Welcome Guest [create an account] or log-in:

Chapter 8 The Structures of Mobility and Challenges of Low Carbon Transitions in India

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-64-7-3266

ISBN: 978-1-910158-64-7

Published: November 2016

Component type: chapter

Published in: Low Carbon Mobility Transitions

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-64-7-2847



Non-motorised transport (NMT) modes, including cycles, pedal rickshaws, and animal-driven carts, were once the dominant way of moving around in Indian. Yet the share of cycling declined from an average of 30% in 1994 to 11 % by 2008, alongside a 12% rise in the share of personal modes of transport and declining public transport trips. A rising number of fatalities, overall congestion, and poor air quality have affected the quality of life in Indian cities. Lack of integration between land use and transportation, the absence of an enabling environment for NMT modes and poor transportation demand management have raised questions over Indian cities’ preparedness to transition to a low carbon future. This chapter argues that the translation of progressive policies into action has been marred by confusion and ad-hocism which has harmed the cause of low carbon transitions even further. It traces how an early post-independence obsession with modernity drove cities away from a low carbon sustainable model to a more energy-intensive model. A narrow re-imagining of roads as mere thoroughfares combined with borrowed motifs of modernity led to a culture of automobility that prioritises personal mobility over other low carbon alternatives. The chapter argues that despite the many challenges facing the prospect of low carbon transitions, recent government interventions in the form of policies and programmes present some hope.

Sample content

Click here to download PDF


  • Rutul Joshi, Faculty of Planning and Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India. (Author) http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3978-8985
  • Yogi Joseph, Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India (Author)
  • Vivek Chandran, Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India (Author)

For the source title:

Cite as

Joshi, Joseph & Chandran, 2016

Joshi, R., Joseph, Y. & Chandran, V. (2016) "Chapter 8 The Structures of Mobility and Challenges of Low Carbon Transitions in India" In: Hopkins, D. & Higham, J. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-910158-64-7-3266


Acharya, R. (2000). Indian Railways: Where the commuter is king. Japan Railways and Transport Review, 25, 34–45.

Adhvaryu, B. & Echenique M. (2012). SIMPLAN: A SIMplified PLANning model. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 39(1), 96–119. https://doi.org/10.1068/b36081

Agarwal, O. & Zimmerman, S. (2008). Toward sustainable mobility in urban India. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2048, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.3141/2048-01

ANI (2014). Bhopal celebrates Raahgiri Day to spread awareness about road safety. ANI News, Available at: http://aninews.in/newsdetail2/story184358/bhopal-celebrates-raahgiri-day-to-spread-awareness-about-road-safety.html. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

Anjaria, J.S. (2014). How we define the street. The Indian Express, Available at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/how-we-define-the-street. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

Anjaria, J.S. (2012). Is there a culture of Indian streets? The Seminar, Available at: http://www.india-seminar.com/(2012)/636/636_jonathan_s_anjaria.htm#top. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

Anjaria, J.S. (2015). The cyclist and the Marxist: Why everything should not be reduced to class conflict. Scroll, Available at: http://scroll.in/article/766391/the-cyclist-and-the-marxist-why-everything-should-not-be-reduced-to-class-conflict. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

Badami, M., Tiwari, G. & Mohan, D. (2004). Access and mobility for the urban poor in India: bridging the gap between policy and needs. In Forum on Urban Infrastructure and Public Service Delivery for the Urban Poor, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Delhi, India.

Badami, M.G. (2009). Urban transport policy as if people and the environment mattered: pedestrian accessibility the first step. Economic and Political Weekly, XLIV(33), 43-51.

Badami, M.G. & Haider, M. (2007). An analysis of public bus transit performance in Indian cities. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 41(10), 961–981. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2007.06.002

Bandyopadhyay, K. & Chakraborty, A. (2013). Cops slam brakes on bicycles. The Times of India, Available at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Cops-slam-brakes-on-bicycles/articleshow/21968076.cms. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

Banister, D. (2008). The sustainable mobility paradigm. Transport Policy, 15(2), 73–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2007.10.005

Barter, P.A. (2011). Parking Policy in Asian Cities. Mandaluyong: Asian Development

Census of India (2011a). B-28 'Other Workers' by distance from residence to place of work and mode of travel to the place of work, Available at: http://www.censusindia.gov.in/(2011)census/B-series/B_28.html. Accessed 13 Jan. 2016.

