Case Study: Working Toward Sustainable Mobility in Indore, India

Ford is helping to develop a sustainable mobility roadmap with real solutions to transportation problems in the city of Indore, India.

Ranked among the 10 fastest-growing cities in India, Indore offers the perfect recipe for gridlock. The population has reached 2.4 million residents, outpacing transportation infrastructure development and leaving busy roadways choked with a crowded mix of buses, trucks, motorcycles, cars, rickshaws, carts and pedestrians.

Indore is also one of six global cities participating in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Sustainable Mobility Project (SMP) 2.0.1 The cross-sector collaboration has a simple objective: speed up and scale up sustainable mobility solutions across a range of transportation options that are specifically selected to address the priorities of each of the demonstrator cities. (The five other cities are Campinas, Brazil; Hamburg, Germany; Lisbon, Portugal; Bangkok, Thailand; and Chengdu, China.)

The six cities were chosen because they are representative of a variety of cities around the world, each with different types of mobility challenges. Successful development of a sustainable mobility roadmap for each of these six cities will demonstrate how the SMP2.0 methodology can be scaled up and applied around the world.

Although Ford is participating at some level across all six cities, we are taking a leadership role with Indore. Our goal is to develop a roadmap for sustainable mobility by the end of 2015 with real solutions to Indore’s existing problems.

High-tech solutions, such as those we are exploring in our mobility experiments, are important for the overall future of mobility as a whole. But for cities like Indore, the immediate answers don’t always have to be cutting edge. For example, implementing solutions already commonplace in other major cities, such as dedicated cycle lanes for bike travel or a smart multi-mode ticketing system, could have significant beneficial impacts in Indore.

In January 2015, we launched a trial program to relieve heavy congestion in a shopping district where narrow streets are routinely blocked by vehicles parked every which way. The trial created defined loading and unloading zones and provided free parking garage spaces to shoppers to encourage drivers to leave their vehicles in designated spots.

“Much of what we’re looking to do is to change behavior,” says Ganesh Ramakrishnan, one of the Ford team members working on the Indore project. “In many ways, it’s really small steps. This focused trial program demonstrated the value of mobility solutions to store owners, who saw benefits because shoppers gained improved access to their goods and services, and to pedestrians, who felt safer walking through less-congested streets.”

At Ford, we want to contribute to a better world, so developing sustainable mobility solutions for a city like Indore ties directly into that goal. We also believe that through participation we will learn and improve our overall mobility strategy and help our company remain relevant through rapidly changing times.

We expect to report on the roadmap solutions for Indore in our 2015/16 Sustainability Report.

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  1. Ford was a member of the WBCSD between 2000 and 2004, participating in the development of the first iteration of the organization’s mobility project, known as SMP 1.0. Because we believe mobility issues cannot be solved by Ford alone, requiring collaboration with other organizations, we renewed our commitment to the Council in 2013 and signed on as a leading contributor to SMP 2.0 in 2014. (The mobility project is just one area of focus for the WBCSD.)