Urban Transport Crisis in India

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, planning - environmental impact, land use - impacts, land use - planning, policy - equity, policy - environment, policy - congestion, place - urban, mode - mass transit, mode - bike, mode - pedestrian


Urban transportation policy, Under developed countries, Travel behavior, Trauma, Transportation planning, Transit, Traffic control, Traffic congestion, Third world, Social justice, Social equity, Recommendations, Public transit, Pedestrians, Mass transit, Local transit, Less developed countries, Land use, Interagency relations, Injury, Injuries, India, Gridlock (Traffic), Funding, Financing, Fairness (Social equity), Equity (Justice), Environmental impacts, Environmental effects, Developing countries, Cyclists, Case studies, Bicyclists, Bicycle riders


Extreme traffic congestion, noise, pollution, fatalities and injuries, and inequity are creating a transportation crisis for India. This crisis has been exacerbated by the extremely rapid growth of India's largest cities in a context of low incomes, limited and outdated transport infrastructure, rampant suburban sprawl, sharply rising motor vehicle ownership and use, deteriorating bus services, a wide range of motorized and non-motorized transport modes sharing roadways, and inadequate as well as uncoordinated land use and transport planning. This paper summarizes key trends in India's transport system and travel behavior. The extent and causes of the most severe problems are analyzed, and nine policy improvements that would help mitigate India's urban transport crisis are recommended. These policy improvements include: improved rights of way for pedestrians and cyclists; improved traffic management; improved public transportation services; privatization of bus services; improved motor vehicle technology and fuels; new roads to accommodate the needs of buses, cyclists and pedestrians; better cooperation among difference transportation agencies and better overall coordination of transportation and land-use policies; revision of state and local land use and development regulations to promote higher-density development; and large increases in funding. There is growing awareness of the necessity of dealing with this crisis, although financial and political obstacles stand in the way of implementing all of the recommended policies.


Transport Policy Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X