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Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Delhi, India


May 2001


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This report attempts to untangle the complexities of Delhi's transport sector, exploring what kind of a future is likely and how it might be altered. The authors interviewed Indian transportation experts and political leaders, analyzed historical data, and examined various policy options and strategies. They found large institutional, political, economic, and technological uncertainties, and limited knowledge of travel behavior and preferences.

The authors created two scenarios to characterize what is likely and what is possible. One scenario – a "business-as-usual" trajectory – is an extrapolation of present trends in Delhi, modified to reflect existing policies and commitments. This scenario results in more than a fourfold increase in transportrelated GHG emissions between 2000 and 2020.

A second scenario, resulting in much smaller increases in GHG emissions, is premised on strong political and institutional leadership to enhance the economic, social, and environmental performance of Delhi's transportation system. In this scenario, conventional-sized cars drop from 30 to 19 percent of motorized travel between 2000 and 2020, and mass transit increases its share from 49 to 53 percent. More efficient scooters and minicars account for most of the remaining motorized travel, and bicycling becomes more important, especially for the poor. Even with this aggressive shift toward more environmentally benign transportation, GHG emissions more than double in the 20-year period.

Two important observations stand out. First, under any plausible scenario, greenhouse gases will soar, ranging from a doubling to a quadrupling of emissions. Second, although these increases are disconcerting, they indicate that pursuit of the lower greenhouse gas path leads to far fewer emissions – and much lower transport and energy costs.
Published by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (All Pew Center reports are available for download from