann ua l P la ns, De lh i)

Source: Centre for Science and Environment – Based on data from Delhi Transport Department

Tax policies work against public transport: The conventional financial policies are not
adequately geared towards promoting public transport, non-motorised transport or clean vehicles.
City governments impose higher taxes on buses compared to cars. It is often cheaper to travel in
a two-wheeler than a bus. A 2004 World Bank study confirms higher tax burden on buses per
vehicle km across the country -- 2.6 times higher for public transport buses than cars in India. Our
existing taxation policies end up meeting the interests of the rich, and not the poor (See Graph
12: Tax burden on public transport).
A CSE assessment in Delhi, for instance, shows that if the one-time road tax on cars is amortised
over the life of the vehicle, then the owner would end up paying only about Rs 500 per year as
tax. On the other hand, a city bus is taxed annually, and on the basis of passenger seats. Going
by this, in Delhi, the minimum tax payable is Rs 13,000 per bus a year – roughly 26 times more
than a car!
Graph 12: Tax burden on public transport

Source: India Financing Highways, Energy and Infrastructure Sector Unit, South Asia Region,
2004 Report No. 30363-IN,
As the cities are now investing to modernize the bus system by upgrading the fleet to better
technology and design the pressure to increase the bus fares is also growing. Delhi has

3 50
increased bus fares successively that takes bus ridership beyond the affordable range of many
users. There is a need for a public policy to keep bus fares within the affordable range of the
urban majority and design targeted subsidy for poor as well as cross subsidy from higher taxes
on cars.
Car owners enjoy enormous hidden subsidies in Indian cities. The cars do not pay
adequately for the usage of road space. At the same time, they use up expensive real estate for
parking for a pittance. If parking charges are adjusted to reflect the cost of investment of parking
structure or the cost of real estate, then each car owner would have to pay several times over the
current rates. For instance, in Delhi if parking charges are fixed to reflect the cost of investment of
parking structure in the area governed by the New Delhi Municipal Council, then each car owner
would have to pay a minimum of Rs 30 to Rs 40 per parking space per hour. This can also work
effectively as a travel demand management measure. Instead currently, the parking charges are
Rs 10 per hour. This is a subsidy for parking.
Car parking is competing for public space. It is ironical that a car is allotted 23 sq m of land for
parking when structured parking is built. But under the low cost housing scheme of the Delhi
government only 18 sq m is allotted to poor families. The car owning minority is using up more
and more road space and urban space but without paying the full costs. Cities need to rationalize
transportation taxes and develop travel demand management measures to cut car travel.
Weak policies on walking and cycling and weak mandate on equitable distribution of road
space: Non-motorised transport and walking are zero emitters, allow more equitable, and efficient
use of public/road space, improves social equity, these are crucial access points to public
transport, saves car trips, fuels and money. But there is a complete policy disdain when it comes
to addressing these modes of transport.
Emissions and energy management in the transportation sector will have to address equitable
distribution of road space according to road users. Data in Delhi shows that 34 per cent of all trips
in Delhi are walk trips. Cycling and cycle rickshaws meet as much as 15 per cent of the travel
needs – five times more than the metro. Non-motorised travel will have to be promoted with
adequate and appropriate infrastructure that ensures safety, directness, and attractiveness of the
Non-motorised transport routes. Some cities like Delhi are developing Non-motorised transport
policies and street guidelines. This is an opportunity to minimise modal conflict with high speed
motorized traffic through segregation of lanes, design standards, traffic volume reduction and
safety measures.
A study carried out by CAI Asia for 30 Indian cities in 2008 shows that a minimal increase of 5 per
cent mode share of pedestrians can contribute to as much as 10 per cent reduction in daily CO2
emissions in an Indian city. But the walkability assessment carried out by CSE in Delhi in 2009
shows very poor infrastructure and investments.
Para transit and pollution dilemma: Para transit meets the requirement of the low income
groups best in terms of fares, frequency and flexibility. This also leads to job creation based on
small capacity vehicles. This will have to be integrated with the larger public transport paradigm.
These are extremely suitable in cities where the distance of most of our travel trips fall below 4-5