Census of India (2011b). Cities having population 1 lakh and above. Available at: http://censusindia.gov.in/(2011)-prov-results/paper2/data_files/India2/Table_2_PR_Cities_1Lakh_and_Above.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan. 2016.

Chakraborty, S. & Poovanna, S. (2015). Govt. frames rule for cab aggregators like Ola, Uber. Livemint, Available at: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/hh9iHhNFi7aDMdVipC0dyK/Govt-drafts-rules-to-regulate-Uber-other-ridehailing-firms.html. Accessed 11 Jan. 2016.

Chamon, M., Mauro, P. & Okawa, Y. (2008). Mass car ownership in emerging market giants. Economic Policy, 23(54), 243–296. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0327.2008.00201.x

Chaplin, S.E. (2011). Indian cities, sanitation and the state: the politics of the failure to provide. Environment and Urbanization, 23(1), 57–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247810396277

CSE, (2011). Clean and sustainable mobility for all. New Delhi: CSE. Available at: http://www.cseindia.org/userfiles/anumita_1stday.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan. 2016.

Datey, A., Darji, V., Patel, T. & Mahadevia, D. (2012). Walking and cycling in Indian cities: A struggle for reclaiming road edges, Working Paper no. 18, Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University.

ENS (2015). Most polluted city in the world, Delhi suffers from a toxic blend, says UK study. Indian Express, Available at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/the-most-polluted-city-in-the-world-delhi-suffers-from-a-toxic-blend-study/. Accessed 20 Jan. 2016.

Ghate, A.T. & Sundar, S. (2013). Can we reduce the rate of growth of car ownership? Economic and Political Weekly, 48(23), 32-40.

Ghose, B. (1960). The colonial beginnings of Calcutta urbanisation without industrialisation. The Economic Weekly, (August 13), 1255–1260.

Goel, R. & Pant, P. (2016). Vehicular pollution mitigation policies in Delhi. Economic & Political Weekly, 51(9), 41.

Gordon, D. (2006). Planning Twentieth Century Capital Cities, Abingdon: Routledge.

HT Correspondent, (2016). Delhi to conduct a second round of odd-even from April 15.

Hindustan Times, online Available at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/delhi-to-conduct-second-round-of-odd-even-kejriwal/story-DcownpCt7Q96FEAkSfMulO.html. Accessed 6 Apr. (2016).

IIHS (2011). Urban India (2011): Evidence. Bengaluru: IIHS. Available at: http://iihs.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/IUC-Book.pdf. Accessed 7 Apr. 2015.

India Today (2009). 1983-Maruti 800 is launched: Driving the India story. India Today, Available at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/1983-Maruti+800+is+launched:+Driving+the+India+story/1/76373.html. Accessed 7 Mar. 2016.

IANS (2012). Delhi high court dismisses BRT corridor review plea. NDTV, Available at: http://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/delhi-high-court-dismisses-brt-corridor-review-plea-505363. Accessed 7 Mar. 2016.

JUSF (2011). TENDER SURE (Specifications for Urban Roads Execution), Bengaluru: JUSF.

Joshi, R. (2014). Mobility practices of the urban poor in Ahmedabad (India). PhD thesis, Faculty of Environment and Technology, The University of the West of England, available at: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25016. Accessed 10 Oct. 2015.

Joshi, R. & Joseph, Y. (2015). Invisible cyclists and disappearing cycles: The challenges of cycling policies in Indian cities. Transfers, 5(3), 23–40. https://doi.org/10.3167/TRANS.2015.050303

Kashyap, S. (2015). With 'Ola Share' and 'uberPOOL' has ride-sharing come of age in India. Your Story, Available at: http://yourstory.com/2015/10/ola-share-and-uberpool. Accessed 8 Mar. 2016.

Khanna, P. & Mehta, N. (2016). Odd-even rule ends in Delhi; Effect on air quality unclear. Livemint, Available at: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/lhm0PbZRp4BMTRaOkG3L9N/Oddeven-rule-ends-in-Delhi-verdict-on-air-qualityunclear.html. Accessed 8 Mar. 2016.

Knoflacher, H. (2007). Success and failures in urban transport planning in Europe - understanding the transport system. Sadhana, 32(4), 293–307. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12046-007-0026-6

Mahadevia, D., Joshi, R. & Datey, A. (2013). Ahmedabad's BRT system - A sustainable urban transport Panacea? Economic and Political Weekly, XLVIII(48), 56–64.

Mani, A., Pai, M. & Aggarwal, R. (2012). Sustainable urban transport in India: role of the auto-rickshaw sector. Mumbai: Embarq India. Available at: http://www.wri.org/publication/sustainable-urban-transport-india. Accessed 7 Mar. 2016.

Mathur, A. (2016). The dismantling of Delhi's BRT corridor to begin today, to cost around INR 12 Crore. India Today, Available at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/dismantling-of-brt-corridor-to-begin-today/1/573942.html. Accessed 7 Mar. 2016.

MGI (2010). India's urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth. New Delhi: MGI. Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/urbanization/urban-awakening-in-india. Accessed 17 Mar. 2015.

Mishra, B.R. (2016). Ola to expand auto service to eight more cities. Business Standard, Available at: http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/ola-to-expand-auto-service-to-eight-more-cities-116031101004_1.html. Accessed 12 Apr. 2016.

Mohan, D. (2013). Moving around in Indian Cities. Economic and Political Weekly, XLVIII(48), 40–48.

MoSPI (2016). Statistical year book 2016. New Delhi: MoSPI. Available at: http://mospi.nic.in/Mospi_New/upload/SYB(2016)/index1.html. Accessed 17 Apr. 2016.

MoUD (2006). National Urban Transport Policy. New Delhi: MoUD. Available at: http://mospi.nic.in/Mospi_New/upload/SYB2016/index1.html. Accessed 17 Jan. 2016.

MoUD (2016). Handbook of Urban Statistics. New Delhi: MoUD. Available at: http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/handbook%20of%20urban%20statistics%202016.pdf. Accessed 23 Apr. 2016.

Munshi, T., Zuidgeest, M., Brussel, M. & van Maarseveen, M. (2014). Logistic regression and cellular automata-based modelling of retail, commercial, and residential development in the city of Ahmedabad, India. Cities, 39(0), 68–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2014.02.007

Narayanan, N. (2014). Showing the path to other Indian cities, Chennai starts pedestrianising its roads. Scroll, Available at: http://scroll.in/article/687775/showing-the-path-to-other-indian-cities-chennai-starts-pedestrianising-its-roads. Accessed 7 Sep. 2015.

NTDPC (2014). India transport report: Moving india to 2032. New Delhi: Routledge. Available at: http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/genrep/NTDPC_Vol_01.pdf. Accessed 8 Apr. 2016.

NTDPC (2012). National Transport Policy Development Committee on Urban Transport: Final report. New Delhi: MoUD. Available at: http://planningcommission.nic.in/sectors/index.php?sectors=National%20Transport%20Development%20Policy%20Committee%20(NTDPC). Accessed 18 Mar. 2014

PTI (2015). Delhi to observe third 'car-free' day on December 22; DTC to deploy special shuttles. The Indian Express. Available at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-to-observe-third-car-free-day-on-december-22-dtc-to-deploy-special-shuttles/. Accessed 15 Dec. 2015.

Pucher, J., Peng, Z., Mittal, Z., Zhu, Y. I. & Korattyswaroopam, N. (2007). Urban transport trends and policies in China and India: Impacts of rapid economic growth. Transport Reviews, 27(4), 379–410 https://doi.org/10.1080/01441640601089988

Rao, S. (2011). South Mumbai doesn't want to ride in autos. Hindustan Times. Available at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/south-mumbai-doesn-t-want-to-ride-in-autos/story-qWgJTJfRdeAL3rplf991gN.html. Accessed 10 Jul. 2014.

