1 in 5 Indians still walks to work

Less Than 15% Use Public Transportation

Well into the 21st century , more than one in five Indians walk to work and less than 15% take public transportation. Some 33% use other modes of transport than buses and trains to reach their workplaces situated up to 20 km from their homes. Another 23% walk while 30% don’t stir out of their houses but still work.

These figures are based on recently released 2011 Census data on different modes of transport used by workers commuting to workplaces within 20km from their homes. Agricultural workers and domestic helps weren’t considered in the survey . Of the nearly 20 crore workers surveyed, 4.5 crore walked to their workplace.


Most of those who work from home are in rural areas. In urban areas, a large number of people who walk to work are poor. They often walk long distances in spite of inconvenient and dangerous conditions because they can not afford any other form of transport.

Experts see these figures as yet another reason for planners to take into account facilities for pedestrians.

The percentage of women who walk to work is even higher in urban areas. However, wide, continuous and shaded footpaths along with safe and frequent street-level crossings can entice higher income people too to walk.Good footpaths also encourage the use of public transport.

In rural areas it is mainly lack of access to transport facilities that forces people to walk to work, she said.

Only 11.4% of the workers in the country use buses and 3.5% of the workers have access to train, which includes Metro and MRTS in cities like Chennai. After foot and bicycle, the most preferred transport is two-wheelers -more than 2.5 crore or 12.7% travel to their workplace by two wheelers. Of this, nearly 75% are in urban areas. Only 2.7% use car, jeep or van and 3% take an auto rickshaw or a taxi. “States must concen rate on developing better transport infrastructure in urban areas as a majority of workers are in cities and owns. There should be better integration of multi modal transport systems, he said.“In Chennai for example, here are several modes of transport. Within railways, we have suburban, MRTS and Metro Rail. But these modes of transport are not integrated.Once integration is in place, more people will prefer to take public ransport like buses or trains.

Urban authorities should discourage use of cars and other automobiles if there is proper connectivity between all modes of public transport, he said.

Mumbai tops list of train users

Though faster and cheaper, trains are not preferred much by people to travel to work in major cities in the country.Mumbai tops the list of cities where people use the services to travel to work among Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. Among the four cities, Mumbai and Chennai have an efficient network of suburban trains. The 2011 Census statistics showed that among the metros, Mumbai tops the list with 24.75% workers using trains to their workplaces. This means that around 11,89,633 people prefer to use the suburban services. Delhi’s trains are used by 2.94% of its work ing population. This includes people using long distance trains that come into the city to travel into the national capital for work. However, the number must have changed over the past few years because the region now has a substantial metro rail network.

Source: TOI 13 Nov’2015