km. Even buses are not convenient for such short distances. But para transit has also become
the target of environmental activism for being very polluting. Delhi for instance has frozen their
Three-wheelers have therefore been an important target of the CNG conversion programme to
reduce its pollution impacts. But this has also been criticized as anti-poor as the cost of
conversion for the three-wheeler owners was seen as harsh. But technology innovation and clean
fuel programme for this segment is essential to cut emissions that also harm the health of the
poor. The concern over costs can be addressed with fiscal measures as was directed by the
Supreme Court in Delhi.
Given the growing awareness regarding the role of the para transit in meeting the mobility needs
Delhi is now looking at the possibility of lifting the freeze on the three wheeler numbers but with
conditional reforms. The reform package include -- three-wheeler drivers are to get public service
vehicle badge and smart cards; GPS connectivity to improve the meters and compliance; In-use
vehicle fitness and emission testing systems; and plans to integrate with mass transit system.
Auto industry is expected to do more product diversification and initiate technology improvement
in this segment, introduced models on clean fuels, CNG, LPG and battery operated models etc.
This is an opportunity to upgrade this segment and retain its advantages. This segment has the
potential to keep the emissions per passenger vehicle km low as well as the carbon foot print
The most significant element of the para transit is the non-motorised cycle rickshaws that are the
major victim of the middle class disdain. In most cities public policies are working against them.
In Delhi there was a move remove all of them. The High Court had to intervene to prevent that
and ask for a cycle rickshaw policy. Not only such measures disrupt livelihood of the poor but also
put at risk clean mode of transport. GTZ’s assessment of this issue in South Asia shows that in
Dhaka the executive order to ban cycle rickshaws from some streets had reduced the monthly
income of the rickshaw pullers by as much as 32 per cent and food intake of the families by 36
per cent. At the same time the travel costs had increased by about 9 per cent. This clearly shows
that the policy failure to integrate the zero emitters with the transportation regime of the city
creates more road space for the oil guzzlers and emitting cars.
Transport reforms for clean air and climate may further marginalize the poor: Both clean air
and mobility management policies are creating pressure for transport reforms and scaling up of
formal and high-end public transport system. Cities are also under pressure to garner resources
to fund these high end transportation systems. Urban renewal mission has even prescribed ways
of mobilizing resources – through taxes, tax on property development across transit routes, land
value capture, and leveraging of the land bank available through liberal property development.
This may have serious implications for the poor if these steps are taken without proper regulatory
safeguards. There are concerns that higher land and housing values will limit affordable housing
units for low income groups and chronically poor groups near transit; and potentially stifle
development of affordable or mixed-income housing projects. This has the risk of urban
transportation projects becoming heavily dependent on the real estate development at the cost of
the poor and may shift focus from the objective of social equity. Therefore, regulations and
safeguards must attach primacy to inclusionary zoning regulations and mandatory affordable
housing. Otherwise, the captive users of public transport may be pushed out of the zone of
influence and defeat the purpose of increasing public transport ridership.
Already urban planning is pushing the poor to the urban periphery and disrupting their livelihood,
increasing travel distances and costs. . A study carried out by D Mahadevia of Centre for Urban
Equity of CEPT university, Ahmedabad shows that increased dislocation and relocation of urban
poor because of urban projects is increasing economic stress. The review of consumption
expenditure shows that the share of transport cost in the household budget has increased
significantly for the bottom 50 per cent of the population. The expenditure share in education and
health has stagnated (Table 2: Consumption expenditure change)
Table 2: Consumption expenditure change
1993-94 2004-05
Item Bottom 50% Top 50% Bottom 50% Top 50% Real growth
Conveyance 2.0 5.6 3.3 7.6 5.3
Rent 2.3 4.8 3.0 6.6 3.0
Consumer tax 0.4 0.6 0.7 0.9 6.1
and cess
Education 2.1 5.0 2.8 5.8 3.2
Medical 3.5 5.0 3.9 5.6 1.5
Food 67.0 50.1 56.8 37.8 -0.8
Non-food 33.0 49.9 43.2 62.2 3.2
Total 100 100 100 100 0.7
Source: Darshini Mahadevia 2010, Inclusive transport, paper presented at the workshop on
