The Effect of Delhi Metro on Air Pollution in Delhi

Research Seminars
Academic Areas Economics and Public Policy
Deepti Goel, Assistant Professor, Delhi School of Economics
April 12, 2013 | 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM | Friday
AC 2 Mini Lecture Theatre (MLT), hyderabad, Hyderabad, India
Open to Public

Abstract: In this paper we investigate the effect of the Delhi Metro, an intra-city mass rail transit system, on airpollution within Delhi. To identify effects on pollution, we exploit the discontinuous jumps in metro ridership, each time the network is extended. Our identifying assumption is that in the absence of the extension there would be a smooth transition in pollution levels. We find strong evidence to show that the Delhi Metro has resulted in reductions of two important vehicular emissions, namely, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. We estimate a cumulative impact of a 35 percent reduction in CO levels for the region around ITO (a major traffic intersection in Delhi). This is suggestive of a traffic diversion effect, where people are switching from private modes of travel to the Delhi Metro. Given, documented evidence on the adverse health effects of air pollution, our findings suggest that these indirect benefits must be considered in any cost-benefit analysis of a rapid mass transport system.

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