How Green Transport Solutions can Transform AP’s Congested Cities

In the period between 2014 and 2019, Andhra Pradesh witnessed a good economic boom. As a consequence, the local economy of Vijayawada is expected to reach ₹1,156 billion by 2025, a six-fold increase over 2010. Rapid economic growth means more commerce and more people, which means more traffic and congestion. 
India’s 43rd biggest city by population, by some measures is the third-most densely populated city in the world. Clogged roads not only make life frustrating, but also slow economic progress: they prevent burgeoning businesses and cities from reaching their full potential. 
Between FY16 and FY17, the number of motorbikes and cars increased by 73 per cent and 40 per cent respectively. Air pollution levels have increased too, and are now nearly double the national average. 
This all means that, like many other Indian cities, major challenges include growth in the number of private vehicles, traffic congestion and mounting city pollution. There is only a limited public transport system due to the high costs of land and reluctance of the public to part with land. This means that widening of roads to accommodate a mass transit system at road level is very difficult. 
Need for Electric Public Transport
Parijat Dey, Senior Manager of IL&FS, and Ankush Malhotra, Vice President, UMTC, look at two ways of resolving these problems. The researchers examine two options to bring down the low-capacity, private share in passenger traffic to 20 percent by 2052: a metro with a feeder network, and a dedicated bus corridor with electric public transport. 
Either option would likely require funding from the Central or State government or from international agencies such as the Asia Development Bank, World Bank, or others. 
The first approach would involve the development of two elevated metro corridors with 25 stations, stretching 26 km, to cater to half of the city’s population by 2052. This would also include more bus services and intermediate public transport (IPT). 
Further, considering the population growth of the city, a medium capacity metro system with capacity for about 30,000-45,000 passengers traveling per hour per direction of traffic would help to serve the future needs of the city. 
The metro’s capital expenditure, worth ₹64 billion, is the most expensive single cost, with capital expenditure for the metro feeder and IPT coming to roughly half that. There’s also a significant social cost of disruption due to the construction, which the researchers estimate would come to about ₹50 
Benefits of EVs for a sustainable, green economy
Benefits would be sizable. The city would make ₹320 billion or so in revenue, and passengers would save a considerable amount of time, worth some ₹200 billion. 
There are environmental benefits from less carbon being emitted, fuel costs, reductions in traffic accidents, and health benefits from the cut in air pollution. Added together, these come to ₹661 billion. This means that each rupee spent would generate benefits to society worth more than 3 rupees. 
In the second approach, two elevated bus rapid transport corridors would be constructed, the same length as the proposed metro route, to cater 50 percent of the city population by 2052. Additionally, bus services and intermediate public transport would be increased, to the benchmark set by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for urban transport for Indian cities. 
Capital expenditure costs amount to about half of the total costs of ₹164 billion. The disruption cost would be lower than the first option, at around ₹14 billion. 
Benefits are nearly as vast as for the metro. Revenue would account for nearly half of all benefits, at about ₹323 billion; time savings by passengers would be worth another ₹200 billion; and reductions in health costs would add up to about ₹41 billion. This all adds up to ₹664 billion, meaning each rupee generates benefits worth 4 rupees. 
These analyses show the way for Vijayawada and other cities in the state to prepare for growth and expansion, and ensure that today’s traffic, pollution and accident problems do not become tomorrow’s chokehold on development. 

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