Visakhapatnam:Andhra Pradesh had a register of 70 lakh motor vehicles in March 2014. This number increased to 1.46 crore vehicles in December 2021, translating to vehicle growth of over 100% in just seven years.
Motorcycles constituted 78% of the total fleet in 2014, while the share of two-wheelers exceeded the 89% mark in 2021.
Of these 1.46 crore vehicles, 1.29 crore are non-transportation vehicles used for personal purposes. According to experts, a combination of factors such as population growth, economic wealth, reduced travel time and comfort, better access to finance, lack of public transport on desirable routes, etc. led to an increase in the number of personal vehicles.
This change has placed a significant strain on the transportation network and infrastructure, leading to traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, especially in urban areas of the state.
As road widths have remained mostly the same in cities and towns in Andhra Pradesh, traffic jams have become unavoidable. Even though the automotive industry is considered one of the main drivers of economic growth, the increased use of personal vehicles comes at the expense of the environment.
Former Rector and Retired Professor of Economics of Andhra University, Dr M Prasada Rao said that infrastructure spending over the years has boosted economic activity in the country over the past few years. last decades.
“Owning a personal vehicle is seen as a gateway to this story of growth, liberation and economic prosperity. Increased personal mobility completely changed the way society functioned and worked decades ago. Improved personal finances and affordability have also accelerated the adoption of personal vehicles. Urbanization and vehicle ownership always go hand in hand,” said Dr Rao.
He added that the change is particularly visible in the rural landscape.
“This is a very good trend because the rural population will also benefit from the liberating technology of the automobile. Now we see farmers going to the fields or carrying a pile of grass on their two-wheelers to the villages. Due to this trend, women are also reaping the benefits. Personal vehicle penetration would be greater if fuel prices remained somewhat constant,” Rao added.
On the other hand, environmental activists say the government should explore ways to tackle traffic congestion and reduce pollution as vehicle growth is inevitable. They call for incentives to increase the adoption of electric vehicles.
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