Ravi, R. (2016). No space for cycle rickshaws. Economic and Political Weekly, LI(9), 49–51.

Replogle, M., (1991). Non-motorized Vehicles in Asia: Lessons for sustainable transport planning and policy. World Bank Technical Report No. 162. Washington DC: The World Bank. Available at: http://www.gtkp.com/assets/uploads/20091125-110428-2262-2293_NonmotorizedVehiclesAsia.pdf. Accessed 17 Dec. 2011.

RITES (1994). Comprehensive Study of 21 Cities in India. New Delhi: RITES.

Roychowdhury, A., Bansal, R., Bhattacharjee, A. & Gandhi, S. (2013). On foot and pedal. Down To Earth. Available at: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/coverage/on-foot-and-pedal-38071. Accessed 11 Jun. 2015.

Schipper, L., Banerjee, I. & Ng, W. S. (2008). CO 2 Emissions from land transport in India: Scenarios of the uncertain. In: Annual Meeting Proceedings. Washington DC: TRB. Available at: http://www.irfnet.ch/files-upload/knowledges/CO2%20Emissions%20from%20land%20transport%20in%20India_TRB.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan. 2016.

Schipper, L., Fabian, H. & Leather, J. (2009). Transport and carbon dioxide emissions: Forecasts, options analysis and evaluation, ADB Sustainable Development Working Paper, no. 9, Asian Development Bank.

Schlingloff, D. (2014). Fortified Cities of Ancient India: A comparative study, New Delhi: Anthem Press.

Singh, S.K. (2005). Review of urban transportation in India. Journal of Public Transportation, 8(1) 79–97. https://doi.org/10.5038/2375-0901.8.1.5

Srivastava, S. (2015). Why the sports bicycle should not be a symbol of urban renewal.

Scroll. Available at: http://scroll.in/article/765917/why-the-sports-bicycle-should-not-be-a-symbol-of-urban-renewal. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

Sudworth, J. (2006). Delhi court bans pedal rickshaws. BBC News. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5388374.stm. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

Tiwari, G. (2016). Are we ready for public transport? Economic and Political Weekly, LI(9), 51–54.

Tiwari, G. (2011). Key Mobility Challenges in Indian cities, Leipzig: International Transport Forum, OECD.

TNN (2014). Autos get a dedicated lane in the heart of Bangalore. Times of India. Available at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Autos-get-a-dedicated-lane-in-the-heart-of-Bangalore/articleshow/44137211.cms. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

TNN (2008). Nissan, Renault ink MoU for plant in Tamil Nadu. The Economic Times. Available at: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2008-02-23/news/28458614_1_carlos-tavares-patrick-pelata-nissan-motor-and-renault. Accessed 11 Feb. 2016.

Volwahsen, A. (2002). Imperial Delhi: The British Capital of the Indian Empire, New York: Prestel.

WHO (2015). Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015. Geneva: WHO. Available at: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/(2015)/GSRRS(2015)_Summary_EN_final.pdf. Accessed 22 Feb. 2016.

WHO (2014). WHO's Ambient Air Pollution Database-Update 2014. Geneva: WHO. Available at: http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/AAP_database_results_2014.pdf. Accessed 22 Dec. 2014.

Woodcock, J., Edwards, P., Tonne, C., Armstrong, B.G., Ashiru, O., Banister, D., Beevers, S., Chalabi, Z., Chowdhury, Z., Cohen, A. & Franco, O.H. (2009). Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: urban land transport. The Lancet, 374(9705), 1930-1943. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61714-1

WSA & MoUD (2008). Study on traffic and transportation policies and strategies in urban areas in India. New Delhi: MoUD. Available at: http://moud.gov.in/traffic_transport. Accessed 27 Dec. 2013.

Yoganandan, G. & Pugazh, E. (2015). Male Car Owners' Perception and Buying Behaviour, New Delhi: EduPedia Publications Pvt. Ltd.


Published in Low Carbon Mobility Transitions

Hardback format [Details]Price: £95.00Copies / Delivery by post
Terms and conditions of purchase | Privacy policy