Transport and land-use policies in Delhi1


Politiques des transports et d'utilisation des sols à Delhi


Políticas de transporte y uso de la tierra en Delhi



Geetam Tiwari




Current transportation policies in mega-cities worldwide lead to major threats to health through traffic injuries, air pollution, noise, reduction in physical activities, and adverse impact on urban quality of life. In addition, a large section of the population in cities in low-income countries has to live in informal-sector, substandard housing. Many transportation policies fail to take enough account of their impacts on poverty and social exclusion, and they neglect the access and transportation demands of the more economically disadvantaged groups of society, who rely mostly on public transportation, walking, and cycling. Delhi, the capital city of India, is an interesting case because failure to consider the broad spectrum of health effects that may result from transport and land-use policies and investments has resulted in decisions that penalize the least affluent groups of the population and make it more difficult for them to get to jobs, education, health care, amenities, and services.

Keywords: Accidents, Traffic/prevention and control/statistics; Transportation/history/statistics/; Bicycling/injuries; Motorcycles; Walking/injuries/statistics; Motor vehicles; Urban health; Air pollution/prevention and control; Environmental health; Public policy; Social control, Formal; Urbanization; Housing; City planning/utilization; Quality of life; Social justice; India/epidemiology (source: MeSH, NLM).


Actuellement, les politiques des transports dans les mégalopoles du monde entier constituent une menace réelle pour la santé en raison des traumatismes dus aux accidents de la circulation, de la pollution de l'air, du bruit, de la réduction des activités physiques et des incidences négatives qu'elles ont sur la qualité de vie en milieu urbain. En outre, une grande partie de la population des villes dans les pays à faible revenu doit vivre dans des logements du secteur informel, qui ne répondent pas aux normes. Un grand nombre des politiques des transports ne tiennent pas suffisamment compte de l'impact qu'elles peuvent avoir sur la pauvreté et l'exclusion sociale, et elles négligent les demandes en matière d'accès et de transport des groupes les plus économiquement désavantagés qui comptent essentiellement sur les transports publics et se déplacent en marchant ou à bicyclette. Delhi, capitale de l'Inde, est un cas intéressant : faute d'avoir examiné le large éventail des incidences sanitaires pouvant résulter des politiques des transports et d'utilisation des sols et des politiques d'investissement, la ville a pris des décisions pénalisant les groupes les plus défavorisés de la population, leur rendant l'accès au marché du travail, à l'éducation, aux soins de santé, aux équipements collectifs et aux services plus difficile.

Mots clés: Accident circulation/prévention et contrôle/statistique; Transports/histoire/statistique; Cyclisme/traumatismes; Cyclomoteur; Marche/traumatismes/statistique; Véhicule motorisé; Santé urbaine; Pollution air/prévention et contrôle; Hygiène environnement; Politique gouvernementale; Contrôle social formel; Urbanisation; Logement; Urbanisme/utilisation; Qualité vie; Justice sociale; Inde/épidémiologie (source: MeSH, INSERM).


Las actuales políticas de transporte en las megalópolis de todo el mundo conllevan grandes amenazas para la salud debido a los accidentes de tráfico, la contaminación del aire, el ruido, la disminución de la actividad física y las repercusiones negativas sobre la calidad de vida urbana. Además, gran parte de la población urbana de los países con bajos ingresos tienen que vivir en viviendas de calidad deficiente del sector informal. Muchas políticas de transporte no prestan suficiente atención a sus repercusiones sobre la pobreza y la exclusión social, y descuidan las demandas de acceso y transporte de los grupos sociales más desfavorecidos económicamente, que se desplazan fundamentalmente en transportes públicos, en bicicleta o caminando. Delhi, la capital de la India, es un caso interesante porque el hecho de no haber tenido en cuenta el amplio espectro de efectos sanitarios que pueden derivarse de las políticas de transporte y uso de la tierra y de las inversiones en estos sectores ha originado decisiones que penalizan a los grupos de la población con menos ingresos y les dificultan la obtención de trabajo, educación, asistencia sanitaria, prestaciones y servicios.

Palabras clave: Accidentes de tránsito/prevención y control/estadística; Transportes/historia/estadística; Ciclismo/lesiones; Motocicletas; Caminata/lesiones/estadística; Vehículos a motor; Salud urbana; Contaminación del aire/prevención y control; Salud ambiental; Política social; Controles formales de la sociedad; Urbanización; Vivienda; Planificación de ciudades/utilización; Calidad de vida; Justicia social; Goa/epidemiología (fuente: DeCS, BIREME).




