In this Issue

Dear Readers,

As Promoting Low Carbon Transport in India enters its second year, we are happy to report that we are beginning to make progress towards our goal: creating a policy environment that is conducive to building sustainable transport systems in India. In this second edition of our project newsletter, we focus on cities, with an examination of the issues surrounding sustainable transport planning, and the tools the project offers to meet those challenges. In particular, we look at Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plans, which will be the focus of an upcoming capacity building workshop. In addition to news about our activities over the last year, this edition will also detail our plans for 2012, which include an assessment of the Indian transport sector, a framework for climate proofing transport infrastructure, and a study of Indian fuel efficiency policy, and continued capacity-building activities.

Articles in this newsletter include:

    • Information about an upcoming capacity building training session that will focus on Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plans at the India Habitat Centre from 11 - 13 April , 2012.

    • An introduction to Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plans (LCMPs), a key element of the Low Carbon Transport in India project and a valuable urban planning tool. The project will create LCMPs for up to four Indian cities.

    • A special feature article: A look at the challenges facing transport planners in Indian cities, and a call for a new planning paradigm for sustainable, low-carbon transport systems.

    • The outcomes of a three-day stakeholder’s consultation workshop held in New Delhi, India from October 18–20, 2011, where participants shared preliminary results and discussed sustainability indicators, assessments, and methodologies.

    • A new 8-page colour brochure that provides an overview of the project, as well as a rundown of potential outcomes and recent milestones. Readers can download the brochure from the project website.

Launched in November 2010, Promoting Low Carbon Transport in India is a collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of India and the International Climate Initiative of Germany (ICI).

We hope this second edition of our project newsletter will be useful and informative, and invite you to continue visiting for the latest news and events.

Yours Sincerely,

Rob de Jong,
Head, UNEP Transport unit.


Three-Day Training Session on Developing Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plans in New Delhi

Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plans (LCMPs) will be the focus of a capacity building training session at the India Habitat Centre from
11 - 13 April, 2012. Generating LCMPs is a process that involves , and follows a methodology developed by project partners at a previous workshop. The training session is designed to familiarise stakeholders with the LCMP approach. Consultants and officials from are invited to attend, as are others not directly associated with the process. A wide range of topics will be discussed during the training, which will be led by project partners and international experts.

The first day will include a high-level stakeholder dialogue session with the Ministry of Urban Development, national policy makers, and city commissioners. Presentations will be made on both financial and technical aspects, illustrated with examples from around the world.The second and third day will include training on the LCMP methodology. During both days, consultants and representatives of participating cities will be encouraged to share their experiences. Click to view the draft agenda.

 India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plans-a New Approach to Meeting Urban Transport Needs

A key element of Promoting Low Carbon Transport in India is the development of Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plans (LCMPs) in up to four Indian cities. Building on the methodology used to prepare Comprehensive Mobility Plans (CMPs), a step-by-step approach is used to develop LCMPs. The first step is to understand future mobility demand and how it will be met if business-as-usual policies are followed. The next step uses four sustainable strategies-public transport, non-motorised transport, urban structure, and technological change-to simultaneously meet mobility needs and improve the environment, equity and safety. The final step is to evaluate if these strategies help achieve the goals of India´s overall climate strategy. If these sustainable strategies fall short of this vision, then a backcasting approach is used to identify additional necessary measures. So far, three cities, namely Visakhapatnam, Rajkot and Ludhiana have expressed interest in developing LCMPs.

City Missions

In December 2011, UNEP Risoe Centre (URC) carried out two city missions in collaboration with Indian partners. The first was to Visakhapatnam, a city located on the southeastern coast of India. Vizag, as it is popularly referred to, is the seventh largest city in India and has a population that is growing even faster than other Indian cities. As a result, there is an urgent need to expand urban infrastructure to meet residents´ mobility needs.

