DP13291 Mobility and congestion in urban India

Author(s): Prottoy A. Akbar, Victor Couture, Gilles Duranton, Adam Storeygard
Publication Date: October 2018
Keyword(s): cities, determinants of travel speed, roads, traffic, urban transportation
JEL(s): R41
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13291

We develop a methodology to estimate robust city level vehicular mobility indices, and apply it to 154 Indian cities using 22 million counterfactual trips measured by a web mapping service. There is wide variation in mobility across cities. An exact decomposition shows this variation is driven more by differences in uncongested mobility than congestion. Under plausible assumptions, a one standard deviation improvement in uncongested speed creates much more mobility than optimal congestion pricing. Denser and more populated cities are slower, only in part because of congestion. Urban economic development is correlated with better (uncongested and overall) mobility despite worse congestion.