Urban transportation systems are complex systems defined by land-use and transport policies. A description of a complete transportation system must meet the following conditions:

• All modes of transportation must be considered.

• All elements of the transportation system must be considered — the persons and items being transported; the vehicles in which they are conveyed; and the network of facilities through which the vehicles, passengers, and cargoes move, including terminals where trips originate or terminate and transfer points where commuters transfer from bus to train or bicycle to train or bus etc.

• All movements through the system must be considered.

• For each specific flow — the total trip from point of origin to final destination — overall modes and facilities must be considered.

Such a comprehensive definition of a transportation system enables analysts to consider explicitly the assumptions introduced by eliminating individual elements of a highly complex and interrelated system. In cities in which the level of complexity increases because of large disparities between the city residents, however, often only selected elements are quantified and analysed. The existing traffic and transport indicators — such as kilometres travelled by vehicles, average speeds, and delays experienced by vehicles at intersections — are biased towards motorized travel. Bicycle and walking trips are not included with motorized vehicle trips for traffic analyses. Policies based on such limited analyses result in adverse health impacts for a large section of the population. This is evident from the study of transport land-use policies in Delhi, the capital city of India.


Historical patterns and trends

Delhi is one of the most discussed and documented cities in India. Within its large geographical area, it contains many cities and sub-cities. Delhi has more than its share of urban problems.

Planned development of Delhi has been attempted since 1874, when the Delhi Municipal Committee was formed. In 1910, a town-planning committee was appointed by the British Government to plan an imperial city in Delhi. Soon after independence in 1947, the Ministry of Rehabilitation was entrusted with the task of resettling nearly 450 000 refugees as they arrived from the new border. Problems of pollution and housing in the new capital led to the establishment of the Town Planning Organisation and the Delhi Development Authority in 1955 and 1957, respectively, to slow down unplanned growth of Delhi (1). The Town Planning Organisation prepared the first master plan for Delhi in 1962 (DMP 62) and earmarked spaces for industrial units and other land uses for the city. The number of industrial units built exceeded the number proposed in DMP 62, however, and so did the number of people working in these units. This resulted in a large number of people with low incomes living in squatter settlements in Delhi. Since 1975, different governments have adopted policies to forcibly evict such people from the city centre of Delhi to the resettlement colonies at the city's peripheries. The master plan for Delhi is supposed to be the blueprint for developing the entire city, and it is supposed to be prepared by including active participation of the city's residents. The planning of the city has remained the prerogative of a few government officials and technical experts, however, with no role for the people to play. The master plan has been violated systematically by many governmental and semi-governmental agencies.

The systemic failure of planning is evident from the situation today. The "green belt" that was specified in DMP 62 has been exploited by land developers. The resettlement colonies and industrial areas, which were supposed to be a ring town under DMP 62, are now a connected suburb. Gurgaon, Faridabad, and Ghaziabad are contiguous urban sprawls, and the arterial roads and national highways are the most congested in the region. Constantly increasing numbers of poor people continue to live in informal settlements without services. Estimates suggest that over 1500 unauthorized colonies are without civic amenities and that as much as 60% of the population lives in substandard housing. The living conditions of the residents in these colonies are very poor, with 70% without sewage facilities and 60% with no separate space for cooking in their houses (2). The acute scarcity of land, shelter, and infrastructure means that many people put up shanties or substandard housing, known as jhuggi jhopri clusters or "jhuggies", on public land (and other vacant land). Well over 3 million people are estimated to live in jhuggies; this number is projected to increase to 4.5 million by 2011 and to 6 million by 2020 (3). The people from households with low incomes that reside in jhuggies, slums, and low-income, unauthorized, residential settlements in Delhi are "captive pedestrians".


Land use and spatial distribution

Delhi, like most Indian cities, has a mixed pattern of land use. This is partly because large numbers of people need to walk between their places of residence and their places of work. No clear-cut concentric zones of different activities exist. Central core areas comprise not only commercial development but also high-concentration housing, and working-class developments are found in the core and vicinity of the city. Manufacturing activity is spread geographically not only in the peripheral zone but also in the intermediate and inner zones.

