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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences - Resource Economics

Dissertation of Bhuvanachithra Chidambaram

Vehicle Emission Reduction - An Experimental approach for analysing Sustainable Traffic Strategies and Solution

Start: February 2010
End: January 2014

Traffic congestion is one of the growing transport problems in the Indian Megacity, Hyderabad. They create negative externality to the commuters in the form of vehicle emission and subsequent air pollution. The city adopts two different approaches to address the problem of congestion: engineering approach and policy approach. Engineering approach includes traffic models and software. This approach focuses mainly on the improvement of road infrastructure. Institutional approach includes transport policies and traffic rules that are rarely implemented and ineffective. It is observed that there is a mismatch between these two approaches in the city. One of the significant reasons could be that both these approaches mostly neglect the diverse decision making of people on road. Hence the policies or road projects adopted in the city suffer from the behavioural response of the people. As a consequent, the traffic rules or traffic measures adopted in the city are impotent to manage traffic congestion. Thereby to bridge this gap, the research uses both engineering and an institutional tool with the inclusion of decision making of the people. The engineering tool used is the vehicle emission model to estimate the vehicle emission for four representative stretches in Hyderabad. This has an empirical evidence of the significant relation between vehicle emission and traffic congestion. There are three main constraints in the city that cause traffic congestion: 1.physical constraints i.e. mismatch between road supply and vehicle demand, 2. behavioural constraints with respect to decision making of vehicle drivers, 3.instiutional constraints i.e. ineffective traffic measures. Under microscopic analysis, it is observed that the city has the problem of ineffective road space utilisation that contributes to traffic congestion. This is due to the disproportionate increase of private vehicles such as private cars and two-wheelers over the public mode like public bus. It is observed that the conflict between self-interest and the common interest merges between commuters with regard to their travel mode. Under the game theoretical approach, this problem has been identified as coordination problem among commuters in in the urban traffic arena. This further emphasizes on the importance of transport institutions such as demand based traffic measures to minimize this coordination problem. This theoretical perspective derives empirical concepts for analysing the decision-making of commuters by means of experimental method with respect to commuter preferences on travel mode. The mode choice experiment has been developed that involves the participants, who are the regular commuters of Hyderabad. The experiment would help in exploring whether the coordination problem could be minimized with the help of demand-based traffic measures. The findings from this research would provide key insights to the policy recommendations for providing sustainable transport solutions to minimize the traffic congestion in Hyderabad.

Researcher: Chidambaram, Bhuvanachithra

Cooperation Partners: PTV-AG Karlsruhe

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn, Prof. Dr.Marco Janssen

Funding: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Publications and Presentations: see