Stuttgart, Mumbai and transport: Mobility, habits and status
India’s transport network creaks and groans under the weight of the ever-growing population. Only half of the streets are tarmacked and traffic rules are interpreted in a number of ways. In principal: might is right. The world’s fourth biggest railway network uses old technology. While the rural population often has no way of using the transport network, mopeds, cars, rickshaws, bicycles and overfilled buses make their way through the daily traffic jobs in the metropolises. There are metro networks in Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore, and a second network is planned in Mumbai. Whoever can afford it travels by rental car or chaffeur. The air in India’s cities is heavily polluted, while a lack of alternatives and owing to habits, which are also a question of status and money, a rethinking of the system for environmental improvements seems far away. Mumbai’s partner city Stuttgart has similar problems. The city is being inundated with cars and the economic pros of the car industry are being outweighed by the cons. A recent survey of its inhabitants put “too much traffic” as one of the city’s three biggest problems. Traffic jams and air pollution are long-term themes and a great deal of stress for the people involved and for the environment.