[Solved ] How is efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development of India? ( UPSC GS-1 Mains 2019)

Creating an efficient transport infrastructure in the country is one of the chief factors responsible for the takeoff of accelerated growth in the country. On account of poor quality of transport infrastructure, progress made in efficient and affordable urban mass transport would have a key role on taking India to double digit growth.

 Need of efficient and affordable urban mass transport •Nearly 31% of India’s current population lives in urban areas contributing to 63% of India’s GDP (Census 2011) and with increasing urbanization, urban areas are expected to house 40% of India’s population and contribute to 75% of India’s GDP by 2030.

 •India’s urban growth is largely concentrated in large cities which increased from 35% in 2001 to 53% in

 2011, accounting for 43% of India’s urban population, and is expected to be 87% by 2030.

 Efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development of India

 •Efficient urban mass transport system leads to saving of time and energy. This time and energy can be used for economic activities. Best example is Delhi Metro services. Not only has the affordability of transport, safety of citizens has improved a lot.

 •India has vast coastline and waterways which are still unexplored. With issues like environment and climate change, our waterways will provide efficient as well affordable transport system. Further this will provide connectivity to remote areas also; best example is waterways through Brahmaputra river which provides accessibility to north-east region.

 •Mass transport system can be further more affordable with development of new technologies. e.g. – Use of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) CNG and use of

 nuclear energy will make this more affordable. Also, this will reduce our import of fossil fuels. This will be economically more viable as well as environment friendly.

 •Mass transport provides complimentary system. It is absolutely clear that there isn’t enough space for everyone to drive a car, and the government must pivot the policy to delivering reliable public transport. The metro project is a step in the right direction, but it needs complementary changes that improve the citizens’ experience.

 •Public mass system must provide last mile connectivity -the metro system needs a bus system to provide lastmile connectivity. If people have to take buses, they need pedestrian paths to walk on the roads. The bus system also needs to be reliable.

 •Mysore has managed to achieve that because of a

 centralized monitoring system that tracks buses using GPS monitors, driving speed and ensures that they stop at every bus stop.

 Efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development of India because:

▪ Releases under-utilized urban lands: The major reasons for urban sprawl and shortage of

urban land are the fact that urban lands are not exploited to their optimal potential.

▪ Ensures sustainable urban growth: TOD curtails urban sprawl and hence reduces the strain

on existing infrastructure. This helps in achieving compact and controlled developments

within the cities, and reduces the average travel time and household spends on

transportation.

▪ Increased modal shift towards Non-Motorized Transport (NMT): creates a balanced mix of

land use through concentrated residential development at a walking distance of 500 to

800m along the transit corridor, or from the transit station.

▪ This increases ‘walkability’, encourages public transport use and also makes ‘last-mile’

options such as cycle sharing systems much more viable.

▪ Increased financial viability of transit investments: Increase in the modal shift increases

the ridership (the number of passengers using a particular form of public transport) by

improving access to transit stations through seamless connectivity. This enhances the

economic and financial viability of transit investments. It also helps in better channeling of

peak hour traffic along both directions, improving the efficiency of existing vehicle fleets.

▪ Improved quality of life: Shorter commutes result in more leisure hours, reduced pollution,

more reliable and safer public transport systems, mixed-use development, and efficient and

shared open spaces. All these add up to a significantly improved quality of life.

▪ Efficient management of infrastructure spending: In a city, most infrastructure investments

are often planned for fringe areas owing to the urban sprawl and lack of infrastructure

facilities. Infrastructure spends also need to be concentrated to benefit the core cities; it

costs less to build roads/ expressways and other physical infrastructure for the urban

sprawl. Also, transit options are first developed within city limits and later scaled to outer

areas. Effectively optimizing these spends within the city limits is critically important, and is

the perfect solution.

▪ Stable property prices and improved municipal revenues.

 • Efficient urban mass transport system lead to saving of time and energy. This time and energy can be used for economic activities. Best example is Delhi Metro services. Not only has this affordability of transport and safety of citizens improved a lot.

 • India has vast coastline and waterways which are still unexplored. With issues like environment and climate change, our waterways will provide efficient as well affordable transport system.

 Further this will provide connectivity to remote areas also; best example is waterways through Brahmaputra River which provides accessibility to northeast region.

 • Mass transport system can be further more affordable with reinvent of new technologies. e. g. Use of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) CNG and use nuclear energy will make this more affordable.

 Also this will reduce our import of fossil fuels. This will be more economically more viable as well as environment friendly.

 • Mass transport provides complimentary system- It is absolutely clear that there isn’t enough space for everyone to drive a car, and the government must pivot the policy to delivering reliable public transport. The metro project is a step in the right direction, but it needs complementary changes that improve the citizens’ experience.

 • Public mass system must provide last mile connectivity-the metro system needs a bus system to provide last-mile connectivity. If people have to take buses, they need pedestrian paths to walk on the roads. The bus system also needs to be reliable Mysore has managed to achieve that because of a centralized monitoring system that tracks buses using GPS monitors driving speed and ensures that they stop at every bus stop Extra information: Need For Affordability of Urban Mass Transport ▪ Complementary walking and cycling infrastructures are comparatively easy and inexpensive for local authorities to develop. These can immediately reduce injury risks for a very large proportion of urban dwellers.

 ▪ For instance, in Nairobi it is estimated that some 40% of daily trips are on foot and another 40% of travel is via informal and poorly organized “matatus,” or shared taxi systems – while only about 9% of travel is by private vehicles

 ▪ Among the most significant developments in urban mobility in recent years has been the rise of ride-hailing services like Uber and Ola, which also let users share rides.

 ▪ With more than a third of our population already living in urban areas — developed States like Tamil Nadu are more than 50 per cent urbanized — affordable public transport becomes a fundamental necessity, rather than a welfare indulgence.

 ▪ One of the greatest drivers of efficiency is the technology-enabled sharing economy and peer-to-peer networks that can enable real time alignment of demand and supply, thereby eliminating expensive underutilization of assets and inventory of time.

 Conclusion: India is a growing economy, and census data suggests that only 31% of the population lives in urban centers. Another 300 million people will be added by 2050 and the planning for carrying those people in our cities must begin now. Public transport can easily be the cheaper, faster and economical alternative if policy-makers plan for tomorrow’s problems today. So. initiatives like development of waterways, Bullet trains, hyper loop is the demand of time.

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