About the Conference
The continued growth of the Indian industry over the years has strengthened the national economy well. Cost, quality and productivity along with innovation have helped the industries sustain and grow in a competitive and continuously changing market environment. Today the industry is in a scenario, where productivity is no more restricted to the shop floor, but is a liability of all stakeholders – industry, government, institution, innovators, growth agencies etc. Growth, both industrial and economical, has changed the mobility trends placing strong requirements on the automotive and transport industry. It is critically important to understand that mobility is not an isolated issue and is related to many other aspects of growth.

It is well known that services and manufacturing industries particularly concentrate around major urban areas, making it the active economy area. Reports inform that urban areas will account for 86% of world GDP in 2025, an increase from 80 % in 2007, representing enormous economic potential and effective contributions to national GDP. We also understand from studies that 51 % of the world’s total population (6.8 billion) was living in urban areas in 2010. This urban share is expected to rise to 61% by 2030 and 70% by 2050 (Estimated population - 8.2 billion by 2030, 9.2 billion by 2050). With cities growing in terms of population and physical size, efficient and reliable urban transport systems are required to mobilize people and goods and connect production facilities to the logistics chain.

The Indian industry characterized by both service and manufacturing sector in major cities, will face more pressure on already saturated urban transport systems. Many Indian cities such as Bangalore and Chennai have attracted significant investments in high-technology industries. In the past few years however, urban infrastructure, and transport systems in particular, have been struggling to keep up with the growing number of firms moving into these cities. Local and international media have been continuously reporting the cities’ difficulty in coping with growing demand for efficient transport systems.

This is not just a national problem, but a problem prevalent in major cities across the globe. It is informed that a US citizen by 2050 will on average suffer some 100 hours of congestion-related delays a year, which is triple the number in 1990. Another study informs that most of the Asian cities do not have any growth management plan for controlling the rapid increase in personal vehicles and are experiencing severe traffic congestion and other problems including air pollution, loss of personal and corporate productivity, high cost of transport and poor quality of life. Further it is understood that, 17% of the planet’s bio capacities will be needed to make urban mobility possible in 2050, five times more than in 1990. And annual investment in urban mobility will have to quadruple to nearly 800 billion Euros worldwide by 2050. With requirements for mobility expected to almost triple between 2010 and 2050, it is alarmed that the current trends of urban mobility systems would break down spectacularly with severe consequences.

Considering the existing modal share in Indian cities, it is said to be in favor of non-motorized transport (NMT) and public transport. However, given the hostile conditions for public transport and increasing risk to pedestrians and cyclists, the use of personal motorized vehicle is increasing. Unfortunately, city managers in both India and other developing countries are still in favor for expansion of infrastructure for private motor vehicles, a pattern followed by many cities in developed countries in the past. Policies for more and more road construction have clearly failed to cope with ever increasing demand from rapid motorization. Studies and media point that the increase of infrastructure to alleviate travel demand will have apparently positive consequences in the short term, but in long term there will be a much greater congestion, thus increasing the problem rather than solving it. Ironically, many cities in developed countries are now trying to recover from a personal vehicle-dominated development era by halting the building of more infrastructures for private vehicles and re-allocating road space for public transport and non-motorized transport.

A sustainable urban transport system requires strengthening various features of the system including mobility, accessibility, affordability, social equity, efficiency, safety, security, convenience, low carbon, comfort, and people- and environment-friendliness. In order to achieve all these elements, some key challenges need to be addressed in an integrated manner, which include controlling excessive motorization, improving public transport services, encouraging more walking and cycling, improving human health through the reduction of urban air pollution and tackling climate change by reducing car emissions. It should also be noted that the systems should not fail to have provisions for reducing the number of deaths and injuries from road accidents, and recognizing the specific needs of urban poor, women, the elderly, people with disabilities, youth, and children etc.

Policies play a greater role in implanting and implementing efficient mechanisms to help in sustainable mobility like adoption of mechanisms to restrain the use of private motors vehicles through the market mechanisms (such as higher fuel taxes, higher parking fees, reduced availability of parking spaces), encourage and support investments in facilities which would pull people away from the use of personal vehicles rather than build facilities which would encourage greater use of personal motor vehicles etc. To facilitate these, what is required is a sound urban transport policy. As these would imply the need for investments in improving public transport, it is increasingly acknowledged that financial and business models are of paramount importance in matters of urban transport economics.

The ways that urban transport options emerge and evolve depend heavily upon the costs of these options and the ways in which these costs are financed (direct fares / indirect taxes /fees -pollution, climate change, congestion, road traffic deaths and injuries / other social costs). Finance systems can encourage or discourage the alignment of economic, environmental and social goals. To understand the financial dynamics, it is necessary to understand the economic relationships among and within urban travel modes. Thus, while different modes of urban movement appear to be physically and financially independent of one another, they are nonetheless physically and financially interdependent because of their shared (and usually competitive) use of public infrastructure.

The improvement of urban mobility systems requires strategic choices regarding the structures through which the infrastructure and equipment that service urban public transport are financed. Public transport must be bolstered as both a viable alternative to private vehicles and a strong supportive and complementary supplement to non-motorized mobility. There is a clear correlation between the use of innovative mobility concepts on the one hand and mobility effectiveness and efficiency on the other. Innovative technologies coupled with supportive policies, delivered in an appropriate business model will mitigate the mobility issues.

With future of mobility strongly questioned, mobility aspects have become an area of focus for the Tamil Nadu Technology Development & Promotion Center of CII. The center has proposed to organize the 6th Edition - Conference on Automotive R&D Conference with the theme ‘R&D Challenges for Sustainable Mobility’. The previous editions of the conference hosted with themes – ‘Mobility as a System’ & ‘Cost Effective Green Mobility’, discussed various aspects of mobility both in an Indian context and global trends. One step forward, CII in partnership with AT Kearney jointly developed a report on Cost Effective Green Mobility, which addresses important issues, trends and ideas in the area of Mobility in a greener and cost effective context. This report had a very good impact in the automotive - transportation community and turned to be a differentiator in the mobility space.

The 6th Edition Conference - ‘R&D Challenges for Sustainable Mobility’ will bring into picture the dimensions of econometrics, business models, role of automotive industry, Government policies and other areas from key stake holders in addressing the gaps in mobility for a sustainable growth overall. The conference which gathers multidisciplinary expertise under one roof aims to bring in global solutions into the country as well as project native solutions for mobility issues across the globe.

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