The Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has called for adopting a public transport-centric approach to decongest traffic-choked cities and combat growing vehicular pollution. He observed that our cities have been witnessing an undesirable shift from the use of public transport to private vehicles.‘The average two-wheeler and car ownership levels in metropolitan cities which were 112 and 14 per 1000 population in 1994 are expected to grow to 393 and 48 respectively by 2021. This would mean 53 million two-wheelers and six million cars in the next 15 years in metropolitan cities,’ he added.Speaking at the 25th Foundation Day event of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in New Delhi today, he said urban transportation solutions like the metro rails have the capacity to act as driving forces to take India’s quest for sustainable urban spaces to fruition.Lauding the DMRC, Shri Naidu said that it presents a blue print for development of metro services not only to the other cities in India but also to a number of developing countries.Pointing out that urban transport was leading to growing air and noise pollution, he said that it was estimated to account for about 25 percent of the greenhouses gases worldwide and spending more time in the polluted atmosphere was adversely affecting the health of the people, the Vice President said and added that the need for clean urban mobility cannot be over emphasized.Referring to the deleterious effects of global warming and climate change, he said “we need to swiftly move from fossil fuel based automobiles to electricity or battery based vehicular system”.He said that a relevant infrastructure, especially in regard to charging of batteries had to be developed on an urgent basis to meet the emerging demand for electric vehicles.Stressing the need to put in place an adequately developed reliable, affordable and accessible urban public transport system, Shri Naidu called for steps on a war footing to make public transport the most popular mode of travel for all commuters.The Vice President asked planners to provide hassle-free travel facilities and said that ensuring the last mile connectivity to commuters, especially for those travelling by metro and local rail networks.He urged cities to increasingly focus on introducing multi-modal transit systems. “Public transport should take precedence over personalized motor transport and every stakeholder should work in that direction”, he added.The Vice President also wanted city planners to make urban spaces safe for women, children and the elderly and make them completely barrier-free and accessible to the differently abled.Shri D.S. Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs & Chairman, DMRC, Shri Vijay Kumar, Chief Secretary, GNCTD, Dr. Mangu Singh, Managing Director, DMRC, Shri K.K. Saberwal, Director (Finance), DMRC and employees of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation were present at the event.