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The Effect of Metro Rail on Air Pollution in Delhi

  • Deepti Goel

    (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India)

  • Smriti Sharma

    (Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110240 IFAS Gainesville, FL32611, U.S.A.)

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    In this paper we investigate the effect of the Delhi Metro, an intra-city mass rail transit system, on air pollution 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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    File URL: http://www.cdedse.org/pdf/work229.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics in its series Working papers with number 229.

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    Length: 34 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:229
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    1. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030, August.
    2. Enrico Moretti & Matthew Neidell, 2011. "Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 154-175.
    3. Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January.
    4. Mohring, Herbert, 1972. "Optimization and Scale Economies in Urban Bus Transportation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 591-604, September.
    5. Yihsu Chen & Alexander Whalley, 2012. "Green Infrastructure: The Effects of Urban Rail Transit on Air Quality," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 58-97, February.
    6. Currie, Janet & Neidell, Matthew & Schmieder, Johannes F., 2009. "Air pollution and infant health: Lessons from New Jersey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 688-703, May.
    7. Neidell, Matthew J., 2004. "Air pollution, health, and socio-economic status: the effect of outdoor air quality on childhood asthma," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1209-1236, November.
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