Transport Policies in India
The Government of India has initiated several policies and initiatives for the transportation sector with the objective of enhancing passenger mobility, improving logistics of freight transport, increasing rail use by improving efficiency, raising the average speed, promoting low-carbon transport, and at the same time improving energy security and local benefits of air quality and congestion (Table 8.1). Cities have initiated urban transport initiatives including infrastructure for public transport and non-motorized transport and urban planning and zoning interventions to facilitate transit-oriented development.
Transport sector takes up a share of 45 % in the total infrastructure investments in India. There are plans to increase investments from 2.6 % of GDP between 2006 and 2011 to 3.6 % of total GDP in the period between 2018 and 2022. The Government of India policies highlight rapid expansion and modernization of transport infrastructure. Some of these include expansion and upgradation of roads and highways, reducing congestion in railways, electrification of rail corridors, investments in dedicated freight corridors, and expansion of air infrastructure
Table 8.1 Overview of selected transport policies in India
investments in high-speed rail and mass transit in cities. Improving water-based transport is now receiving some attention, and this has been mentioned as one of the focus areas in the National Urban Transport Policy.
Table 8.2 Chronology of transport initiatives implemented Year—measure implemented
Compiled from: GoI (2003), CPCB (2008)
Emerging policies highlight the focus on multiple benefits of meeting the transport demand and delivering environment and development benefits (Table 8.1). An example is the recent initiative to develop high-speed rail corridors in the country (GoI 2014a) which is expected to benefit cities along major corridors by improving their connectivity.
Historically, transport interventions in India have been driven by various push factors. For instance, in Delhi, a public interest litigation regarding air pollution prompted a Supreme Court directive authorizing the conversion of public transport to CNG. This was a landmark achievement as Delhi's success prompted several other cities to bring in CNG vehicles. Similarly, the success of electric autorickshaws in Delhi was driven by favorable economics and not necessarily government intervention (Shukla et al. 2014). Table 8.2 documents the range of policies and interventions on improving air quality that were been implemented successfully since the 1990s.