CSE suggests bailout package for public transport revival

Hardlook — Public transport: Bus stopped | Cities News,The Indian Express

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says Delhi needs a massive mobility transition to cut vehicular pollution which is 40 percent of the total particulate load in the city. The reforms underway need scale and speed of action. Need a bail-out package for public transport revival across the country, it says after conducting a survey. Delhi also has to clearly meet the milestone for each parameter of its electric vehicle policy that aims for 25 percent electrification by 2024.  Both the national and state governments need to urgently roll out a bail-out package for the revival of public transport as part of the economic recovery. Without this, one of the most important solutions to clean air can get derailed. Without the mobility transition, Delhi cannot meet its clean air targets.  Public transport has been functioning at a very low capacity during pandemic — service capacity of the fleet reduced on an average by 73 percent with variations across different phases of lockdown and post-lockdown. CSE has tracked this change with the help of data from the Google Mobility Report on different categories of visits classified as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential. CSE has also tracked the traffic speed data from Google as a proxy to understand the level of congestion that has a strong bearing on vehicular pollution, which is significant in Delhi. Congestion and traffic can have an enormous impact on air pollution have analyzed Google mobility data and daily real-time information of Google Maps for 12 major roads — MG Road, NH44, Sardar Patel Marg, Outer Ring Road, Dr KB Hegdewar Marg, Sri Aurobindo Marg, NH 9, Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, GT Karnal Rd, Lal Bahadur Shashtri Marg, Dwarka Marg and Najafgarh Marg. The length of the roads was identified to be representative of the geographical spread as well as the larger mobility pattern of Delhi. The travel time from origin to the destination was noted for every hour from 8 AM to 8 PM IST for the pre-lockdown, lockdown and post-lockdown periods which was later converted into speed in km per hour. The data were further analyzed for the peak hours from 9 AM to 11 AM in the morning and 5 PM to 7 PM in the evening) as well as the off-peak hours. This analysis brings out that the temporary reprieve from traffic congestion and exposure was possible due to the forced shut-down during the lockdown phases. “But this could not be sustained,” says Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE executive director-research and advocacy, “as the scale and scope of action needed to transform public transportation, walking and cycling options and vehicle restraint measures like city-wide implementation of the parking management area plan and the notified parking rules have remained limited and inadequate. This is of serious concern as scientific studies in Delhi have shown that vehicles contribute about 40 per cent of the total pollution load in the city. (picture courtesy: The Indian Express)

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