promoting low carbon transport in India, (CEPT University), New Delhi, November 12
Transportation costs of the relocated urban poor are increasing mainly because the distance is
increasing their dependence on motorized travel. This is also adversely affecting their modal
share. A study carried out by the TRIPP in slums of Delhi that were relocated because of the
Metro project brings this out more clearly. Share of walking and cycling declines in the relocated
slums and their use of bus increases. This also adds to the cost of travel. Metro does not benefit
either the slums that are located close to the metro line or those that are relocated. Those who
live close to the metro line in any case cannot afford Metro and also denied other affordable
The study has found that for the majority of the poor in the relocated slum the cycling distance
has increased from 3.27 km to 7.29 km. Bus distance has increased from 4.7 km to 14.68 km.
Journey time has further increased due to reduced frequency of bus service from 5 minutes to 63
minutes. In fact, the average distance to bus-stop, school and urban services that was 0.1 Km,
0.7 Km and 1.8 Km respectively in the previous location the status changed to 0.3 Km, 0.62 Km
and 6 Km at the relocated site (Table 3: Impact of metro project on the modal share of the
relocated slums)
Land use accessibility has deteriorated as distance to education, health service, and other urban
services have increased for 52 to 63 per cent of the household respectively. Overall the number
of trips for the poor has increased. This has serious economic implications as close to a quarter
of their income is normally spent on travel.
As a result of the relocation, usage of non-motorised transport, zero emission transportation, is
under stress. In fact, the non-motorised vehicle use has declined for as much as 59 per cent of
the households in the relocated slums. This clearly brings out that even the urban mass transport
projects that are otherwise promoted for sustainability, cannot be inclusive and affordable.
Ironically, they may affect the poor adversely. These studies bring out quite clearly that poor are
not the expected beneficiaries of the high end transportation projects like metro, but they face
enormous dis-benefits due to the project, also because commensurate investments are not made
in their modes o transport.
Table 3: Impact of metro project on the modal share of the relocated slums
Slum near Metro Slum relocated due to metro
Change in modal Before After Before After
Walking 77.99 77.96 79.94 74.86
Cycle 3.95 4.00 5.66 3.29
Rickshaws and 8.57 8.71 4.17 1.23
Bus 8.16 7.21 9.79 19.51
Three-wheeler 0.88 0.75 0.26 0.48
Metro 0.00 0.41 0 0
Car 0.34 0.34 0.15 0.03
RTV 0.14 0.62 0 0.21
Train 0 0 0 0.34
Source: Geetam Tiwari 2007, Urban Transport Planning, Symposium on the problem of urban
transport, Seminar November 2007
Increasingly now the transport planners are pointing towards the increased conflict between the
interest of the poor and the transport and habitat planning. Middle class environmentalism is
pushing high end mass transport systems that is often exclusive in nature and pushes out the
poor from the planning process. A recent review by the CEPT has shown that Ahmedabad BRT
has displaced nearly 2000 vendors endangering their livelihood. This has a serious implication
given the fact a large number of urban workers work on the streets. In fact 70 per cent of the
urban workers in India work in the informal sectors in the cities. Transport design will have to find
ways of integrating them.
The public policy and investments are pushing cities to move towards high end mass rapid transit
systems as part of the solution to climate and pollution. But public policy is weak on the hierarchy
of public transport systems network needed to meet the movement network needs of the people
in the city at a different level of hierarchy -- buses, para transit, walking and cycling. This will
create imbalance and hurt not only the poor of the city but also the larger sustainability goals of
the city. In Delhi for instance, metro meets 5 per cent of the travel demand as opposed to 15 per
cent by cycles and cycle rickshaws. But investments are not geared to address the larger share
of non-motorised transport.
Public policy therefore will have to integrate with land-use and shelter policies of the city with the
public transport projects. These projects must not exclude and relocate poor of the city. The
CEPT study has found that there are many slum clusters along all the proposed BRT lines in
Ahmedabad. But their assessment has also shown that enough public land is available along the
network that can be used for inclusive land based policy. (Mahadevia 2010). The policy support
for this is likely to come from the shelter policies like the Rajiv Awaas Yojana that proposes 85
percent slums to be taken up for in-situ development to minimise dislocations.

