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Scrutiny for Delhi plan to restrict vehicles

Delhi is preparing a scheme that would ban half the city's drivers each day. (Guillaume Flament/flickr/cc)

A plan to idle half of Delhi’s vehicles each day faces harsh criticism before the scheme has even been implemented. Dinesh Mohan writes for the Indian Express that the policy is set to take effect in January without proper vetting. “Without a serious debate about the evidence available before us, or indeed, without any cost-benefit analysis, we want to implement drastic solutions,” Mohan laments.

The plan was announced amid growing concerns that air pollution in India’s capital has reached dangerous levels. To reduce emissions, drivers would alternate on the roads depending on whether their license plates end in odd or even numbers. Mohan argues that key questions remain unanswered, including whether the city can enforce compliance. Beijing introduced a similar scheme during the 2008 Olympics that it reinstates on hazardous pollution days.

Other cities that tried similar schemes have encountered unintended consequences, Mohan notes. Sales of motorbikes and used cars soared as drivers sought to evade the restrictions. Motorists also sought exemptions or installed fake license plates. The article cites studies indicating that cars on Delhi’s roads are generally fuel efficient and mostly travel short distances.

Indian Express

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