Employment in industry grew from 17% of the work force in 1951 to 29% in 1981 and 33% in 1991. Between 1961 and 1971, the number of industries that employed less than 10 workers grew by 444% in Delhi, while Bombay recorded growth of only 51% and Calcutta just 18%. Industrial employment in Delhi increased from 215 000 jobs in 1971 to 1 136 000 jobs in 1999 (3). Along with this, a large section of the population is also employed in the informal sector in activities such as distributing newspapers and selling vegetables. The spatial arrangement of social zones in Delhi shows distinct patches of lower-class housing in the outskirts and the innermost commercial areas. The innermost areas are characterized by high population density. These areas of Old Delhi have been declared slums because of their old, dilapidated, and obsolete structures. People of the lower classes reside at the outskirts in resettlement colonies built by the government, those in the elite class are mostly concentrated in the peripheral zones, and middle-class areas are dispersed all over the city.


Traffic patterns

Unlike most Indian cities, the traffic in Delhi is predominantly motorized vehicles. The road space is shared by at least seven different types of vehicles, each with different static and dynamic characteristics (Box 1). The proportion of fast- moving vehicles — especially light, fast vehicles — has increased dramatically over the years. In direction-wise, classified, traffic volume counts between 06:00 and 21:00. on a typical weekday, the Central Road Research Institute showed that cycle traffic contributes 13–34% of the total traffic on roads (4). A study by the Indian Institute of Technology of classified volume counts at 13 different locations in Delhi in 1993–94 showed that the share of non-motorized modes of transport ranged between 8% and 66%, of motorized two- wheelers between 22% and 55%, and of cars between 15% and 44% (5).




Mobility patterns

Nearly 32% of all commuter trips in Delhi are walking trips. Road-based public transport, including chartered buses, accounts for 42% of all trips. Of the total commuter trips, around 11% are by slow modes of transport, such as cycles and rickshaws, 5% by cars, and 12% by motorized two-wheelers. Table 1 shows the changing modal share of trips in Delhi between 1957 and 1994. The share of trips by motorized two- wheelers increased significantly from 1981; during the same period, the share of bicycle trips declined considerably. The decline in overall share of bicycle trips does not reflect reduced demand for bicycles because, as the population has increased, the absolute number of bicycles on the road has also increased.



Recent sample surveys from the resettlement and unauthorized colonies and the jhuggi jhopri clusters (in which 60–70% of the population is estimated to live) indicate that these citizens still depend largely on walking (19%) and cycling (38%) to get to work (Table 2). The average modal share for the whole city in 1999 (Table 2) was calculated based on the following assumptions. The total population of Delhi is 13 million, and 60% (7.8 million people, or 1.4 million households with an average household size of 5.6 people) have low incomes (<2000 rupees per month). The remaining 40% (5.2 million people, or 1 million households) belong to high-income groups. In 1994, the trip rate including walking trips was 1.13 per capita and including mechanical modes of transport only was 0.79 per capita. These rates are estimated to have increased to 1.8 and 1.2 per capita, respectively, by 2000.



Estimated modal shares for the whole city in 1999 show very different trends compared with modal shares from 1957–94. The two most important factors that contribute to this change may be a rapid increase in the share of the low-income population and major changes in Delhi's bus system. The introduction of private buses that are more expensive than public buses and that might be financially out of the reach of many people resulted in a decline in the share of bus trips and an increase in the number of bicycle trips.


Transport land-use relation

Figure 1 presents a simplified model of the relation between transport and activity system. Transport system includes modes of transport, different technologies of transport, the infrastructure, institutional set-up, and policies concerned with transport system. The activity system consists of the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of the region. It also includes land-use policies and characteristics. In other words, activity system determines the demand for travel, and transport system determines the supply to fulfil the current demand.



Transport systems are disaggregated and consider modes of transport as private motorized vehicles, public motorized vehicles, and non-motorized vehicles. Activity systems also are disaggregated, but by income groups. Socioeconomic and physical characteristics of land-use patterns tend to be homogeneous for people of similar income levels. Activity systems are modelled as overlapping or interconnected subsystems — one for each income level in the society. The transport network involves several levels of flow: that is, the vehicles and modes of travel have very different characteristics. Each mode has different requirements for efficient and safe movement. The various types of flow have not only different but often conflicting requirements: for example, buses need frequent stops to pick up and drop off passengers, but private cars need uninterrupted movement. If the public transport system and private cars have to use the same infrastructure, a decision has to be made on whether the design should focus on bus transport or on fulfilling the needs of car owners.

