#5 Ways India is Taking the Lead in Transportation Sector Given the size and stage of development, India is set to take advantage of the developments in public transport.

By Brijraj Vaghani

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The last few years have witnessed rapidly evolving technology and business model aimed at transforming the global transportation sector in the years to come. New and fundamentally unique pathways are emerging to provide convenience as well as cost-effective mobility solutions and services for commuters around the globe.

India with its huge population is uniquely positioned to play a crucial role in this revolution. The number of people who resort to some form of organized transport on a daily basis stands at 125 million. Its public transport is one of the cheapest globally and yet it contributes to only 10% of the national GDP. Given the size and stage of development, India is set to take advantage of the developments in public transport.

The same can be done by deploying emerging technologies and designing them in a highly efficient manner. An integrated model of public as well as private transportation as well as the development of seamless rural connectivity presents not just a social but also a big economic opportunity.

Here are 5 ways India is taking a leap in transportation sector:

Push for Electric Vehicles: There is an aggressive push for Electric Vehicles as India has set an ambitious target of making all vehicles electric by 2030. Given the reducing prices of coal and solar energy, the push for electric make sense, it also helps reduce our dependence on petrol and save foreign exchange. The infrastructure like charging stations, battery packs etc will need to keep pace with the demand to make it a success.

Notably, many State Transport Units like those in Chandigarh and Manali have already started running a fleet of electric vehicles while some of the bigger state transport units like BEST, DTC, Thane Municipal Transport have already placed orders for Electric buses and will have them plying on the roads soon.

The Growth of Metro Rail: The initial success of Metro has given a great impetus to Metro Rail development around India. The 300 KM Delhi Metro ferries close to 3 million passengers daily while the 13 KM Mumbai Metro ferries close to 0.5 million passengers daily. We now have 33 cities which either have Metro rail running or under active construction. In fact, Delhi metro is expanding further and soon slated to be one the biggest Metro networks in Asia.

China saw an unprecedented growth in Metro Rail from 2000 -2017. India rightfully has decided that Metro Rail is the future of urban commute and which is reflecting in the heavy investments being made in its development.

Cashless Ticketing: 200 million train tickets were booked on IRCTC website amounting to total sales of USD 4.5 billion. This makes it one of the top 5 online commerce platforms in India.

Taking a leaf out of IRCTS many public transportation agencies have started enabling online/cashless transactions. All State Transport Undertakings and Private operators hauling InterCity buses enable booking tickets from their website or partner sites.

In the last few years, we have seen agencies operating intracity bus travel encourage cashless transaction. 3 buses agencies in Mumbai (BEST, NMMT and MBBT) allow users to buy their tickets and passes from the mobile itself thereby saving passengers from the hassles of finding exact change and standing in line to renew passes. Both Mumbai and Delhi Metro allow users to top up their passes from mobile and are in the process of extending the service by introducing mobile passes which allow you to get in and out of Metro stations with your mobile phones. The India railways launched an app very recently for booking tickets for local travel while on the go.

Digitization through Mobile App: India successfully leapfrogged desktop and most Indians first accessed internet on their mobile phones. This has resulted in the proliferation of mobile apps which give you traffic and transit information. The information ranges from simple static schedules of buses, trains to more detailed information like platform number, delays, crowd index etc. In cities which have multiple lines and modes of travel, most of these apps provide end to end trip planning with details of each leg of the journey and interchange points between them

Given that urban commute is hectic and erratic the ability to access this information on the mobile while on the go makes a lot of sense.

India is already at the forefront of this mobile revolution to digitize public transport and on par with if not ahead of cities like China and New York for metro ticketing.

Use of Social Media: The last few years have seen the use of social media especially Twitter and WhatsApp by passengers and authorities alike to exchange and disseminate information. Passengers use it to share information about delays, accidents, grievances along with pictures and videos. Authorities use it too to spread information but also ensure that unnecessary rumors don't spread and create panic. Social Media is being effectively utilized in India by most Traffic Police Departments
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Brijraj Vaghani

CEO & Co-founder, Birds Eye Systems

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