A Painful Commute | Outlook Business
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Source: Niti Aayog

Graphically Speaking

A Painful Commute
Niti Aayog claims India has low per capita car ownership but heavy traffic congestion shows otherwise

Despite having grown 472-fold since 1950, auto ownership in India remains low with only 18 cars per 1,000 citizens versus 69 cars for China and 786 cars in the US. In other words, India faces challenges perpetuated by increasing ownership of privately owned vehicles, reinforcing the importance of an alternative mobility future. Every day, nearly 50,000 new motor vehicles are registered in India, with a 10% increase in vehicle registration annually for the past decade. In fact since 2002, passenger vehicle sales have nearly grown 8-fold. According to a Niti Aayog report, despite a low per capita of vehicles, traffic congestion and pollution are already serious issues in India. Though car aggregators have made their debut, for a majority of the population, public buses remain the primary mode of transportation and that is woefully inadequate to meet the country’s current demand. The report stated that India can save 64% of anticipated passenger mobility energy demand and 37% of carbon emissions in 2030 by pursuing a shared, electric, and connected mobility future. Importantly, at 52/bbl of crude, this would imply a net savings of roughly 3.9 lakh crore by 2030. The jury is still out on whether that indeed will be a reality.

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