The LCMP approach is both timely and appropriate for Vizag. Led by Commissioner Sh. B Ramanjaneyulu, municipal authorities organised a city stakeholders´ meeting. URC and the Indian Institute of Technlogy (IIT), Delhi made a presentation illustrating the LCMP approach and answered questions from the audience. In the afternoon, discussions were held with the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between URC and GVMC. An agreement was reached and the MoU was finalised for executive approval. The MoU was subsequently signed by the commissioner on 23 February, 2012. A newspaper article on development of the LCMP for the city was published in the local paper. To view this article, please click on the link below:

The second mission was to Rajkot, a city located in the west of India. The city has a strong industrial base and is experiencing rapid growth. Lead by Commissioner Sh. Ajay Bhadoo, the municipal authorities organised a meeting of city stakeholders. URC and CEPT University in Ahmedabad made a presentation on the LCMP approach and answered questions from the audience. The stakeholders had already approved the MoU, which was then signed by the commissioner.

Commissioner Sh. Ajay Bhadoo, Signing the MOU between
Rajkot and URC, for the Development of a LCMP

Challenges for Low Carbon Transport in Indian Cities

Feature Article by Prof. Geetam Tiwari
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi

The aim of transport planning is to provide safe mobility for all. But in order to achieve this goal, transport planners must define who they mean by “all″and what their needs are. It is essential to consider the travel patterns of all city residents, regardless of their socio-economic group. This includes understanding where people live, work, go for recreation, etc.

An alternative planning paradigm is required for sustainable low-carbon transport systems. The key difference between conventional transport planning and this alternative approach is the priority the latter gives to people and environment. It takes into account the mobility needs of the diverse user groups in Indian cities. This requires viewing streets as public space, rather than as space dominated by private cars.

One of the common mistakes made in conventional transport planning today is conversion of general travel demand (comprising of all kinds of people, and utilizing all kinds of transport modes) into equivalent Passenger Car Units (PCU). Road width is then determined based on estimated PCU volume. Thus, road widening is seen as a solution to congestion. But in reality, congestion is a problem that mainly concerns car users who are a minority on Indian streets.
Indian city streets are filled with para-transit vehicles, bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles that share the streets with pedestrians. Cities have mixed land use patterns; there is a large disparity of income in the same geographical space. This situation calls for a different approach to urban transport planning.

                                    A Busy Street at Mehdipatnam, India © UNEP - Kanthi Kannan Kannan

Indian cities are also characterized by a large ‘ informal,´ but very active and productive population. Estimates show that 30 to 50 percent of residents in certain cities live in ‘ informal´ or ‘ illegal´ settlements. These populations fall outside the formal planning paradigm, and for all practical purposes are obliged to plan for themselves. Yet they are essential service providers and have a symbiotic relationship with the ‘ formal´ sector. Today´s planners must recognize this sector as an integral part of the urban landscape and include it in their plans.

Vendors, for example, are omnipresent in Indian streets, and for good reason. Vending activities are actually demand driven: vendors provide essential services to pedestrians, cyclists and people using
public transport. They´re indispensible and must be an integral part of any public transport system in India.

Transportation planning requires establishing a hierarchy where pedestrians and cyclists (the most vulnerable group) are at the top and car users at the bottom. To do this, planners need to assess the impact of their decisions on safety, socio-economic issues, and the environment. Among other things, transport planners need to change their fascination with speed. Instead of simply trying to reduce travel time by increasing speeds, planners need to develop ways of facilitating manageable speeds that meet the various criteria mentioned above.

                                                                   Cycling in Ahmedabad, India

In India, smaller cities manifest the highest use of low-carbon transport (walking, bicycles, and para-transit systems). However, low carbon modes do not disappear in medium-sized or even big cities. India´s current transport scenario is, in fact, substantially low-carbon. The challenge is to retain this share, and then, to increase it. In medium-sized cities, a large number of people use two-wheelers, which are highly flexible and cost-effective. In the future, motorized urban transport will be dominated by these two-wheelers, which will pose huge challenges for public and sustainable transport planners. The latter in India need to acknowledge this fact and devise a system that can compete with the mobility provided by two-wheelers. Urban planners and transport planners must work together to find a solution to this continuing challenge.

