Traffic jam causes wastage of 2.5 lakh litres of fuel a day
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10 lakh cars idling in traffic results in wastage of 2.5 lakh litres fuel everyday – IIT Delhi study

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In a study by IIT-Delhi, vehicles in the capital crawl at snail pace for a sizeable amount of time during a daily commute. The study included tracking of buses and cars besides two and three wheelers in the capital. It was found that cars run at less than 4 kmph for 24% of their travel time which not only leads to wastage of fuel but also causes increased air pollution.

car idling traffic pollution india
Everyday problem in major Indian cities.

Taking this into account, if there are a million (ten lakh) cars in such a situation everyday, total wastage of fuel could be in the range of 2.5 lakh litres everyday. The study was conducted by Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program at IIT and Desert Research Institute, Reno.

This study was published in Travel Behavior and Society (Elsevier). The study took into account data from pollution under control along with surveys of owners of vehicles at fuel stations besides GPS logs to arrive at these statistics. The study was conducted on 7 lakh vehicles maintained by 300 PUC in 2010. Two wheelers and cars commuting in the capital had an average age of 4.4 to 4.7 years while 17% of trucks and 15% of tempos were in the 10-15 year range. Where buses in the capital were concerned the team took into account GPS logs over a period of two days in November 2012.

If not rectified, this problem will continue to grow exponentially every year. According to one of the authors of this study – Sarath Guttikunda, Project Scientist at TRIPP (Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme), IIT Delhi, this problem has a simple solution – Better the public transportation system in our cities. This can be done by increasing the number of buses, increase the number of routes, provide better buses, keep bus stops clean, etc. City municipality can also promote walking and cycling for close distance travel.

Sounds simple, but when it comes to progressing at the cost of reducing vehicle sales, do you think that the government or car manufacturers will be motivated enough?