Friday Fun: Even floating yogis take the Janmarg
Passengers ride Ahmedabad, India's BRT. Photo by EMBARQ.

Passengers ride Ahmedabad, India’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, the Janmarg, which has dramatically altered the city’s transport network. Photo by EMBARQ.

Today’s Friday Fun brings you a colorful and cheeky animated short from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy’s (ITDP) India office called JAM, presenting Ahmedabad’s award-winning bus rapid transit (BRT) system – the Janmarg.

The film, made by Ketaki Jadhav of Ahmedabad’s National Institute of Design and ITDP, is a rather unique spotlight on the Janmarg for a few reasons. For one, it lends a refreshingly local and contextualized flavor to the concept of BRT. It unapologetically depicts the vibrant rough-and-tumble of a typical morning commute in India and highlights reasons why the Janmarg, which means the “people’s way,” is a radical game-changer for public transport – complete with some very characteristic street vernacular. Check out the short below:

The Janmarg is already a source of pride for the residents of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, and for good reason! The nearly 40 kilometer (24.9 mile) network of busways carries 52,000 passengers every day and has drastically improved the efficiency of the city’s transport network. Building on that success, this short is a great public presentation that conveys the BRT idea to Indian audiences in other cities with a familiarity they will be able to appreciate.

Public outreach is an essential part of good transport planning and a particularly important step in developing the cohesive brand and imagery that helps set BRT systems apart from traditional bus services. For India, where private vehicles are still the minority, public awareness is just one part of bringing democracy and equity to the streets through public transport and inclusive design.

BRT networks like the Janmarg have the potential to positively impact cities across India, where 31% of its 1.2 billion citizens are urban residents – about 395.8 million people. In this next video, Madhav Pai – Director of EMBARQ India – explains how safe, reliable public transport is a crucial step towards improving the quality of life in Indian cities.

In 2010, the Janmarg won the Sustainable Transport Award for its innovation and leadership in public transport, inspiring a number of similar projects across India. This year, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Indore, India; Lanzhou, China; and Suwon, South Korea are in the running, so stay tuned for the announcement of the 2014 winner next week!

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