Fig. 1 shows a feedback loop from a flow subsystem to a transport system as well as an activity system. The types of flows should determine the characteristics of transport systems and the modes and infrastructures required in the future, as well as the land-use patterns and the spatial and temporal spread of activities. After this, future improvements in transport systems should be such that they can fulfil the varied demands of various flows. For example, if cars face congested conditions, and pedestrians inconvenient and unsafe road designs, future improvements to road designs should address both of these concerns.

Similarly, planning of land use should reflect the demands of people with low incomes (shorter distances to travel and high-density mixed land use) as well as the demands of people with higher incomes (low-density large residential plots, infrastructure for private vehicles, etc.). As shown in Fig. 1, however, the feedback loop has a filter. The policy-makers, decision-makers, and "technical experts" weigh up the various options and the trade-offs involved and permit only a few flow patterns to be fed into the overall transportation and activity system. Often transport and land-use policies are designed to address the concerns of people in high-income groups who are dependent on private motorized vehicles. Although 30–70% of the residents in many low-income cities are dependent on informal sector work, the relation between the formal and informal sectors is poorly understood. Often a job in the formal sector requires services provided by the informal sector: each high-income household is dependent on between five and six low-income households for various services. Formal plans do not take into account these relations, however, and a very visible informal sector comprising low-income households is viewed as encroaching on the city. A large proportion of the population that is dependent on the informal sector and on walking, bicycling, and public transport has to face hardships created by inappropriate policies. This is evident from the policies adopted in Delhi in recent years.

Our process of transportation planning creates safe environments for some at the cost of others. Is it possible to resolve this conflict?


Health impacts

Air pollution and traffic injuries are the two most important adverse impacts of transport land-use policies. Increased air pollution in Delhi — which affects the health of all citizens, rich and poor equally — has become a major public concern, as is evident from the policies and investment patterns in the city, and has been recognized as a public health issue. Recent land-use policies and transport policies have been focussed towards addressing air pollution in Delhi.

Land-use policies

Two important aspects of land-use policies in the recent past included the relocation of 90 000 industrial units from the city centre for reasons related to pollution and the resettlement of poor people evicted from their original location to the city's outskirts.

The relocation of industrial units may have reduced pollution in the city; however, almost 50 000 people lost their source of income and have faced immense hardships. The court instituted a rehabilitation package for the affected population, but implementation has been very weak and largely remained on paper only. Similarly, the unprecedented large- scale evictions of people from unauthorized and illegal constructions in Delhi from the year 2000 have affected poor people — who are the most vulnerable. The people of the slum communities in Delhi are being removed from their places of self-created living to yield space for six major development projects backed by judicial activism and initiated by the rich and the middle class. Plans to turn Delhi into a clean city seek to evict the poor to the outskirts in favour of commercial complexes, flyovers, recreational parks, and roads for the well off.

The report of the Habitat International Coalition showed that the relocations conducted since 1975 have created a number of irresolute social problems (6). It observed that Delhi has a history of illegal and forced eviction and an equally long history of migration into the city. The city needs cheap labour for menial jobs to keep production costs low and maintain the standard of living of the better off — and the poor are the source of that labour. As the city expands and its land increases in commercial value, the "unpropertied" poor are pushed to the periphery. In this way, they are the first to subsidize the current development process at the cost of their own access to regular employment and livelihood opportunities, education, health care, and other social necessities. Since 2000, more than 100 000 jhuggies in Delhi have been displaced 10–25 km away from their original location. This not only reduced opportunities for employment but also increased dependence on motorized transport that is often too expensive for households that survive on limited casual income from the informal sector. Longer pedestrian and bicycle trips also increase the risk of road traffic injuries.

Transport policies

The Government of India in 1997 prepared a white paper on pollution in Delhi (7). Subsequently, the Environmental Pollution Control Authority was set up for the city and suggested measures to reduce vehicular pollution (Box 2). These measures do not consider the second major health impact of transport and land-use policies — traffic injuries. In Delhi, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorized two-wheelers are involved in 75% of the total fatal road traffic crashes (8). Because bicyclists and pedestrians continue to share the road space with motorized vehicles, which include buses, cars, three-wheelers, and scooters, in the absence of infrastructure specifically designed for them, bicyclists and pedestrians are at high risk of being involved in road traffic crashes.



