In the dynamically transforming and evolving technological scenario of today, it is envisioned that the next-generation of transport systems will seamlessly integrate different technologies. This will require public-private cooperation along with devising new ways.

These improvements, when realized, would ease traffic congestion, lower road accidents and reduce pollution.

As per McKinsey and Bloomberg New Energy Finance 2016 report, there would be a rapid transition to advanced mobility solutions that would contribute colossal $600 billion dollars in societal benefits till 2030.

With this backdrop, the possibilities and benefits of alternative technologies for urban mobility in India were discussed at the 11th Urban Mobility India conference.

Arnaud Dauphin, Senior Transport Specialist, AFD Paris, said there are mainly 3 types of alternative technologies that AFD supports –Alternative systems to compliment MRT systems, which is being implemented in Kochi and Hyderabad; alternative solutions for cleaner transportation, whose example is installation of pilot charging solar stations in Puducherry; and alternative technologies for digitalization.

Dauphin also gave the examples of alternative mobility being used in Medellin, Colombia and Ecuador.

Digital mobility has multiple benefits. It optimizes existing mobility systems, improves monitoring and planning tools and nurtures a mobility ecosystem.

“Digital transport systems should be promoted for open data access, mapping informal public transportation, developing apps for multi-nodal operations”, added Dauphin.

Electrification of public transportation is also a way to reduce pollution and save fuel. But India needs to go a long way for even partial electrification of public road transport. Out of 3,85,000 electric buses in the world 99% run on Chinese roads, while in India there are only 30 electric buses. India needs to popularize electric transportation and incentivize it.

Anil Kumar Gupta, Director, Indian Ports Rail Corporation, said, “an environmentally friendly mass transport system is needed that can supplement the existing transport system in India”.

Ropeway cable car can ease congestion and provide a safe alternative transportation, he added.

In La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, there a huge problem of traffic gridlock due to high population density. Since the introduction of ropeway transport, the traffic problem has been eased and the ropeway system is systematic and a similar system could be replicated in India for short distance travel, added Gupta.

Urban ropeway is quite affordable and unobtrusive as compared to other modes of public transportation like metro.

Shomik Mehndiratta, Practice Manager Transport, World Bank, said that ridesharing companies are transforming transportation. And in future, the combination of emerging technologies would lead to more innovation in ridesharing.

In the nutshell, we can say that advanced mobility systems would significantly differ from any of the current systems and with increased consistency and serviceability; there would be an emphasis on both environmental and financial sustainability.  The alternative technologies would redefine transportation infrastructure and mark a radical shift in market trends and consumer behavior.

At the core of any transport system would be the individual traveler, so public willingness to embrace new systems is crucial. And this can be done only through awareness-building activities and making green mobility a keystone of transportation planning.

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