- The question is straight forward. And asks about the importance of urban mass transportIn the intro, briefly state about the rising problem of traffic congestions in the urban areas.
- In the body, the focus should be on the connection between the mass transport system and how it is connected with economic growth. Benefits like saving of travel time, saving of fuels, reducing the emission of polluting gases, health benefits and how each of these factors contributes to the economic development can be the part of the answer. Successful modes of mass transports like Mumbai local train and Delhi Metro can also be cited as examples of success.
- The answer can be concluded by stating the need to replicate the success stories of the Delhi and Mumbai mass transport systems in the rest of the country.
India’s urban population increased by 34% in 2017. The rapid pace with which urbanization is taking place is shifting the focus to the issue of transportation in our cities. Increased traffic congestion is resulting in slow urban mobility which can have a huge impact on the economy and quality of life of citizens.
Efficient and affordable urban mass transport: Keystone to economic development
- Supports clusters and agglomerations: In large metropolitan areas, growth can be slowed with the heavy usage of private vehicles. Effectively planned transportation can overcome this constraint and reinforce agglomerations by allowing more people to come closer together in higher density developments.
- Increase in productive man-hours: In large metros such as Bengaluru as well as some of the most congested cities, a large amount of time is spent in traffic during transit towards offices. These man-hours can be better utilized for productive work. The utilized time from faster and efficient transport systems can contribute to economic growth.
- Enhances job & labor force accessibility: Another economic benefit of transportation improvements is the resulting larger pool of employees available for the job market.
- Health benefits: In countries such as India, pollution is a major component of health problems. Most of the health problems are encountered by exposure to harmful air during travel. This health problem has the potential to cause long term drainage of economic resources. If an efficient transport system is available, there are more chances that commuters will avoid harmful road transport systems.
- Reducing global warming and meeting INDCs adopted in the Paris Agreement will further lead to sustainable development.
- Government has devised various policies for ensuring an affordable, efficient and accessible mobility system like – National Transit Oriented Development Policy, 2017; Green Urban Transport Scheme, 2016; FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric vehicles, etc.
- Despite these, Regulations must be introduced to encourage efficient use of existing roads and smarter traffic management. For example, not allowing trucks and large commercial carriers to ply city roads during the day.
- Upcoming projects like Hyperloop or Suburban railway may prove to be a better option.
- A good beginning is being made through the Smart Cities Programme, and all the selected 100 cities have put NMT (non-motorized transport) promotion as one of the goals in their respective Smart City Proposals.
Thus, to realize the objective of the rapid economic development of India – we must focus on increasing efficiency as well as the affordability of urban transportation.