Map: Slums along BRT corridor in Ahmedabad. Include them in the planning
Ahmedabad – Location of Slums and chawls

Naroda village

Sola RoB


Iscon circle M emnagar Thakkarbapanagar

Bopal Kalupur Rly.
Nehrunagar Soni ni chaali
M aninagar Rly. stn,.
Shreyas RoB


Narol BRT

Source: Darshini Mahadevia, CEPT, 2010

Poor, transport and climate adaptation: With increased incidence of extreme climatic episodes
Indian cities will need resilient transport infrastructure and design. The extreme weather events
like Mumbai floods, rainy months of 2009 in Delhi bear out the importance of such in-built
resilience especially in the neighbourhoods of the poor.. Mobility plans will have to reflect these
new challenges and evaluate the impacts of climate vagaries on transportation systems and
network access, options for design adaptation and potential costs. An evaluation of adaptation
measures in the transport sector bears out that well designed public transport and NMT will play
an important role in adaptation – both for access and evacuation. Clearly, transport system will
have to work for all. It should be clean, climate proof, pro-poor and affordable.
Is the emerging policy framework on transport, energy and climate sensitive towards poor? Over
the last few years we have seen a plethora of national policies addressing the issue of transport,
climate and energy. A cursory glance at them shows that they have begun to include poverty
The National Climate Action Plan, the umbrella policy to guide climate action in India
acknowledges that “protecting the poor and vulnerable sections of the society through an
inclusive and sustainable development strategy, sensitive to climate change’ is needed. As poor
are resource poor they are also most vulnerable to climate change. The eight missions under
this policy that includes Habitat Mission with public transport as one of its agenda is expected to
address this.
Integrated Energy Policy 2006 states that India needs to sustain 8 to 10 per cent economic
growth over the next 25 years if it has to eradicate poverty and meet human development goals.
But this policy is heavily biased towards high end urban resource intensive mass transport and
improvement in fuel efficiency of the vehicle fleet as a solution to reducing energy consumption in
the transport sector. While these strategies are a part of the solution, this does not integrate the
full range of inclusive planning – the non-motorised transport of the poor and pro-poor land-use
planning as a means of strengthening India’s energy security.
It now remains to be seen if the National urban Transport Policy (NUTP) which is the umbrella
policy for guiding policy action and investments in cities on mobility and transport has the
potential for creating the defining framework for inclusive planning. . The NUTP acknowledges
that the transport planning will have to be people centric and not vehicle centric. It recognizes that
the cost of travel for poor has increased considerably; use of non-motorised transport for them is
now more unsafe; and their distance from livelihood has increased. It states that if these are not
remedied for the poor mobility can become a major dampener to economic growth and cause
quality of life to deteriorate. But NUTP currently is weak on the para transit and also on the needs
of active restraints on car usage. These components need to be further strengthened to make the
inclusive planning more effective.
The NUTP also guides the investment strategies under the national funding under the Jawaharlal
Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. This is a reform based funding scheme that requires
cities to implement mandatory reforms in the transport sector. If the infrastructure investments
and schemes are leveraged based on the NUTP principles the transport sector can be
transformed substantially and made sustainable for all. Cities are already required to prepare a
comprehensive mobility plan that will include the key strategies for sustainable mobility.
Despite the national policies integrating pro-poor elements the funding under the urban
renewable mission is not pegged to poor friendly transportation infrastructure. Cities have
received a reform based grant to purchase buses under the JNNURM programme. This one time
stimulus package for buses is tied to conditional reforms in the transport sector in cities. This
initiative of the Ministry of Urban Development is a catalyst to scale up urban investment in cities
across states by way of integrating the reform initiatives at the state and city level. The city
governments will have to initiate institutional reforms for public transport management and
implementation, create dedicated funds from revenues from a variety of heads including higher
taxes on personal vehicles and diesel cars, implement parking policy as a car restraint measure,
use advertisement policy for revenue, reform bus sector for more efficient delivery, make land-
use changes among others. Due to the urgency of the stimulus package buses have been bought
even before the reforms could be implemented. As a result, the conditional reforms have not
been implemented. Only a small beginning has been made.
A quick analysis of the 524 projects sanctioned until the beginning of this year under the
JNNURM programme, shows that a quarter of all projects are transport related. Within that the
investment is heavily biased towards road infrastructure followed by mass transport. More than
71 per cent of the transport related JNNURM projects are road related projects (Graph 13: Share
of type of transportation projects in the transport sector under JNNURM). There is barely any
investment in cycling and walking infrastructure. The cities are yet to demonstrate policy
seriousness about the implementation of pedestrian friendly infrastructure, bi–cycle lanes and
public transport infrastructure and prioritization of these modes over personal modes.

Graph 13: Share of type of transportation projects in the transport sector under JNNURM
Urban transport projects - segment wise distribution

