Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beijing to Delhi - Traffic Problems Highlighted

In today's Hindustan Times, June 14th, 2009, an article "From Beijing, a lesson for Delhi" highlights the traffic problems that Delhi could face if the lessons from Beijing (with six ring roads) are not taken into consideration. Delhi averaging close to 1,000 new vehicles a day and Beijing registering approximately 1,500 a day is adding to the traffic problems and the road particles are adding to the exposure to harmful pollutants and increasing health risk.

The growing number of vehicles and the demand for urban infrastructure is choking megacities of India and the growing number of secondary cities following the megacity trends.

The air quality in Delhi improved in the early 2000's due to a number of interventions, including the large scale conversion of the bus fleet and the 3 wheeler fleet from the conventional gasoline and diesel to compressed natural gas. However, the large increase in the demand for personal transport and construction activities reversed the trends.

A major intervention that Beijing and Delhi are counting on is the extension of the metro rail system, to shift the motorized transport trends to the metro rail. The expected level of shift is uncertain, which depends on a number of factors, some of which are recently discussed on the sustran listserve. An analysis conducted by UrbanEmissions.Info reveals a possible reduction of at least 7 percent in the criteria pollutant emissions in 2010, by the introduction of expanded metro rail system in Delhi, India.

The impact of air pollution on the human health and the ecosystem is increasingly been linked to the growing transport sector.

The emphasis is on the public transport. The JNNURM funds for buses and urban transport strategy of India are promoting the need for infrastructure for new buses (Tata and Ashok Leyland). A good public transport system is expected to help reduce the congestion levels, energy demand in the transport sector, and the interlinked air pollution.

No comments: