11 days a year. That's how much an average citizen of Mumbai wastes stuck in traffic. That's over 260 hours spent commuting at low speeds in a haze of smog and honking while losing out on economic productivity in India's financial capital. Harsh Vardhan Pachisia and Kadambari Shah write in the Hindustan Times on IDFC Institute's analysis of over half a billion Uber data points calculating the costs of congestion and the methods policymakers should take to rectify this dire situation. Excerpts below:
"Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and New Delhi are among the 10 most congested cities in the world, according to the just-released 2019 TomTom Traffic Index. This will not come as a surprise to anyone who lives in or has visited these cities. People in these cities pay higher fuel costs, inhale toxic gases, and are unable to efficiently manage their time. There are wider economic consequences too. An IDFC Institute study reveals the consequences of the congestion for Mumbai, and how to address them.
The average Mumbai resident wastes 11 days a year stuck in traffic. That is a significant loss of productivity in a megacity that accounts for approximately 17% of Maharashtra’s gross domestic product (GDP). With more than 700,000 people entering Mumbai for work every day, it is, in urbanist Alain Bertaud’s words, a labour market, as are all cities. In a well-functioning city, firms can optimise the costs of finding employees and of transporting goods and services to their consumers. People, in turn, can find work that match their skill sets and are more likely to switch jobs either for convenience or better opportunities. Being able to move around the city quickly is key to ensuring that such markets are dynamic and function smoothly. However, congestion has reduced such mobility in Mumbai, resulting in inefficient labour markets and severe economic and environmental consequences."
Read the full article here.