ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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‘Shift’ or ‘Retain’?

Achieving Sustainable Mobility

Do Indian cities need to jump into demand management for addressing urban transport woes or do we need to focus on the basics of sustainable mobility principles that target increased supply and quality of walking, cycling and public transport? Using the experiences of the cities that have experimented with similar TDM measures and Census of India's latest data on how urban population travels to work, the article makes the argument for a sustainable mobility strategy for Indian cities which targets retaining the high modal shares of walking, cycling and public transport in Indian cities.

One thing the odd–even car res­triction scheme that was successfully tried out in Delhi in January 2016 did was to popularise the concept of demand management as a solution for urban transport troubles. While already popular in cities of many developed and developing countries, the concept of transport demand management (TDM) revolves around maximising the efficiency of urban transport systems by encouraging the use of public transport, walking and cycling and discouraging the use of individual/low occupancy modes like cars. Various TDM measures ranging from pricing, regulatory, physical, and employment-level measures have been implemented in several cities around the world to arrest the uncontrolled growth and use of private automobiles. A basic thumb rule for the success of any TDM measure is the availability of an alter­native that matches the attributes of the mode that a commuter is “forced” or “incentivised” to leave. This is critical; the commuter should have/should be given an alternate modal choice that matches her/his preferences or otherwise undesired results of TDM measures should be expected in the long term as was seen, for example, in many cities that tried schemes similar to the odd–even formula of Delhi.

What Were the Results?

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