Stakeholders´ Consultation Workshop in New Delhi

Laying the groundwork for the next phase of Promoting Low Carbon Transport in India, a three-day stakeholder´s consultation workshop was held in New Delhi, India from 18-20 October, 2011. The
project´s preliminary results were shared with workshop participants, who also discussed sustainability indicators, assessments, and methodologies.

                             A Banner for the October Stakeholders Consultation Workshop, displayed
                                           at the  Front Entrance of the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Sustainability Indicators

Using the results of an expert workshop held in Ahmedabad in August, 2011, as well as feedback from an online survey conducted in October, participants fine tuned sustainability indicators on both a macro and micro scale. Macro indicators will be used in conjunction with national scenarios, while micro indicators will be used at the city level by city managers and consultants. Participants employed a three-stage process that resulted in the identification of 17 macro indicators. The same results were also used to develop a final list of micro indicators that included modal shares, travel time, trip length, land use parameters, infrastructure quality, ease and comfort, safety, and security, among others.
Drawing a Roadmap

One of the presentations during the workshop was a low carbon transport assessment methodology based on an integrated modeling system. Two scenarios for this methodology were discussed. The “Conventional″ scenario followed the supply-side and climate-centric approach. The “Sustainable″scenario followed a development-centric approach that aligns climate stabilization measures with national development goals. Energy efficiency, modal shift, urban design and behavioral changes were important for both scenarios, though they were more present in the Sustainable scenario. In the Conventional scenario, nuclear energy and end-of-the-pipe solutions like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) had greater impact.

    Strategies for Reducing Emissions from Transport

Methodology for Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plans (LCMPs)

Participants agreed that the methodology for city LCMPs contains several elements that need to be consistent with national level assessments, including technological choices, investment requirements, access and affordability. The challenge is to align local, national and global policies; short-term actions and long-term goals; and macro and micro perspectives.

Transport Interventions in India - Are They Sustainable?

The workshop examined recent transport interventions in India and how to measure their success in terms of sustainability. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems was the subject of one of these discussions, which looked at two different studies: a quick overview of the BRT experience in Indian cities, and a detailed assessment of BRT in Ahmedabad. The latter is in the process of being conducted through surveys of travel needs for the urban poor and other vulnerable groups. These surveys will be used to make recommendations for a better, more inclusive transport system.

    Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Systems in Indian Cities

The Delhi Metro, which was commissioned in 2002, is one of the most successful metro systems in India. Currently accounting for 4 to 5 percent of trips in the city, the metro benefits from various subsidies and tax exemption schemes, but still faces significant challenges. These include high capital, operational, and maintenance costs; displacement of households and businesses; and permanent structural changes (elevated metro) that impact the landscape.

                                    A Map of the Delhi Metro Rail Network [Click hereto view map]

Wrapping Up: Sustainability and Mobility

By the end of the workshop discussions, it became clear that when analyzing a transport system, the needs and socio-economics of different urban communities must be taken into account. Other important issues include the disaggregated state of the urban transport sector in medium size cities, and the need to promote and implement sustainable transport systems in light of the fact that 75 percent of JNNURM phase 2 funding will be allocated to urban roads. Fortunately, there is a wide range of viable solutions for sustainable, low carbon transport in India. The challenge lies in promoting these solutions and making them a reality on the ground.

Project Brochure-Spreading the Word about Low Carbon Transport

Last November, a project brochure was launched at COP 17 in Durban. Originally developed after the October stakeholders´ workshop, the brochure was distributed during the Durban meeting as well as at several events and meetings since then, including a side event at the 12th Special Session of
UNEP´s Governing Council, Global Ministerial Environmental Forum (GC/GMEF) that took place in February 2012.

The eight-page colour brochure includes a general overview of Promoting Low Carbon Transport in India and a rundown of potential outcomes and recent milestones. The booklet also provides informative charts and photos, contact information and a list of members of the steering committee. Click to download a copy of the brochure.