Fig. 2 shows the rates of road traffic fatalities in Delhi from 1990 to 1999. Pedestrians constituted the largest share of total fatalities. Most alarming was the trend for this share to increase over the years, while those of other groups either remained constant or declined. Buses and trucks were involved in >60% of fatal crashes. On two- and three-lane roads, fatalities during peak hours were low but not eliminated. On the other hand, during non-peak hours, vehicles that travel at >50 km/h killed a large number of pedestrians and bicyclists (9). The top ten locations for fatal accidents in Delhi are all on major arterial roads on straight stretches and at intersections; such fatalities predominantly involve pedestrians (6).



In Delhi, a major conflict exists between speed and trends in fatalities. Average speed has declined over the years, but congestion on the roads in Delhi is worsening, despite several local, road-improvement programmes. Average speed during peak periods ranges between 10 and 15 km/h in central areas and 21 and 39 km/h on arterial roads. As average speeds decrease, the number of fatalities would be expected to decrease — the number of total fatalities does show a marginal decline; however, the share of pedestrian fatalities continues to rise.

The decline in average speed of motor vehicles and the pollution levels in Delhi seem to be the two most important factors to influence the type of investment in road infrastructure in the city. The safety and mobility needs of most road users — pedestrians and bus commuters — are not considered in future improvement plans. This has two major impacts on the city traffic and travel patterns. First, the share of pedestrian and public transport trips as a percentage of total trips has decreased over the years. In both cases, the people who walk and use public transport despite the hostile environment only do so because they have no other option. Second, the socioeconomic context of our cities means that pedestrians cannot be removed and motorized vehicles thus are forced to share the road space with pedestrians, which results in suboptimal conditions for all road users.

The different impacts of policies aimed at reducing pollution and congestion in Delhi are discussed below.

Effect of expressways, wide roads, and grade-separated junctions

Detailed plans for an 8-km expressway and 35 grade-separated junctions were approved recently by the government. Construction of expressways through or around cities and grade-separated junctions may encourage higher speeds, increased use of private vehicles, and longer trips. Higher speeds result in increases in the incidence and severity of crashes, unless special countermeasures are put in place to control injuries. Often, very small increases in speeds can result in large increases in deaths and injuries. This increase in risk has the greatest effect on pedestrians and bicyclists.

Wide roads, expressways (especially elevated sections), and grade-separated junctions also divide the urban landscape into separate zones, and it is very difficult for people to cross these arterial roads on foot or with other non-motorized modes of transport. This discourages the use of public transport, as commuters who use buses must cross roads at least twice for every round trip — at the origin and the destination.

Numerous experiences from very different locations suggest that the construction of more high capacity roads can unintentionally reduce the use of public transport and bicycles without increasing vehicle speeds or reducing congestion on city roads (10, 11). Reductions in bus and bicycle use would result in higher pollution levels and possible increases in traffic congestion. No detailed studies have been done to understand the effect of these changes on the behaviour of road users in cities of low-income countries. In such countries, the construction of high-capacity roads at the expense of facilities for public transport and non-motorized traffic could make the situation worse for everyone by resulting in more congestion for motorized traffic, a higher risk of accidents for non-motorized traffic, and reductions in public transport and non-motorized traffic.

Metro rail systems

The Delhi Government considers construction of metro rail systems as an important countermeasure to reduce congestion and pollution. A rail line 8.3 km in length was opened to the public on 25 December 2002. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation repeatedly said that once the metro was completed the number of buses, environmental pollution, and the number of road traffic crashes would reduce. A careful look at the details tells a different story, however. At present, Delhi Transport Corporation runs at least 650 bus routes in the city. A metro system of 200 km could not match the catchment area covered by an extensive bus system such as that of Delhi Transport Corporation. Environmental pollution and the number of traffic accidents would be reduced only if the road design changed and if lower average speeds at non-peak hours could be ensured on the city's roads.

Phasing out of older buses

Phasing out of older buses to reduce air pollution can result in higher operating expenses and increases in costs for bus users. A study from Delhi showed that 3% of the passengers on the city's bus services own cars and 18% own scooters and motorcycles (12). About 11% of the bus users in Delhi travel by private chartered buses that assure them a seat in return for monthly contract tickets. These bus users have, on average, higher incomes than those who use the city's bus service, and 11% of them own cars and 44% motorcycles and scooters. At present, the average cost for these commuters is about 7 rupees (US$ 0.18) per trip: this is close to the cost of running a motorcycle for 10 km. It is possible, therefore, that an increase in fares might mean that many commuters decide to use their personal modes of transport. This would be particularly true of those who own scooters and motorcycles, as the running costs for these vehicles are relatively low. Increased use of these vehicles could offset the environmental advantages of using less-polluting buses.

