India’s rapid economic development has brought with it fast-paced urbanisation and motorisation. Growing cities bustle as millions of people go about their daily business on foot, in cars, rickshaws, motorcycles and lorries. Transport is a vital part of the urban landscape for residents and businesses, but also a source of major public health challenges, notably poor road safety and air pollution.
In October 2016 India ratified the Paris climate change agreement. Reducing India’s carbon footprint necessarily entails addressing the transport sector, which accounts for 12% of total energy-related CO2 emissions.
The inadequate development of urban transport systems in India has contributed to an increase in number of private vehicles. Without spatial planning to design efficient, compact and mixed-use urban spaces, towns and cities tend to sprawl uncontrollably. Travel distances and times are long and roads are congested with private vehicles crowding out pedestrians as well as non-motorized transport and putting urban poor at an even higher disadvantage.
GIZ is working with Indian partners at national, state and local levels to create strong institutions which can improve urban planning and promote innovative but affordable transport solutions in order to help realise India’s ‘smart cities’ vision. Mobility is an essential ingredient: better spatial planning leads to more people living closer to the jobs and services they need. Public transport and better connectivity decreases congestion and CO2 emissions, as well as improving quality of life, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable residents.