Driving Innovation: A New Take on Mass Transit in India

Learnings from the Better Bus Challenge may help address traffic challenges in other countries, too.

As India’s economy skyrockets, its booming population is increasingly on the move — and stuck in traffic. Two-thirds of all daily commuters travel by bus, and mobility plays an important role in their social well-being. An inefficient infrastructure, however, has pushed existing mass transit to the limit and put more cars on already clogged streets. Despite this, India will need to add another 650,000 buses within the next four years to meet rising demand.

To address the crisis, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and FedEx teamed up earlier this month to launch the Better Bus Challenge. “There is a need for decision makers to broaden their perspective of urban transportation beyond traditional models to identify and implement strategies to meet this ever-growing demand in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner,” says O.P. Agarwal, CEO, WRI India.

Potential solutions include smart ticketing systems, on-board safety and driver assistance, and improved accident response. Winners of the challenge will receive a cash reward and year-long mentorship to collaborate with transit agencies to design and implement solutions.

By issuing the challenge grant, WRI and FedEx aim to improve the quality, productivity and sustainability of public transit systems. Over the next decade, innovations in public transit have the potential to help 15 million more people in India get to work each day.

Since 2010, FedEx has helped train more than 9,000 transportation officials and drivers, improving public transportation for almost 5 million people in 36 cities around the world. Those cities have included Bangalore, India; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and Mexico City, where projects have optimized bus rapid transit and reduced pollution. Access to jobs, schools, goods and services is essential to a better life, no matter where you live, and cities are making decisions today that will impact mobility for generations to come. That’s why FedEx collaborates with decision makers, nonprofits and entrepreneurs to share knowledge, build capacity and discover solutions that keep mobility moving forward. Learn more.

Want to enter or know someone who should? Get the details here.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories that will follow the progress of Better Bus Challenge winners from July 2018 through June 2019.


  1. This is good to see Bangalore getting covered in current problem group. Considering Bangalore as heavily crowded city , the solution designed could be tested against it, would serve as worst case scenario. Bangalore is also highly polluted city. Solution would also help in improving overall environment.

    Deepak May 7, 2018

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