Phasing out of older buses or increasing the cost of buses for other reasons could result in increased pollution and accident rates, so the willingness of commuters to pay higher costs must be analysed carefully. Such policies might be successful only if the costs to passengers for using buses remain reasonable and if the use of personal vehicles is still perceived as very inconvenient. If the cost of cleaner buses is such that the fares that can be recovered from passengers are not enough to run the bus system, methods must be found to raise adequate funds from the population of the city concerned.

In view of recently implemented measures and current investment priorities, certain trends are expected if older buses are phased out.

• Increased use of private vehicles.

• Increased use of cars and scooters by high- and middle-income households.

• Increased dependency of low-income households on cycling and walking despite hostile conditions.

• Decreased use of buses because of reduced fleet size and increased cost.

• Increased numbers of road traffic crashes because of higher speeds at few locations, although average corridor speed may not change significantly.

The first three trends have already been seen in comparisons of the travel patterns in 1999 and 1994.



On the one hand, policy-makers are concerned about growing congestion and pollution. At the same time, transport policies continue to encourage use of private vehicles. Delhi has "captive users" for buses and non-motorized vehicles, who, despite the hostile environment, continue to walk, bicycle, or use overcrowded buses, because their survival in the city depends on them making such trips. To maintain the shares of affordable and environment-friendly modes of transport in the city, introduction of commuter-friendly systems must take priority over the introduction of clean technologies. Infrastructures for pedestrians should be created to ensure safe approaches to bus stops, and road usage for public transport vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists should be prioritized. Streets and bus stops should be made friendly for "hawkers", or street vendors, who provide essential services to a range of road users ignored by the formal sector. Cycle repairs, cold drinks, and snacks provided by street hawkers serve the same function as well-designed service areas along highways. The differences are the speed of users and, therefore, the frequency and density of service providers. Clearance of encroachments along streets often implies prohibition of street hawkers, which not only removes employment opportunities for people but also creates desolate streets that are vulnerable to street crimes. In such areas, even essential activities are carried out in fear, and the use of public transport and non-motorized modes of transport is reduced.

Clearly, trade-offs exist between reducing congestion and air pollution and ensuring safety and mobility for all. The most vulnerable groups in the context of socioeconomic conditions are also those who would face the adverse health impacts of transport policies. Clean air policies and policies that address congestion of motorized vehicles, that do not address the needs of the vulnerable, and that are not integrated within overall developmental policies will not only fail to deliver the desired results but will also impose an unacceptable cost on society.



Much of Delhi's growth in population has resulted from low-income people who have migrated from rural areas and surrounding states. Most migrants come in search of better employment and higher income opportunities, but because of the acute scarcity of housing and infrastructure, many erect shelters on public land and other vacant land. Almost half of Delhi's residents are estimated to live in slums and squatter settlements (1), with all the attendant problems of water supply, sewage disposal, transportation, housing, electricity, schooling, health, and sanitation.

Despite the existence of a planning authority and of state and municipal level agencies that are responsible for preparing and implementing the land-use transport master plan, the work zones have not been implemented as envisaged in the official Delhi Master Plan. One of the major shortfalls of the planning process has been the complete absence of consultation with and active participation of neighbourhood communities. In addition, lack of coordination among the different agencies responsible for planning, construction, and maintenance of the city's infrastructure has exacerbated the problems faced by the citizens. In the last decade, the supreme court of India has played an active role in policies that effect transport. These policies often have focused on environmental concerns but have ignored the mobility needs of a large section of the population that is dependent on public transport and non-motorized transport.

Many Asian, African, and South American cities face similar problems, and they are governed by policies similar to those in Delhi. Many confront the tension between formal policies and the pressure of the informal sector. In the face of the growing demand for travel, concerns for safe mobility, and increasing levels of air pollution, cities in low-income countries are in the midst of various experiments and are groping for solutions. In this context, detailed comparisons of success and failures of travel and land-use policies between cities are needed. Health impact assessments and indicators would provide essential objective criteria for such comparisons and would help us to develop sustainable transport policies.

Conflicts of interest: none declared.



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1 Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, Hauz Khas, Delhi 110016, India (email: geetamt@hotmail.com)

World Health Organization Genebra - Genebra - Switzerland
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