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

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Role of Intermediate Public Transport in Indian Cities

Policymakers must recognise the intermediate public transport systems like autorickshaws and private buses which provide transport services where city bus and other mass transit systems cannot meet the dynamic demands of urban residents. Integrating these intermediate systems with various mass transit systems is essential to meet urban India's transport challenges.

India’s urban population is expected to increase from 377 million in 2011 to approximately 600 million by 2030. The country currently has approximately 468 cities with a population of more than 1,00,000 inhabitants (Census 2012b). The sustainable development of these cities depends on developing safe and low-carbon transport systems which provide access to the required goods, services and activities for all citizens. However, serious backlogs exist in urban transport infrastructure in most cities. The lack of efficient public transport combined with inadequate access infrastructure are resulting in users looking for alternative means of mobility, including an increased use of private vehicles, leading to further deterioration of air quality, reduced traffic safety, and increasing congestion on roads (Pucher et al 2005; Wilbursmith 2008). Many small- and medium-sized Indian cities are still low on per capita incomes and vehicle ownership rates compared to many developed and developing economies. As a result, usage of personal cars and two-wheelers is still prohibitively expensive for large sections of the society, who still rely on public transport (Census 2012a).

Various national-level policy initiatives have provided recommendations on the transport supply solutions to address the challenges of urban growth. These include: the National Urban Transport Policy (MoUD 2006), National Transport Development Policy, Twelfth Five Year Plan (goi 2014), National Mission on Sustainable Habitats (MoUD 2011), and the High Powered Expert Committee report on Indian urban ­infrastructure and services (HPEC 2011). One of the key recommendations that was emphasised in all the policies was the need to provide good quality public transport systems in cities. An efficient public transport system helps meet the mobility needs of a city, using fewer ­financial and energy resources, compared to private vehicle-oriented mobil­ity. It also helps in improving the public health and well-being of inhabitants by reducing pollution and improving safety on roads.

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