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Automobility enervates, because more cars mean more congestion, less mobility

Economists have long talked of how, the world over, people invest surplus income in transport. For the latter part of the last century, this has gone into the private automobile. It was the car in Europe and North America, and the two-wheeler in Asia. With the growth of its economic pelf, Asia is fast changing two wheels for four. It is only now finding out what Europe and several North American cities discovered three decades ago: that growth of private vehicles ultimately restricts mobility. The traffic jam seriously inhibits productivity and harms public health with auto emissions.

But there are some good signs. Most city managers see political opportunity in public transport; they are putting their money where their mouths are.

The roadblock is India’s auto industry, which refuses to drag itself out of the car age. It stands to lose plenty, because if it does not reshape its business, it will lose to international players.

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Muralidhar Rao

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