India will have 450 million cars 20 years from now | Cover Story | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Mission admission
    July 13, 2013
    The news of a member stumping up over a crore for entry to Mumbai’s Breach Candy club only proves that the allure of private clubs still holds…
  • High on gloss, low on airs
    July 13, 2013
    As older establishments close their doors, premium clubs offering state-of-the-art facilities and personalised service open for upwardly mobile…
  • A rare mix
    July 13, 2013
    Getting membership into this 118-year-old club - once the estate of the deposed Tipu Sultan exiled to Calcutta - is no easy task.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy

India will have 450 million cars 20 years from now


Urban transport planner N Ranganathan sees dark days ahead for the country’s already choking roads. He tells TOI-Crest that our government may just have woken up too late to the crisis.

Will our cities someday come to a halt?

Looking at the growing number of vehicles on Indian roads and the inadequate capacity to accommodate traffic, they just might. A recent estimate says the total number of vehicles in India will be 400-450 million in the next 20 years or so. Now we have nearly 60-70 million. Most of these vehicles will come to the cities. There will be efforts to face the situation though these will not be enough. For example, Delhi got the Metro. All cities are getting flyovers and new roads are also being built. However, the quality of service will fall, speed will reduce and total travel time will be more. Besides, there'll be greater risk of accidents. While the demand (for roads) is already accelerating, supply is crawling. Look out for more cases of road rage.

What went wrong in our policy? And this is even after we became aware quite early of the role transport and mobility plays in economic activity and growth.

Initially, urban planning did not get proper attention. The second Five Year Plan focused on development of backward areas. This was because a majority of leaders then were from rural areas. But, as it came to light in subsequent years that urbanisation was contributing to GDP in a big way, things started to change. The Third Plan focused on creating a master plan for cities.

Subsequent Plans put emphasis on urban development, but it was more about constructing flats and developing areas for meeting the housing demand. Then the automobile boom hit the country. While vehicle ownership kept rising in cities, improvement of road networks got little importance. This led to chaos in cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kanpur, Lucknow and Kolkata.

However, Mumbai managed to face this as the railways there were forced to play a key role in public transport. But the railways did not take up the same task in other cities. They shied away from this responsibility despite the fact that railway lines pass through all cities across the country.

Are future cities learning from experiences of mega cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata so far as transport planning is concerned?

Not really. Government and authorities are focusing only on making cities commercially viable. Agencies focus more on sellable land. When commercial viability becomes the priority, less space is kept for cities' transport needs. At least 20 per cent of total land in any city should be reserved for transportation needs. Delhi is still moving despite having the highest concentration of vehicles because nearly 15 per cent of its land was kept for roads. In Kolkata, it's only 6 per cent. We can imagine what would have been the traffic situation in Kolkata if it had vehicles like Delhi does.

What should be the focus of already crowded cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and also those emerging as major urban centres?

The world over, all cities have undergone the same cycle of growth, saturation and revival. Recent surveys and estimates suggest that the growth of Indian cities will stabilise in the next 20-30 years. But there will be more problems and challenges for city managers in the next two decades as they try to meet growing transportation demands. There has to be more focus on improving public transport and strengthening the bus system should be a priority. In cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, we need to have dedicated elevated corridors for buses and public transport so that they don't halt at traffic junctions. This will reduce private vehicles on roads and will encourage people to shift to public transport. The Metro service is another major solution, but we must understand that this is an expensive proposition. There is a need to strengthen intermediary public transport (IPT) - auto-rickshaws and taxis. Auto-rickshaw is the best alternative to private transport if authorities manage them properly. You don't need to create parking space for them and it works like private vehicles, from your home to workplace or any other destination.

Reader's opinion (2)

Kiran MehtaAug 12th, 2012 at 14:51 PM

A vehicle for every 3rd person in 20 years? Sounds far-fetched. Policies eg BRTS, dedicated 2-wheeler lanes, peak-hours Congestion charges etc in existing metros; Making non-metros more attractive for quality of life (jobs, schools, hospitals, entertainment, connectivity etc.) could be the solution.

Amit Srivastava Feb 3rd, 2011 at 00:03 AM

It's so unfortunate that it years to build a highway in india

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik |


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service