Road Related Projects Mass Transit Parking Other transport




Source: Centre for Science an Environment

So far JNNURM funding has remained heavily dependent on road infrastructure and in some
cases high end bus system. This has neglected non-motorised transport, as well as para-transit
system, mainly the informal system. This needs strong policy recognition and support. Cities
should focus on developing both its formal and informal mode of transportation including non-
motorised transportation linkages in an integrated way and not one at the cost of the other.
Due to the policy confusion over para-transit cities are beginning to see the conflict between
formal and informal public transport systems as well as motorized and non-motorised transport.
Cities are quite misguided about para transit like three-wheelers. In some cities para transit
vehicles are being curtailed on key routes to make way for the formal bus systems. This
competition for road space and passengers is destructive. If these small informal systems are
destroyed it will not only disadvantage the low income groups but also force others to use
personal vehicles for even short distances and escalate energy guzzling and emissions. Cities
like Kanpur are trying to remove the para transit to make way for the big buses. But this is most
inappropriate in the city where the average distance of travel trips are just about 2-3 kms. Even
buses are not appropriate for such a distance range. Instead of reorganizing the para transit as
effective feeder for the bus transport and link all neighbourhoods efficiently, the city is trying to
curtail para transit services. This can be detrimental to climate and public health goals as
destruction of para transit for small distances can increase dependence on polluting two-wheelers
and energy intensive cars.
Also most Indian cities fair poor in ‘service accessibility index’, -- percentage of work trips in
accessible within 15 minutes – compared to other big cities. This perhaps points out lack of
facilities for easy transfers between different modes and connectivity through non-motorised
lanes and supportive infrastructure for walking. The City Development Plans prepared to guide
the JNNURM funding investment in cities in their vision for traffic and transportation often miss
out the non-motorised transport network or are very cosmetic. Many of these plans have set the
target of increasing the modal share of public transport to 75-80 percent by 2021. But can cities
attain such high levels of public transport usage without supporting walking, and cycling,

It might surprise many that India does have a plethora of laws and bye laws related to road
safety, road infrastructure, pedestrian protection, and urban planning that have bearing on
pedestrians and non-motorised infrastructure. A range of rules and guidelines converge at the city
level but its implementation remains uncoordinated and ineffective. There are rules for motorist
under the Central Motor Vehicles Act to prevent them from causing accidents and harm to
pedestrians. This Act even bars motorists from entering pedestrian space but this is rarely
enforced. Motorists are liable to punishable offence, yet it is not enforced as a strong enough
deterrent. Existing engineering guidelines from the Indian Road congress are inadequate and do
not meet the full range of pedestrian needs. Master plans have begun to include provisions for
pedestrian protection and pedestrianisation. But these provisions run parallel to the priority
accorded to planning for extensive car centric infrastructure. But laws are fragmented and do not
add up to an integrated framework to promote pedestrianisation or protect pedestrians and
pedestrian rights with any degree of stringency.

Under the JNNURM all cities with more than a million population are required to develop their
respective city development plans (CDP) to identify the infrastructure projects that can be eligible
for central and state assistance. A cursory review of the CDPs of some cities shows that
pedestrian infrastructure is being planned as part of the overall road infrastructure. This helps to
channelise funding. CDPs however need to move beyond footpaths along motorized corridors to
a larger vision for pedestrianisation in cities linked with public transport. National mandate can
help to catalyse city based action.

The Union ministry of urban development has issued policy circulars and advisories in 2007
asking for Comprehensive Mobility Plan with focus on mobility of people and priority to
pedestrianisation and public transport. Relevant laws will have to be harmonised and combined
with more direct legal protection of pedestrian space and rights. Indian laws lack this integrated
approach and even the policy conviction that pedestrianisation will require strong legal back up
and enforcement strategies. Pedestrians do not count in the decision on walk space. Erosion of
pedestrian space does not lead to any penalty on the city developers and planners. Cycle Design
Guidelines must also be finalized and made mandatory for all new road infrastructures in the city.

Mainstreaming pro-poor planning will help to scale up the captive travel modes of the poor that
are more carbon neutral to the choice of modes for all. This will reorient transport infrastructure
and services towards low carbon transport. In addition to achieving equity based growth this will
also avoid carbon lock up in the transport infrastructure. At the same time equity based urban
mobility will ensure diverse livelihood choices for the urban poor, make labour market more
efficient and de risk poor from the growing uncertainties in the changing climate. But maximising
such gains will require strong and focussed public policy.

Both national and state level policies on transportation and clean air have already begun to push
cities to frame mobility and clean air action plans. Some cities like Ahmedabad have begun to
develop local climate action plans as well. Some of the city clean air and mobility action plans
including the city master plan as that of Delhi and Pune have begun to incorporate targets for air
pollution reduction and increase in modal share for public transport. City plans are an opportunity
to protect and expand the current share of walking and cycling, use of intermediate public
transport and affordable bus transport in Indian cities and there integration. Keeping the urban
form compact and dense is critical to reduce vehicles miles traveled. Also shelter policies for the
poor must be interlinked with inclusive land-use policies to reduce distance of travel.

