Bhopal and Kolkata come up tops in CSE rankings of some Indian cities on clean transportation

14 cities assessed. To understand how the urban commute – the way people travel in cities – contributes to air pollution and energy consumption 

  • Bhopal tops for lowest overall emissions and energy usefrom urban commute
  • Kolkata and Mumbai emit least among six megacities dueto high usage of public transport and walking; Kolkata alsohas short travel distances due to its compact form
  • Delhi, despite being the third highest for high share of public transport trips, tanks to the bottom as overallemissions and fuel use are highest due to the sheer numberof people, high volume of travel and personal vehicles,and long trip distances
  • Megacities of Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai scorepoor. They have lower share of public transport comparedto Delhi and yet have scored better than Delhi only becauseof total travel volumes are comparatively lower given theirpopulation levels. With growth and without adequate actionthey can get worse in future
  • Though metropolitan cities have scored better thanmegacities due to lower population,lower travel volumeand vehicle numbers, they are at risk due to much highershare of personal vehicle trips and high growth rate
  • Increase in greenhouse gas emissions from transportsector highest among all other sectors in India. Urbantraffic is also the source of very high health damaging toxic  

Kolkata, August 24, 2018: Indian cities are experiencing an explosive motorisation phase. It had taken 60 years – from 1952 to 2008 – for the number of registered vehicles in the country to reach 105 million. But thereafter, the same number was added in a mere six years – between 2009 and 2015. At the same time, theshare of public transport in overall transportation modes is expected to decrease from 75.5 per cent in 2000-01, to 44.7 percent in 2030-31. 

Statistics like this from 14 cities across India have been analysed by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi-based think tank, to check how some cities, which hold sizeable sharesof India’s urban population, are positioned in the race for clean and low carbon mobility. Which cities pollute and guzzle more than the others from only urban commute, and what is influencingthe difference? 

The analysis – titled The Urban Commute – was released in Kolkata today in a seminar attended by administration officials, transportation and air quality experts, civil society representatives, and journalists. The study ranks the 14 cities on the basis of emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and toxic pollutants like particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, as well as energy guzzling from urban commuting. 

The 14 cities studied include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad (henceforthcalled megacities); and Ahmedabad, Pune, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kochi, Bhopal, Vijayawada andChandigarh (grouped as metropolitan cities). 

Releasing the analysis, AnumitaRoychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE, said: “This review has become necessary as greenhouse gas emissions from transport—thoughthe third highest currently among all sectors—has recorded the steepest increase. This is alsoresponsible for health-damaging toxic exposure. Growingdependence on personal vehicles for urban commutingcan lead to irreversible negativetrends and damage.” 

She added: “This ranking proves that for clean and low carbon mobility,cities need policies to stop urban sprawl; reduce distancesbetween residence, jobs and recreation through compacturban forms; scale up integrated public transport, walkingand cycling; and put restraints on use of personal vehicles toavert pollution and climate crisis.” 


Overall emissions and energy consumption

  1. Bhopal
  2. Vijayawada
  3. Chandigarh
  4. Lucknow
  5. Kochi
  6. Jaipur
  7. Kolkata
  8. Ahmedabad
  9. Pune
  10. Mumbai
  11. Hyderabad
  12. Bengaluru
  13. Chennai
  14. Delhi 

Per-travel trip emissions and energy consumption

  1. Kolkata
  2. Mumbai
  3. Bhopal
  4. Delhi
  5. Ahmedabad
  6. Lucknow
  7. Vijayawada
  8. Pune
  9. Jaipur
  10. Chennai
  11. Bengaluru
  12. Kochi
  13. Chandigarh
  14. Hyderabad 

For the complete report and a summarised version of it:

For the guidance framework on clean and low carbon transport for Kolkata:

For the seminar presentation etc:

For the Down To Earth info-pack on the subject:

To speak to an expert: