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Tuesday , 16 April 2024

Compact Electrified Cities in India

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport is crucial to meet India’s climate action commitments and limit future global warming to 1.5°C. This is especially urgent amidst recurring hazardous air quality crises in Delhi, Mumbai, and other major Indian cities.

A new report by ITDP and the University of California, Davis—the Compact Cities Electrified: India roadmap—shows that developing compact and dense cities can shift most trips to less polluting modes like walking, cycling, and public transport while simultaneously facilitating a rapid electrification of all vehicle modes. Adopting these combined strategies could potentially save the Indian government over `150 lakh crore in the next 30 years and result in lower travel costs, and a reduction in projected energy demand by almost one-third.

The study outlines four possible scenarios for the next 30 years of urban passenger transport and resulting emissions in India:

  1. Business as Usual– A continuation along India’s current trajectory toward a car-oriented society powered by fossil fuels.
  2. Mode Shift (Only)– Cities embrace compact land-use policy and redesign transport systems to make walking, cycling, and public transport use as easy as car use.
  3. Electrification (Only)– Cities pursue EVs intensely and almost exclusively as the strategy for decarbonising.
  4. Electrification + Shift– Combination of high electrification and high shift. Extensive electrification of public and private vehicles and a shift in city designs to prioritise non-motorised transportation.

The research shows that neither strategy on its own is capable of reducing emissions to a level compatible with limiting future global warming to 1.5°C. India will require both strategies—Electrification + Shift—to meet its Paris Agreement commitments and its goal of achieving Net Zero by 2070.

Why does India need Compact Electrified Cities? Recent air quality reports have identified India as the source of approximately 59% of the world’s increased pollution since 2013. Transport is the most rapidly growing source of emissions in the country, accounting for roughly a tenth of the overall emissions. Road transport makes up a whopping 90 percent of this, with the number of vehicles on the road increasing about four-fold since the early 2000s.

Investing in creating compact electrified cities will not only ensure India meets its climate commitments, but result in massive economic savings and reduced travel costs for residents of Indian cities. Over the next 30 years, the Electrification + Shift approach could generate over `400 lakh crore in cumulative savings, including at least `50 lakh crore for national, state, and city governments. This funding could be redirected to invest in critical sectors like public health and education. Additionally, combining EVs and compact cities would decrease projected energy demand by almost one-third, freeing up electricity for consumers or for other energy-intensive aspects of development. Creating compact electrified cities would also facilitate economic inclusion, reduce air pollution, and minimise road fatalities.

The report provides a country-specific roadmap for India, estimating the quantities and costs of infrastructure needed for the transition and the potential impacts over the next 30 years. The report highlights seven critical goals which require strong action from governments at all levels—including ensuring every citizen gets a fair share of road space; improving walking, cycling, and public transport; and accelerating the adoption of green mobility.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Source: ITDP India

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