In cities across India, it's not only the traffic that can cause headaches. While transport is the country's fourth largest source of emissions, current transport systems are also linked to poor air quality in the majority of Indian cities, noise pollution and traffic. This causes significant disruptions to business and daily life but is not unique to India - many countries around the world face similar challenges. As e-mobility options increasingly rise to prominence, there are innovative solutions that can make these problems a thing of the past.
The CapaCITIES project is helping multiple Indian cities and states implement climate action at scale by designing holistic and resilient climate action plans and supporting implementation and financing of climate actions. One of the key findings of the project is that transitioning to e-mobility is one of the best ways to tackle transport system problems and that electric mobility must be a focal point for implementing climate action in cities. Not only does expanded e-mobility directly address transport emissions, it can also have multiple community benefits and a number of knock-on effects. Ultimately this helps cities chart a course towards low carbon economic development.
Multiple efforts to expand e-mobility in India have already been taken by central and state governments, such as the FAME II scheme of the Government of India and state-level EV policies focusing on demand-side adoption incentives and the development of charging infrastructure. While the schemes and policies have shown a marginal acceleration in the adoption of electric vehicles in larger cities like Delhi, adoption in smaller cities has been limited.
Outside of India's eight metropolises with million plus populations, smaller cities with populations up to one million make up a significant portion of transport emissions. Much of these emissions are attributable to prevalent two- and three-wheeled modes of transportation. While switching to e-transport can significantly lower these emissions, there are several major obstacles preventing adoption, including: awareness (myths), inadequate processes for setting up charging infrastructure, insufficient ecosystem services (service, resale, and dealer networks), a lack of financing and insufficient supportive policies. While the schemes and policies of central and state governments have largely been able to address price barriers to adoption with fiscal incentives, these other obstacles require localised policy or program interventions at the city level.
This is where the CapaCITIES project comes in. The team is currently working with eight Indian cities and two states in designing innovative climate resilient infrastructure projects like green mobility programs. While there are many obstacles, the raw potential and hunger for innovation is what will truly transform transport systems, air quality and millions of peoples' health. That's why we think it's time to face these challenges head on and speed on the transformation to healthy, livable cities with burgeoning green transport systems.
How can cities address the barriers listed above through local policies and programs? For many cities, a public-private partnership program can be a gamechanger towards addressing local barriers.
Urban local bodies, transport departments, traffic police, power distribution companies, and other city-affiliated stakeholders can focus on the following actions as part of a public-private partnership program:
The private sector, including vehicle manufacturers and charging infrastructure developers as well as their ecosystem partners (dealer & service networks, charging service providers, financiers, resale networks, etc.) and fleet operators (cab aggregators, freight aggregators, last mile delivery e-commerce companies, etc.) can focus on the following actions as part of a public-private partnership program:
Under such a public-private partnership program, the city can partner with multiple private sector stakeholders towards accelerating e-mobility transition in a technology neutral manner that takes into account the ever-evolving nature of EVs and charging technologies. A well-designed program would require the cooperation and participation of multiple government agencies such as regional transport offices (RTO), state transport departments, traffic police, the office of the district collector, tourism departments, and many others. A well-developed institutional framework is key, particularly one that establishes an empowered core committee with representation from key government departments that can oversee implementation with the city as the 'anchor department.'
Climate change is a global issue, but it is on-the-ground local action that is needed to make fundamental changes. The CapaCITIES team is presently working with eight Indian cities and two states in designing innovative green mobility programs, with the real potential for impact lying in the ability of other local governments to replicate and scale up these innovative approaches. The findings above represent the team's work through a series of primary assessments of local stakeholders in tier 2 (population less than 1 million) Indian cities, and the team is working closely with cities and state governments to enable wider replication of designed solutions.
“Please contact us for further information and guidance on city level e-mobility programs.”