The roadmap for inclusive mobility planning

Need walking and cycling cities: This needs redevelopment of the city core, with enhanced
basic services and facilities focusing on the disadvantaged to avoid urban sprawl and exclusion.
Non-motorised and para transit network are more compatible with the densely built city design
and form. Improved access through short non-motorised trips will benefit not just the
transportation and location disadvantaged poor people in the city but also the entire urban
community. Walking and biking infrastructure can enhance and augment the ridership of the
public transport as well. For instance, at a global level the Dutch cities have succeeded in scaling
up of the walking and cycling infrastructure that has helped to reverse the automobile
dependency. In cities like Houten the citizens use cycles twice as much than cars as a choice.
More than half all visits to the shops in the city centre are made by cycles. India will now have to
target to make the captive use of sustainable modes of transport to the transport of choice.
Improved and affordable access in cities will offer more livelihood choices, bring greater efficiency
in the labour market and contribute to the overall wellbeing of the cities.

• Pedestrian policy: City plans must include pedestrian policy to improve accessibility and
safety, and to make walkways walkable, comfortable, disable friendly, enhance aesthetics
and ecological regeneration of the public space. The overall road design should allow
pedestrians to have the most direct route. Some universal design measures must be laid
down and must be adhered to. Currently, diverse regulations provide for the pedestrians --
reform provisions under the JNNURM programme; City Master Plans that provide for
pedestrian space; municipal laws to protect and maintain pedestrian space; motor vehicle
laws on safety rules; Police on penalty and compliance strategies and so on. These disparate
laws should be harmonized and strengthened for an effective pedestrian policy in cities. Delhi
has taken the lead to adopt pedestrian guidelines that are now mandatory for approval of
road projects. This can be replicated across cities.

• Walkability and safety audits: Link new investments in roads to strict quality control and
stringent implementation of the pedestrian guidelines. Cities need zero tolerance for
accidents. The local authority will have to establish criteria and benchmarks for walkability
audits and supervise and monitor pedestrian infrastructure based on benchmarks. Approval
and clearance of all road projects should make adherence to pedestrian guidelines

• Cycle policy: Cities need time bound implementation of mandatory Cycle Design
Guidelines for all new road infrastructures and integration of non-motorised transport with
public transport. Incentivise cycling with cycling rental and sharing, on-street cycle parking
especially in targeted areas of high usage and also close to pedestrian zones and
transportation hubs. Provide for cycles in the parking standards for new buildings, residences,
for long and short-term parking at Metro and bus stations, markets, public transport
interchanges and other high usage areas. Audit of cycling infrastructure and usage should be
made mandatory. A bicycle master plan as prepared for Delhi should be replicated in other
cities as well.

• Intermediate public transport and Cycle rickshaw policy: Cities need a policy for
para transit integration as well as that for cycle rickshaws. Studies in India such as those
carried out by the Hazard Centre have also shown high usage of non-motorised transport for
informal freight movement and waste disposal in cities. Delhi is expected to come up with a
cycle rickshaw policy soon. It is important to reform their deployment strategies and upgrade
their services. This along with cycles has the potential to expand the catchment of the public
transport modes as well. This can prevent growth of energy intensive travel modes like cars.

Bus policy and integration for more inclusive planning: Inclusive planning requires affordable
bus service. With growing travel distances in cities dependence of the poor on the bus transport
is growing which is adding to their transportation costs. Cities are also under pressure to reform
and modernize their bus sector as a means to reduce emissions. Capital investments are
expected to increase to expand the bus fleet and phase in high end technologies. As a result, the
Indian cities are under pressure to increase bus fares to augment revenue. Fare box revenues
are determined by fare level, fare structure and the extent of cross subsidy. But it is also
accepted in the realm of transport planning that it is usually not possible to meet the full operating
costs of the bus service from the user fare as the fare then will have to be set at a higher level
than what is politically and socially acceptable, and may work against the interest of public
transport usage. Therefore cities need targeted subsidies – discount rate for poor etc. and fair
fare policy, to ensure that the poor are not adversely affected. .Tax on cars should be rationalized
to off set the costs.

