This paper aims to stimulate debate on the quantification and mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant emissions from transport infrastructure, policies and projects and to highlight the need to intensify efforts to reduce emissions from both intra and intercity movement of people and goods.
Developing countries are at a crossroads as current decisions and investments in the transport sector are set to lock-in GHG (CO2) and air pollutant emissions for the next decades. There is reason for concern as sustainable transport policies that incorporate air quality and climate change are being developed and implemented at a slow pace, risking irreversible damage to the environment and people’s welfare. This is further aggravated by the global economic recession, which has lead to economic stimulus packages in developed countries for roads, the automotive industry, and related transport infrastructure. If developing countries follow this lead by prioritizing vehicles instead of people, it is certain that CO2 emissions, air pollution, congestion, and other transport related problems will worsen.
The CAI-Asia Center has analyzed the impact of increased urbanization and motorization on CO2, particulate matter (PM), and NOx emissions, by comparing emission estimates from the transport sector in India at the national and city level. India is used as a case study because relatively robust national and city information on travel activity and vehicle numbers is available from different sources. Emissions in Indian cities were forecasted up to 2025 based on available data for mode shares, number of trips and trip lengths, combined with assumptions on vehicle occupancy, vehicle type, and emission factors.