Walk Tall!

Walkability in Indian Cities

Indian cities were built for walking and cycling. However, rapid motorization combined with limited attention to pedestrian facilities has inadvertently resulted in a decrease in the overall mode share for non-motorized transport.

Strategies must be introduced in order for people to reclaim the urban environment overrun by motor vehicles. Policies and investments provide an impetus to transform Indian cities, encourage pedestrianization and allow people to enjoy better mobility and quality of life.

To raise awareness of our cities’ deteriorating walkability, and with the ultimate aim of promoting better air quality and livable cities, the CAI-Asia Center and partners decided to conduct walkability surveys in 7 Indian cities.

This map provides information on the current pedestrian infrastructure in selected Indian cities of Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Indore, Pune, Rajkot and Surat.


Walkability can be linked to the quality of built environment, the urban form and connectivity, safety and desirability to walk and accessibility of infrastructure. In simple terms, walkability can be used to describe and measure the connectivity and quality of walkways and sidewalks in cities.

Prioritizing investments which benefit non-motorized transport (NMT) with public transport and provide impetus to new urban planning which promote avoid, shift and improve approaches could transform the Indian cities and allow people to enjoy better access, mobility and quality of life. The magnitude of growth in population and urbanization is something unique in the world and thus the opportunities to create better cities.

“Even today, in most Indian cities, people who commute by walking outnumber those who use vehicles. Yet, the teeming millions remain invisible in the maze of motorized traffic that chokes and pollute our cities. Car centric infrastructure is severing urban landscape, disrupting direct shortest routes of the walkers and increasing distances and travel time for walkers. We want livable cities with well designed sidewalks, safe cross walks and network of green spaces. Make laws to protect walkers and their space stringent. Our Right To Walk is non-negotiable.”

Anumita Roychowdhury – Executive Director of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

 The walkability index can be used to compare cities and subsequently help identify areas for improvement that are site-specific. The walkability survey can raise awareness and generate interest amongst policy makers and city officials and help them in improving the infrastructure.

Singapore has come out tops as the world’s most liveable city for Asian expatriates, according to a 2012 study. (Photo by Wong Maye-E)


Download the Walkability Asia fact sheet here. 

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