Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 485

Economic Estimation of Health and Productivity Impacts of
 Traffic Congestion: A Case of Bengaluru City

Vijayalakshmi S
Krishna Raj



Traffic congestion in urban areas is mainly due to the exponential growth of the vehicular population. It imposes a huge economic cost in the form of the opportunity cost of time and alsohealth cost. It is observed that urban residents, particularly commuters, are the main sufferers of traffic emissions. These costs are incurred in the form of morbidity and mortality. The epidemiological evidences show that there is a strong causal relationship between vehicular emissions and possible health impacts. The present study substantiates this interrelationship with empirical evidences. Using the ARDL approach, the study establishes empirically that an increase in vehicular mobility results in increased traffic-induced air pollution. Further, various research studies found that constant exposure to traffic pollution for more than an average of 38 minutes per day not only cause high incidence of respiratory-related illness among commuters, but also reduced their economic productivity. To quantify these impacts for Bengaluru city, India, the study has adopted the cost of illness approach by classifying the costs into direct and indirect costs. The results show that the direct and indirect cost of illness due to traffic congestion amounted to an average of 1.17 per cent and 11.2 per cent of theannual income of the respondents respectively.

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