Need restraints on car usage to reduce pollution and congestion as well as ensure more
equitable distribution of road space.
Enforce parking controls, rationalize taxes on cars and make way for congestion
charging. Globally, cities are freeing up road space from cars. They are making car park
prohibitive; adding high premium to car ownership; exacting dues for entering prime busy
areas; only allowing a fraction of them on roads at a time; or just not allowing them in the
city centre. They are also giving people more options to cars. This is also needed for
more equitable distribution of road space. People are more sensitive to the direct cost of
driving and this forces them to take decision to reduce car usage and move to
alternatives. Congestion tax and good public transport have helped central London and

Limit car infrastructure: Hong Kong and Tokyo have more restricted car infrastructure
in terms of wide roads and parking facilities. Even though Tokyo has one of the highest
car ownership in Asia – 350 cars per 1000 people the share of car trips in Tokyo is 29 per
cent – much less than Singapore. Despite high car ownership Tokyo provides less
parking slots – only 0.5 slots per 100 sq meters in commercial buildings. But Delhi with
85 cars per 1000 people provides 2-3 parking slots per 100 sq meters. Experience from
round the world shows that parking controls, parking pricing along with taxes top the list
as the first generation car restraint measures world wide. Indian cities including Delhi
have begun to prepare parking policy but this must include parking controls and pricing to
dampen car usage.

Tax measures to fund public transport, non-motorised and clean vehicles: Indian
cities are looking at ways to build urban transport funds and must tap the revenue
streams from congestion charges and restraint taxes. . National Urban Transport Policy
and the reform agenda of the JNNURM along with the state level transportation and
clean air action plans provide for travel demand management measures to reduce
dependence on cars. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban development has also
proposed congestion reduction strategies and pricing. Some cities have begun to
experiment with green taxes – increasing taxes on older vehicles; environment cess on
diesel sold in Delhi to create Air Ambience Fund; tax cuts for clean fuels and technology
etc. Cities need time bound action plan to make pro-people and pro-poor policy a reality
for environmental gains.

Eliminate subsidies to the car owners and recover full cost of externality: Cities
need policies on travel demand management measures for personal vehicle users to
reflect the true cost of congestion, more fuel usage and other externality. India’s urban
renewal mission for instance has already recommended formation of dedicated urban
transport funds by tapping revenue from additional levy on petrol, registration fees, for
personal vehicles, surcharge on annual renewal fee on driving license, and vehicle
registration, congestion tax, etc. This will have to be accelerated. These reforms will also
help to build political support to divert infrastructure investments from car centric road
network to more sustainable transport services and protect the interest of the poor.

Bring jobs and home close: Policy documents are now increasingly talking about compact city
with increased density and policies for transit oriented development. This can reduce travel
distances, dependence on motorized travel for shorter distances, increase public transport
ridership, reduce congestion, and create well planned open spaces. The crux of the matter is that
the Indian cities have traditionally enjoyed good density and mixed land use that have integrated
the poor in the city largely through informal settlements. The new focus on redevelopment will
have to evolve organically from this. If the transit oriented development policies for new
development are not planned well with social equity as its focus it can hurt the poor, and the
urban majority.

This issue is expected to come to the forefront with more city governments planning for capital
intensive public transport systems. Already the JNNURM urban reform process is pushing for
capturing of land value gains for public investment for capital financing of mass transport in our
cities. This can generate revenue upfront for large scale investments and has enormous revenue
potential for capital funding of large high cost mass transport. However, cities need a regulatory
framework to ensure adequate regulatory safeguards for poor in the city. Higher land and housing
values generally tend to limit affordable housing units for lower-income households. This has the
risk of urban transportation projects becoming heavily dependent on the real estate development.
This may shift focus from the core transport and social objectives. Therefore, regulations and
safeguards must attach primacy to the urban transport and social equity component. Without the
safeguards the captive users of public transport may be pushed out of the zone of influence and
defeat the purpose of improving non-motorised transport and public transport ridership. It is
important that the Rajiv Awas Yojana for the housing of the poor people has already proposed
that at least 85 per cent of the slum development in cities should be done in-situ to minimize
dislocation of the poor.

Land value gains and other taxes should be earmarked for the non-motorised transport
infrastructure as well to meet their transition costs. Cities also need climate resilient design
standards and urban planning that will prevent settlements especially low income settlements in
high risk areas etc.
Technology roadmap and in-use emissions management to protect public health and
reduce energy impacts of motorisation: If vehicle technology solutions and innovations are
also made more sensitive to the special vulnerability of the poor to polluted air larger public good
can be achieved in terms of public health protection. This can also lead to energy saving and de-
risk poor. These initiatives should also be directly linked with the mandatory compliance with the
ambient air quality standards.

