India has 1.3 billion inhabitants, making it the second most populous nation on earth after China. In addition, the country is grappling with an immense amount of traffic. Increasing prosperity and the growth of a well-educated middle class has caused the number of automobiles to multiply in recent decades. Whereas only about 4.5 million vehicles were registered in India in 1980, by 2015 nearly 210 million vehicles were clogging the country’s roads. Today there are seven million vehicles in Delhi alone, including cars and motorized rickshaws — but excluding trucks. As a result, the city’s streets are always congested, particularly during rush hours. In fact, it’s not unusual for people to spend two hours commuting to work.
Naturally, some measures have been taken to manage the situation. For instance, in Delhi, trucks may be driven through the city only between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. However, traffic often comes to a standstill during the day, even on 12-lane highways. These traffic jams cause tremendous losses to India’s economy, because millions of people are forced to waste valuable work time. “The Indian government has recognized this problem and is now promoting mobility as an important component of the nation’s rapid future development,” says Amitabh Bhagwat, who is responsible for turnkey projects at Siemens in Mumbai. “It believes that the solution is an expansion of local public transportation and a departure from motorized private transport. It’s crucial to get people to their workplaces quickly.”