India Director Wins 2015 Sustainability Trailblazer Award
Madhav Pai, India Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities has won the Sustainability Trailblazer 2015 Award at the Parivartan Sustainability Leadership Awards held in New Delhi on Thursday, 15 October 2015. The Parivartan Awards were instituted by Sustainability Outlook aimed to recognize companies and individuals who have demonstrated comprehensive business leadership in sustainability.
Madhav co-founded EMBARQ India in January 2008 and has been responsible for overall leadership, strategy development, initiative design, staff hiring, mentoring and fund raising. Today, EMBARQ India is considered a leader on urban mobility and development issues in India. In seven years, Madhav has grown the programme to a 40-member team, catalysing real outcomes in over 15 cities across the country, through long-term, sustained interventions that have benefitted millions of Indians. Five key initiatives that have had significant impact in helping cities change the mobility paradigm from moving cars to moving people are scaling Bus Rapid Transit, Bus Karo, Raahgiri Day, Rickshaw Rising and Safe Access to Mass Transit.
In April 2002, Madhav was inspired by a speech he heard by Enrique Penalosa, the ex-Mayor of Bogota, where he spoke of his vision to build cities for children’s happiness and not for automobile’s mobility. “When I was 10 our school playground was taken over by a giant building. In my teen years, the play areas around our buildings slowly became parking lots. The zeitgeist of the 80’s and 90’s strongly equated cars with development and we accepted that losing open spaces and playgrounds to expressways and flyovers was the inevitable price. But hearing Penalosa speak about open public spaces, pedestrian promenades and public libraries – and how it was possible if you made the right choices by building transport systems that move people and not cars was inspiring. It made me believe change was possible” says Madhav.
In 2014, EMBARQ India's work has helped catalyse over 346 million passengers trips, 37 million hours saved, 38,200 tons of CO2 reduced, and 414 million USD public investments leveraged to improve sustainable transport.