Project Brochure

Upcoming Events in 2012

2012 is a key year for Low Carbon Transport in India. The following reports and project results will be released:

1. Integrated Assessment of the Transport Sector in India

The second largest contributor of CO2 emissions in India, the transport sector is also the country´s largest consumer of fossil fuels and is responsible for traffic congestion, air and noise pollution, road fatalities, among other impacts. This report assesses the Indian transport sector for the period spanning 2010 to 2050 for both business-as-usual and low carbon scenarios using an integrated modelling framework. The assessment employs scenario methodology for policy analysis and summarizes the scenarios using a number of sustainability indicators.

2. Framework for Climate Proofing of Transport Infrastructure

Transport infrastructures like roads, railways, ports, and undergrounds are all long-term assets, therefore understanding the impact of climate change on these assets in the long run is very important. This framework will help policy makers understand how changes in temperature, rainfall, sea level and other areas can impact transport infrastructure projects.

3. Fuel Efficiency Policy Study in India

The objectives of this fuel economy study are to map current vehicle technologies and policy environment, and to conduct an analysis of future emissions from passenger and freight transport. The study will examine how technological characteristics can be influenced to move towards a sustainable transport system. These objectives will be achieved through:

    • Mapping current passenger and freight vehicular technology (in terms of make and vintage) to parameterize fuel efficiency and emission loads;
    • Mapping current policy environment for fuels, vehicles and infrastructures; and
    • Analysing future emissions.

Related Partner Presentations linked to the Project

  1. The 17th Asia-Pacific Integrated Model (AIM) International Workshop
    National Institute for Environment Studies, Tsukuba, Japan, February 17-19, 2012
    “Low Carbon Society in Asia: Activities in India ″
    Prof P .R. Shukla, IIM, Ahmedabad

  2. Low Carbon Society in Asia: from Planning to Implementation
    Durban, South Africa, December 2, 2011
    “ Implementing Low Carbon Strategy (LCS) Options: Transport Sector in India″
    Prof P. R. Shukla, IIM, Ahmedabad

  3. Transition towards low carbon societies in a changing world Side Event
    Durban, South Africa, November 29, 2011
    “ Choosing between Low or High Carbon Intensive Development Patterns: What is the Rationale?″
    Prof P. R. Shukla, IIM, Ahmedabad

  4. International Research Network for Low Carbon Societies (LCS-RNet) 3rd Annual Meeting
    Paris, October 14, 2011
    “ Urban Dynamics, Mobility and Consumption Styles: The Rationale for “ Leapfrogging″ in Developing and Emerging Countries″
    Prof P. R. Shukla, IIM, Ahmedabad

  5. Clean and Sustainable Mobility for All: An Agenda for Reforms
    New Delhi, 28-29 September, 2011
    “ Preliminary Assessment of Bus Rapid Transit Systems in Urban India″
    Prof. Darshini Mahadevia, Prof. Rutul Joshi and Abhijit Datey, CEPT University

  6. Sub Regional Environmental Sustainable Transport (EST) Training Workshop and Policy Dialogue in South Asia
    Ahmedabad, India, 26-28 August, 2011
    “Transport Equity″
    Prof. Darshini Mahadevia, CEPT University


  1. Macro Indicators for Low Carbon Transport in India
  2. City Level Indicators: Promoting Low Carbon Transport in Indian Cities
  3. BRT Case Studies: New Delhi, Pune, Jaipur, Indore and Ahmedabad (To be uploaded soon)
  4. Metro Case studies: New Delhi including the Airport Link, Bangalore and Chennai
    (To be uploaded soon)

For further information on the Project, Please contact:

At UNEP At UNEP Risoe Centre

Kamala Ernest
Programme Officer

Subash Dhar
Senior Economist


Margie Rynn, UNEP

Design & Layout

Henry Kibocha, UNEP


Prof. Geetam Tiwari, IIT, Delhi
Subash Dhar, URC
Jorge Rogat, URC
Kamala Ernest, UNEP
Annemarie Kinyanjui, UNEP