The ease of urban mobility – the way people move from one place to another – determines the quality of life in a city. Safe, comfortable, and affordable modes of transport allow people to access education, employment, markets, and recreational activities. As our cities grow, the demand for transport will continue to grow. By investing in electric vehicles, enhancing safety measures, and planning for convenient access to public transport hubs, cities can plan and manage this growth while minimising the negative externalities associated with it.


  • Bus Karo 14 - Planning for public bus systems in India

Opportunity: Indian public bus systems have advanced in the past few years with support from the Central and State Governments. The bus sector has witnessed remarkable growth in bus numbers, improved bus service quality, intelligent transport systems, new financing models and induction of electric buses. Despite this, the public transport demand-supply gap is widening and bus agencies continue to face challenges towards operating electric buses. As the demand for public transport will increase further, it is important that systematic steps are taken at the state-level to develop robust bus systems in the long-term and ensure the adoption of cleaner systems. It is also valuable for the bus agencies to leverage innovative solutions offered by mobility start-ups to transform the bus systems.

WRI India through its ‘Bus Karo’ platform works to improve bus services in India by providing technical capacity building support and sharing best practices in the field of public transport.

Key Discussion points: The 14th edition of ‘Bus Karo’ will focus on:

Need, procedure and enabling regulatory and financial reforms for developing state-level roadmap for finacing and deploying efficient bus systems

Mechanisms through which public bus agencies and mobility start-ups can work together to co-create innovative solutions aimed at augmenting the quality of bus systems.

Total cost analysis as a tool to assess the bus and charging infrastructure choices available in the electric bus market as per their technical specifications, operational performance, financial implications, risks and challenges before procurement.

Methodology and considerations to be followed for electric bus route planning.

Participants: The discussions at Bus Karo will be beneficial for bus agencies, state transport departments, mobility start-ups, bus sector and industry experts, media and researchers. National and global experts will discuss the existing scenario on these topics and provides suggestions on the way forward through panel discussions.


  • Electric Mobility Forum

India is currently the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world and the transport sector accounts for 13 percent of India’s energy related CO2 emissions. In addition, transport is also a major contributor to air pollution in urban areas. This is a serious issue for Indian cities, and at present, India has 15 of the most polluted cities in the world. If commutes are cleaner, it will reduce GHG emissions and air pollution. It will also improve public health, as commute accounts for a significant proportion for exposure to pollutants than any other activity. There is a growing belief that electric vehicles (EVs) offer a solution. India has made some bold commitments for growing EVs but getting to these targets will require a serious push from all stakeholders.

There is a lot of discussion going on around the country regarding the fuel transition in India. However, much more needs to be done on the ground to make this dream a reality and make this transition smooth. India has its own needs and challenges when it comes to the acceptance and penetration of EVs. Therefore, it is important that India makes its own creative solutions that are scalable, adoptable, replicable, and feasible. The Electric Mobility Forum will facilitate a platform to bring various stakeholders together so that the country can electrify and decarbonize its transport.

  • Safer Buses

Bus safety in urban areas is typically given less importance, partly due to the assumption that urban travel on larger vehicles is safer compared to other modes. WRI India Ross Center has been working with Indian public bus companies on improving the quality and safety of city bus systems. This session will focus on the issue of safety in the face of declining ridership across bus systems in most major cities in the country.

The issue of bus safety is extraordinarily complex. City bus service providers usually focus on measures and interventions that focus on the safety of passengers while they are inside the vehicles. However, crash records show a disproportionately higher number of fatalities amongst pedestrians and motorcyclists. Therefore, it is important to address safety at different levels, which has the potential to improve the quality and appeal of buses and thereby increase ridership and reduce congestion. The discussions will explore the issue of infrastructure gaps while making connections between different modes namely, bus to bus, bus to metro and bus to intercity bus.

  • Last Mile Connectivity

Part 1: What are commuters looking for and how can cities provide for it?

Commuting preferences are based on different parameters. Travel time, cost, ease of access to metro, safety and security are a few factors. The STAMP program has always looked at enabling multimodal commuting with the metro as the central spine- understanding the needs of the commuters and how these modal choices are made becomes the foundation to shape this strategy. To understand this better, the STAMP survey has been conducted with metro commuters over multiple stations across 2 cities and the findings will be presented in this session and form a background for the panel discussion. The findings of the survey will help shed some light on the way commuters structure their decisions and the finer nuances of commuting challenges being faced. The discussions in the light of the learnings with city agencies and mobility solution providers, will help highlight insights on how integrated city transportation services can be modeled so that they provide for commuting needs of everyone.

Part 2: Pitch session for Kochi Data Innovation Challenge finalists.