Annex 2 Indian Case Studies

India – Rickshaw Modernization

Unlike many transport initiatives that aim only at improving the environment, ITDP’s Indian Cycle Rickshaw Modernization project also cleaned the air and increased employment and income among the poor.

In collaboration with local experts, ITDP developed a series of design innovations that made India’s traditional cycle rickshaw lighter, more comfortable, and easier to handle. ITDP’s modern rickshaw design reduced the weight of the vehicles by more than 30% and a multi-gear system made pedalling much easier.

Surveys among rickshaw operators showed that incomes increased by 20% to 50% because operators were able to work longer, attract new passengers, and because customer satisfaction rose in response to the improved comfort and safety. The project also demonstrated that the modernized cycle rickshaw could attract 19% of its riders from highly polluting, motorized rickshaws, making its impact on greenhouse gas emission reduction quantifiable.

Today, over 300,000 modernized cycle rickshaws are operating in nine of India’s major cities, including Delhi, Agra, Bharatpur, Brindavan, Mathura, Jaipur and Chandigarh

Based on ITDP’s success in India, we’ve also worked with our partners in Yogyakarta to similarly revitalize the becak as a mode of transportation through improvements to its weight, manoeuvrability, and passenger and operator comfort. (The becak is a non-motorized, three-wheeled rickshaw, distinct from the Indian rickshaw because passengers sit in front of the driver.) The Yogyakarta Tourism Department directly ordered 50 of the modernized becaks to serve as special tourist vehicles.

During 2005, the modernized becak model was further refined and updated to address the suggestions of the drivers and passengers who used the 2004 model, the Bisma. ITDP provided modernized becaks to transport participants at the Better Air Quality conference held by the Clean Air Initiative for Asia in Yogyakarta in December, 2006. Efforts are currently focused on marketing the current model to reach a wider audience.


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