Transport plays a crucial role in guiding development, connecting people and communities to the world, facilitating commercial activities. Although transportation sectors globally prioritized the sustainable framework in recent years, emphasis was given primarily on the two key factors- economy and environmental; whereas, less emphasis is given upon the equity issue (Brussel et al., 2019). Unlike the economic and environmental impacts, there are very few specific strategies, evaluation process and indicators for measuring the social equity factors; because of that, often it is difficult to measure the impact of the transport initiatives on the different groups of society. As a result, the purpose of transportation to help people to reach various opportunities, is still unequally distributed in many cities across the world specially in global south where social segregation is a complex problem often aggravated by the lack of proper transport facilities. (Brussel et al., 2019). Therefore, it is of utmost importance for the policy makers, transport planners, relative experts and stakeholders, to prioritize the assessment of social equity impact of different transport policies and initiatives and explore the indicators that draws upon the equity issues that affects the people from different strata. In the Indian context, a significant number of people are marginalized socially, politically, economically and culturally. With a predominant automobile centric transport system, the implication of the social equity issue is more complex and imperative to implement here.
The thesis aims to contribute to the sustainable transport planning study to highlight the importance of the social equity issue to transport policy makers, relative experts, actors and stakeholders in their actions for sustainable transport for Indian cities. It studies the application of the social equity factors in sustainable transport policies in Indian context. It investigates how Indian cities are operationalizing social equity in their sustainable transport initiatives through analyzing the transport policies from 6 major cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, & Hyderabad). It also analyzes the impacts of the practical implementation under those policies with available public data and reports. The study finds that despite of having sustainable transport vision, the transport regulations do not hold the necessary equitable strategies to holistically address the large group of low-income population or other vulnerable groups. There seems to be an emerging need to reform the existing transport policy and project trends to ensure the optimization of public transport services to all level of citizen in the country.