If city goes electric, CO2 pollution to reduce by 84%

Updated - October 28, 2017 11:45 pm IST

Published - October 28, 2017 11:44 pm IST - Bengaluru

If public transport is encouraged and private vehicles dissuaded, the city can see a staggering reduction in noxious gases produced by more than 84% in a little over a decade, shows a report on the transport sector by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.). As part of the Indo-Norwegian project, “Climatrans”, IISc. along with institutes from Norway and India sought to model the way the city commutes, and consequently, pollution generated in the process. As the vehicle population grows, and with little regulatory action (that is, continuing with “business as usual”), vehicles in the city will generate 1.89 million tonnes of carbon dioxide — one of the prime causes for global warming — annually by 2030.

However, the scenario will change drastically if a combination of policies are enforced, including increasing network coverage of public transport, creation of cycling and walking infrastructure, additional taxes on private vehicles, congestion pricing, and most importantly, encouraging buses and cars to be run entirely on electricity. In such a scenario, the city will be emitting just 0.29 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

“Our modelling shows that there is slight but significant reductions even without all vehicles being electric vehicles. We can reduce emissions by up to 4.3% through increasing public transport and taxing private vehicles. But, by stressing for electric vehicles, we can reduce emissions by 84% in 2030 and even 90% by 2050,” said Ashish Verma, Assistant Professor from the Department of Civil Engineering, IISc., who is the principal investigator for the project.

If stringent measures, including expanding public transport network and stringent steps of imposing congestion charges are taken, by 2030, nearly 56% of the more than 1.8 crore people in the Bengaluru metropolitan area will be travelling by bus or metro.

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) helmed Indo-Norwegian project, “Climatrans” — which hoped to model the growth of the city under certain policy measures — said implementing progressive policies can see a further 19.3% commuters either cycling or walking to their destinations, while just 18.5% will be using their private vehicles.

However, if nothing is done to encourage public transport, then 27.4% of the population will be using private vehicles — and hence, more congestion and more pollution — while around half the population will be using public transport.

Indian Institute of Science researchers and five other institutes from Norway and India collaborated to study how people’s commuting patterns can reduce emissions and change the air we breathe in Bengaluru Urban, Rural, and Ramanagaram.

To develop ways of mitigation, researchers had multiple meetings with the civic agencies, planning bodies, transport experts, and policy organisations to come up with planning, regulatory, economic, and technological policies.

The researchers further used multiple factors and data to come up with a model that would predict, with reasonable accuracy, the growth of the city.

From the demographics and mobility done in 2008 — in a survey of 15,000 households commissioned by the Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority — the researchers used traffic simulation, public transport figures, geo-spatial analysis, economic models for transportation among others to come up with scenarios for the years 2030 and 2050.

‘Model is robust’

“The model is robust as we tested the scenario with what we are observing now and it nearly tallies,” said Mr.Verma.

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