New vehicles: The Auto Fuel Policy in India needs to account for the health cost of the
poor and the urban majority, to draw up a stringent policy on clean vehicle and fuels. The
country now needs to set the timeline for uniform introduction of Euro IV and Euro V/VI
across the country. Until then discourage shift of light duty vehicles from petrol to diesel
and unless the advanced diesel technologies are introduced. All new diesel vehicles must
be equipped with “state of the art” pollution controls, which included advanced PM filters
and advanced NOx aftertreatment. These systems must be designed to reduce PM
mass, and the number of ultrafine particles by over 90 percent. Sulfur levels in all diesel
fuel should be rapidly reduced to a maximum of 10 to 15 parts per million in order to
reduce PM emissions from the diesel fleet and to maximize the benefits of advanced
diesel technologies.

The technology roadmap must also address the unique challenge of motorized two-and
three wheelers that are also among the mode of transport of the low income groups in
cities. These are very space and energy efficient vehicles – with one of the smallest
carbon footprint amongst the motorized vehicles. But these are still not amongst the
cleanest and may emit more noxious local air pollutants than a new car. Given their sheer
numbers it is important to push this technology with more stringent emissions standards
to retain its energy savings gains. The challenge is to improve the technology levels and
yet keep it within the affordable range.

It is equally important to include technology roadmap for the non-motorised transport like
the cycle rickshaws and bicycles. Considerable technology upgradation is already
underway in India. But this needs composite policy to make R&D more conducive and

In-use vehicles: Cities also need a range of strategies to reduce in-use emissions from
the on-road fleet to cut the toxic risks. Strengthen and expand the inspection and
maintenance strategies and annual fitness and roadworthiness tests for the commercial
vehicles and extend this to the personal vehicles as well: Currently, the personal vehicles
are required to come for their first fitness tests only after completing 15 years. The
enforcement regime and the design of the emissions inspection of the in-use fleet should
be reformed with improved standards, strong implementation strategy, quality audits, and
repair facilities. Well maintained vehicles can also improve fuel efficiency of the vehicles.

Rerouting of the transit traffic away from the city core will be an important strategy to
reduce truck related pollution in cities.

It is still possible to ensure higher fleet turnover if taxes on older vehicles and old
generation technologies like pre-Euro I, Euro I and Euro II technologies are increased
linearly with age. Some cities like Bangalore and Chennai have begun to impose green
taxes on older cars. This can disincentivise old vehicles and stimulate higher turn over.
Revenue from this tax can also be used for augmentation of public transport which is an
integral part of the low car carbon growth path. Industry can offer buy back package with
reduced rates etc to targeted cars and two-wheelers. Industry need to bear the cost of
this programme as part of its corporate social responsibility.

Need institutional reforms to mainstream and implement inclusive policies. Indian cities
are now moving towards forming unified transport authorities for more integrated planning
and implementation. This should enable assessment of mobility needs of the poor and
adoption of pro-poor policies and strategies.
Inclusive transport under the global climate regime: Indian government has communicated
that it will aim to voluntarily reduce the overall emissions intensity of its GDP (excluding the
agriculture sector) by 20-25 percent by 2020 in comparison to 2005 levels. This coupled with the
scope of the National Climate Action Plan sets the terms for action on climate mitigation. The
sustainable mobility objectives will have to be achieved within this carbon constrained world while
cities also strive to meet the clean air standards and public health goals.
It is still not clear how low carbon transport can be enabled under the global climate regime.
Transport is still not recognised as the key sector of mitigation. Financial mechanism has not
worked for low carbon transport so far. Clean development mechanism has been able to reduce
less than 1 per cent of emissions from the transport sector. The reasons include difficulty to prove
additionality or prove change because of the project; transport emissions are widely dispersed;
and the carbon funds are too small for the total cost of transport project.
Solutions to many of these dilemma can be found in the programmatic approach for investments
and planning in cities that allows a number of similar projects for scale and impact. Only this can
create opportunities to integrate carbon neutral trips of the urban poor, make global development
assistance more equity based. It will enable a range of technical and non-technical interventions
including land-use planning, urban form, travel demand management measures, and
infrastructure for non-motorised transport. Assessments in India have shown that road and rail
based urban sprawl will escalate mitigation costs enormously in India. But compact city combined
with affordable non-motorised transport and bus based system will cut costs enormously. The
comparatively higher share of carbon neutral trips provides the window of opportunity to the world
to avert the tipping point.
At the same time policies need to focus on strengthening the resilience of the transport
infrastructure to fence the vulnerable poor against extreme climatic events. Mobility plans will
have to reflect these new challenges and evaluate the impacts of climate vagaries on
transportation systems and access, and look at the options for designing adaptation strategies
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