Indian Bus Rapid Transit Systems Funded by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - bus rapid transit


Urban development, Under developed countries, Transportation planning, Transportation infrastructure, Third world, Pune (India), Nonmotorized transportation, Less developed countries, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Jaipur (India), Indore (India), India, Funding, Financing, Developing countries, Decision making, Bus rapid transit, Ahmedabad (India)


This paper reviews the planning, implementation, and initial operation of bus rapid transit systems (BRTSs) in India. The initial four cities that received funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) are reviewed: Ahmedabad, Indore, Jaipur, and Pune. JnNURM is a Government of India (GOI) program to support state and local investment in urban development. GOI also adopted a National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP). Indian states and municipalities are required to follow NUTP rules and regulations, including clear incentives for the implementation of public transport systems and nonmotorized infrastructure projects, as opposed to general road construction or expansion projects. This paper describes relevant characteristics of the BRTSs being implemented in each city and provides comments on planning, design, and institutional arrangements. The projects are an important departure from traditional urban transport practices in Indian cities: they prioritize the use of public transport and nonmotorized modes. Nevertheless, this preliminary survey suggests that in most cases a strong focus remains on infrastructure, while other elements of BRTSs receive less attention. As a result, the full potential of BRTSs is not necessarily attained. Regarding planning activities, it is noted that demand estimation and operations design could have been more elaborate. This paper provides general recommendations for planners, decision makers, and funding agencies in an effort to improve the state of the practice in India and other developing countries.