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Enhanced Urban Transport: Janmarg (India)

Adapting best practices in urban mobility wins international sustainability award.

Photo of Meena Kadri
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  India's roads have become clogged as ever increasing numbers of private vehicles — cars, scooters and motorbikes – compete with buses, trucks, rickshaws, bicycles, pedestrians, hawkers, cows, camels and the occasional elephant. But things are changing in Ahmedabad where the Bus Rapid Transit system, pioneered in Brazil, has been adapted to local conditions. Focusing on socio-economic needs, the planners developed priorities: to provide poorer citizens good access to employment and education centers; to create a multimodal system of main and feeder lines that would serve both densely settled districts and more dispersed areas; and to safely accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The result was Janmarg: The People's Way which won an international award in sustainable transport earlier this year.

     I've covered Janmarg in full on Design Observer and noted the public/private/academic team work that has led to this inspiring example of a comprehensive set of transport solutions. They've even included features like yoga training for bus drivers. But my favourite comment came from a commuter crippled at birth claiming that this kind of system can truly change people’s lives — especially those who are physically and financially challenged. “Janmarg gives us access to parts of the city that we couldn’t access before — for education, employment or enjoyment — so today it's more our city than it ever has been.” What other innovations are we seeing globally that enhance urban mobility and therefore access to opportunities? And not just through built environments – how about through the use of social media, cycle hire, shared private-vehicle use, employee public transport incentives... what's going on where you live?


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