Proliferation of Cars in Indian Cities: Let Us Not Ape the West
India currently has about 15 million cars, which is equivalent to 13 cars per 1,000 population. While this by itself is not high, it has to be noted that it is a national average and some cities like Delhi, Chennai, and Coimbatore have more than 100 cars per 1,000 population. Different estimates show that the number of cars in India will increase to about 35 cars per 1,000 population by 2025. This would amount to about 45-60 million cars on our roads and in some cities more than 300 cars per 1,000 population. This exponential growth in the number of cars will have serious implications for energy security, air pollution, road safety, equitable allocation of road space and will accentuate problems related to parking and congestion, which many of our cities have already started witnessing. These externalities make it necessary for us to explore whether economic growth can be decoupled from car ownership and the mobility needs of India's citizens addressed without becoming more car dependent like the West. The policy brief focuses on the issue of increasing car dependence in our cities and suggests policy measures necessary to move towards a path of sustainable mobility.