Regulation of Motorized Two-Wheelers in India

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, planning - safety/accidents, land use - planning, policy - congestion, organisation - regulation


Two wheeled vehicles, Traffic congestion, Traffic accidents, Strategies, Strategic planning, Regulatory reform, Regulation, Priorities, Policy making, Objectives, India, Highway accidents, Gridlock (Traffic), Goals, Costs, Air pollution, Air pollutants


Since the mid-1980s, India has witnessed a rapid growth in the number of motor vehicles, driven primarily by the demand for motorized two-wheelers (M2Ws). These vehicles have served a very useful purpose, especially for the lower middle class, in offering easy and flexible mobility at costs that are much lower than those of a car. However, their affordability and extensive use have imposed high social costs in terms of air pollution, high accident fatality rates, and possibly road congestion. Therefore, there is a case for public regulation of M2Ws. This paper looks at the regulatory systems and practices currently in place, with a view to identifying gaps. It finds that fragmented policy making and uncoordinated regulatory efforts spanning multiple agencies and jurisdictions are serious gaps that must be filled. It concludes that reforms in the current systems of governance that devolve greater authority to the city level, qualitative improvements in the public transport system, and legal provisions that specifically address the needs of urban areas would be appropriate strategies to adopt.