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Electric Street Car as a Clean Public Transport Alternative: A Choice Experiment Approach

Dey, Oindrila and Chakravarty, Debalina (2020): Electric Street Car as a Clean Public Transport Alternative: A Choice Experiment Approach.

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Abstract

Electric Street Car (ESC) has established itself as an ideal public transport system for urban agglomeration by offering better safety, minimum pollution and conservation of fossil fuel. Yet, India envisions going all-electric by 2030 by procuring electric buses (e-buses) rather than ESCs. The crucial question is, why not upgrade the existing ESC considering that the e-buses need a profound infrastructural development in India. This paper studies the potential uptake rate of ESC over e-buses using stratified sampling data from 1226 daily public transport commuters of Kolkata, the only Indian city having an operational ESCs. We identify the demographic, psychometric and socio-economic factors influencing the probabilistic uptake of ESC over e-buses using a random utility choice model. It estimates that 38% of the commuters demand ESC over e-buses given the alternatives’ comparative details. ESC can be a model electric public transport if there is an improvement in factors, like frequent availability of ESCs and technological upgradation. By promoting the ESC services over e-buses, the government can potentially save on public investment and reach a low carbon pathway cost-effectively. The findings have crucial implications in exploration of the operational feasibility of ESC in the small and medium-sized cities of developing economies like India.

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