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Visioning and Backcasting for Transport in India and Delhi (Vibat India & Delhi)

The dramatic projected rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Asian [and wider] cities poses a major challenge for the world. Population growth, increased urbanisation, the rise of megacities, increased average incomes and consumption mean that travel demand is rising rapidly. The supply of transport funding and infrastructure to meet these challenges lags behind the growth in demand.

From the 1980s to the present day, India has experienced a rapid rise in cross-sectoral CO2 emissions. India is currently the world's fourth largest fossil fuel CO2 emitting country. Since 1990 CO2 emissions have doubled. Per capita emissions remain low at 0.34 metric tons of carbon equivalent (tC) (relative to 5.61 tC in the US and 2.6 tC in the UK).

Trend-breaking futures are required to help mitigate and adapt to the impacts of global warming. This scoping study considers the role of the transport sector in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Asia. It tests the applicability of a visioning and backcasting study approach, using case studies at the national (India) and city scale (Delhi).

The study approach involves the following steps:
  • Stage 1: baseline and targets understanding of baseline traffic growth and CO2 emissions, and the development of a business as usual (BAU) projection to 2030 and appropriate target emissions for the transport sector;
  • Stage 2: images of the future these are developed to comply with the desirable targets. Each takes a different emphasis technological and behavioural;
  • Stage 3: policy packages and pathways initial scenario testing is carried out to test the likely impacts of the different images of the future against headline CO2 targets.

Date: 2008
Team: Robin Hickman, Sharad Saxena and David Banister
Funder: Asian Development Bank

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Dr Robin Hickman
Associate Director,
Transport Research Sector,
Halcrow Group Ltd,
W6 7BY

Research Fellow
Transport Studies Unit
University of Oxford, South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY

Professor David Banister
Professor of Transport Studies
Transport Studies Unit,
University of Oxford,
South Parks Road,

Asian Development Bank

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