Friday, March 28, 2008

Transport Options for Indian Cities

The city of Muenster, Germany has this message for urban transport planners in India:

I got this from Tim Harford's blog who got it here. Despite the quibbling over camera zoom and angle and whether the picture depicts transport patterns realistically, I think the poster makes a great point. The city compares the space used by various modes of transport in moving a comparable number of people. Here are the stats for moving 72 people

Bicycle: 72 people are transported on 72 bikes, which requires 90 square meters.

Car: Based on an average occupancy of 1.2 people per car, 60 cars are needed to transport 72 people, which takes 1,000 square meters.

Bus: 72 people can be transported on 1 bus, which only requires 30 square meters of space

Besides space occupied there is also the problem of pollution. Bicycles don't emit pollutants and buses pollute less per passenger km traveled than other motorized transport. Yet currently we tax private vehicles less than public transport buses creating distorted incentives for vehicle choice. The various taxes that favor private vehicles more than bus public transport are nicely summarized in this letter from the Centre for Science and Environment to finance minister P. Chidambaram.

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