We are fast approaching a phenomenon known as urbanization and migration, where cities are going to play major roles. Urbanization is so important and inexorable that we have to quickly come to some action based on a detailed thought process.
Urban India contributes to most of the GDP; in fact, MMR contributes to about 40% of the State GDP and Mumbai contributes the most. With the Indian population crossing mind boggling 141Cr, what could be the requirement for Mumbai city and Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities to become future ready towards the goal of sustainability?
This Conference is deliberating on some of these themes. One is on financing: whether sustainability or other things, you need money, you need finance and investment. What are the options available to raise funding — by the Government agencies or private agencies; by PPP mode, annuity or any other mode? the session will look at the concepts related to funding called TOD (Transit Oriented Development).
Secondly, how to optimize with the limited funds available: If you want to optimize the time and resources of citizens and government, that can happen only through multi-modal integration. This is also possible only by integrating town planning with transportation plans. That is what MMRDA has been doing for a couple of decades because town planning and regional planning should be integrated with a proper transportation plan. Either of them working in silos can never achieve the target, leave alone optimization.
Then comes the people who need to be transported, how they are going to move about. There were times when the internet came to India in 1995 -1996, people use to address it as Super Information Highway, and thought that transportation would go down but that’s not the case. Transportation has increased multi-fold; in future, newer technology will make it sustainable.
One is Self-Driving vehicles which are based on Artificial Intelligence. And second which will have an impact is the amount of parking that is required. If the vehicle is self-driven, parking may not require that much time. I’m talking about the future which is already happening in a small way right now. Then comes the electric vehicles, actually the battery, which the whole world is working upon. When it comes to storage, lithium based or any other, it is available only in a few countries. At a global level, it’s a question. However, one can use alternate metals besides lithium batteries. If you think of fast charging batteries you can store the electricity and it can be used on electric vehicles. That will be a game changer.
I hope the key learnings and outcomes of the conference will last beyond the event. I congratulate the organisers for putting together a wonderful platform where one can witness new/latest technology and solutions in the traffic and transport sector.