In the bustling city of Bengaluru, the demand for public transport has increased significantly due to the city’s rapid growth and population expansion. The city’s rapid growth has led to an increase in travel needs, creating a demand for public transport. However, the city’s mobility sector faces several challenges, including dependence on private vehicles, insufficient public transport, and high pollution levels. Despite this, many challenges remain unresolved, including dependence on private vehicles, insufficient public transport, and high pollution levels. To address these issues, Bengaluru is shifting its focus towards sustainable and inclusive mobility systems.
As per International Energy Agency, Road transport presently accounts for 12% of India’s energy-related CO2 emissions and is a key contributor to urban air pollution. As India seeks to meet the increasing demand for private mobility and the transport of goods, energy use and CO2 emissions from road transport could double by 2050.
As Bengaluru finds itself at the precipice of transformative change, the blog sets out to examine the potential of public transport and the integration of electric vehicles as catalysts for fostering energy conservation.
Bengaluru’s Mobility Scenario
Bengaluru, once known as a pensioner’s paradise and a city of lakes, is now the Silicon Valley of India and one of the largest metropolitan cities in the country. The city’s rapid growth and population expansion have led to an increase in travel needs, creating a demand for public transport. However, the city’s mobility sector faces several challenges, including dependence on private vehicles, insufficient public transport, and high pollution levels. The city’s low social and ecological ratings are largely due to these issues.
As per study conducted by CSTEP, transportation is responsible for approx 51% of pollution in Bengaluru. The studies pointed to possible measures like the increase in mode share of public transportation, diesel particulate filter installation in trucks and blanket ban on open waste burning that can reduce concentration of pollution in the city by up to 26.5%.
In the past two decades, Bengaluru has undergone a striking transformation in its vehicular landscape, experiencing an unprecedented surge in the number of vehicles. According to data from the Bengaluru Traffic Police, the city now boasts an alarming statistic of one vehicle for every two individuals navigating its roads, underscoring the magnitude of the vehicular influx. The severity of the situation is further illuminated by the TomTom Traffic Index of 2022, which ranked Bengaluru as the second-worst traffic-congested city globally.
Public Transport as a Catalyst for Change:
Source: Bengaluru Commuter Study, 2023
To address these challenges, Bengaluru is shifting its focus from “predict and provide” road infrastructure to mass transit systems, electric vehicles, sustainable development models, and shared mobility. This shift in focus is a significant step towards creating a more sustainable and inclusive mobility system.
Efficient and well-connected public transport systems, such as buses and the metro, can significantly reduce the number of private vehicles on the road, curbing traffic congestion and lowering emissions. Initiatives to improve last-mile connectivity and enhance the frequency of services are crucial in making public transport a more attractive option for commuters.
As per Personal2Public campaign- Bengaluru Commuter Study, conducted by B.PAC & WRI India, 95% of the respondents who are private vehicle users stated their willingness to shift to the metro. Around 70% of the respondents said they will shift immediately when the metro is connected to their home and work location.
The Role of Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles play a crucial role in Bengaluru’s efforts to shift to sustainable mobility. Karnataka State is the first Indian state to adopt an electric vehicle policy. This policy not only benefits Bengaluru but also sets a precedent for other states in India to adopt similar policies.
According to a recent study conducted by CSTEP titled ‘Bengaluru 2030: Impact of EVs on Vehicular Emissions,’ the electrification of vehicles emerges as the most practical strategy to combat vehicular greenhouse gas emissions in the city. The study highlights the significant environmental benefits of this shift, emphasizing a substantial reduction in urban pollution sources such as particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and black carbon (BC). The projections outlined in the study indicate a noteworthy transformation in Bengaluru’s vehicular landscape by 2030. The expected surge in the electric vehicle (EV) fleet, projected to grow from 75,000 to an impressive 2.34 million by 2030. This growth is anticipated across various vehicle categories, with the most substantial increase foreseen in the number of two-wheelers, followed by three and four-wheelers.
Energy Conservation and the Transportation Industry
The transportation industry is responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. As per UN, The transport sector accounted for 57% of global oil demand and 28% of total energy consumption. Between 2000-2019, transport CO2 rose in all regions, except Europe where they fell 2%. The use of electric vehicles can significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed by the transportation industry. For example, electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, which can lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, this industry plays a vital role in the fight against climate change. However, the industry can also contribute to energy conservation through the use of electric vehicles and other sustainable mobility options. The use of electric vehicles can significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed by the transportation industry, leading to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
B.PAC, in collaboration with organizations such as Personal2Public and WRI India, has been at the forefront of driving initiatives to promote sustainable urban mobility in Bengaluru. Recognizing the need for transformative changes in transportation, B.PAC has undertaken various impactful measures. B.PAC’s B.MOBILE initiative also conducted comprehensive social media campaigns focusing on the Active Mobility Bills, advocating for sustainable transportation modes like cycling and walking. In addition, there has been a concerted effort to raise awareness about the significance of efficient public transport systems, particularly the metro.. As part of their commitment to understanding the needs of Bengaluru’s commuters, B.PAC conducted the Bengaluru Commuter Survey, shedding light on the preferences and priorities of the city’s residents. The survey underscored the crucial role of public transportation modes, such as buses and metro, in addressing the city’s mobility challenges.
Last but Not the Least
The urgency for change in Bengaluru’s mobility landscape and energy consumption patterns cannot be overstated. The adverse effects of climate change are already evident, and the city’s residents must recognize their collective responsibility to reverse these trends. Bengaluru is making significant strides towards creating a sustainable and inclusive mobility system. The city’s efforts to shift to mass transit systems, electric vehicles, and sustainable development models are not only beneficial for the city’s environment but also for its residents. By focusing on these areas, Bengaluru is setting a precedent for other cities in India to adopt similar policies and practices. As we move forward, let’s continue to explore new and innovative ways to enhance urban mobility and conserve energy.