EMBARQ-FedEx Collaboration Aims to Improve Public Transport in Developing Countries

Developing cities like Delhi grapple with establishing organized public transport systems. Photo by Mani Babbar.

This post was originally published on EMBARQ.org.

A new collaboration to optimize city bus operations in Mexico, Brazil and India was announced today by FedEx Corp. and EMBARQ, the World Resources Institute’s center for sustainable transport (the producer of this blog.)

“Thanks to the generous financial and in-kind support from FedEx, some of the world’s largest cities will be able to improve their public transit systems, which are critical in this time of rapid urbanization,” EMBARQ Director Holger Dalkmann said. “Especially in developing cities, the key to scaling up sustainable transportation is being able to adapt to growth, and leveraging relationships between the private, public and nonprofit sectors to find new solutions.”

FedEx will provide $1.4 million over two years to EMBARQ to provide technical expertise on sustainable transportation projects that improve quality of life in cities. This grant is a continuation of FedEx’s successful collaboration with EMBARQ’s Center for Sustainable Transport in Mexico (CTS-EMBARQ México), which began in February 2010 with a $500,000 grant to help Mexico City’s Metrobus optimize its vehicle operations.

“We’re excited to scale-up our work with EMBARQ so that we can have an impact not just in Mexico, but also in Brazil and India, two of the world’s fastest growing economies,” said Mitch Jackson, vice president of FedEx Environmental Affairs & Sustainability. “We have a lot of expertise to share. FedEx moves packages and EMBARQ helps cities move people. As a company, FedEx sees the benefits that come from better route design and more efficient, cleaner fuels and vehicles. Now imagine if bus operators and passengers could also enjoy those same benefits? You would have faster commutes, safer streets, and cleaner air. That’s what this collaboration is all about.”

Through workshops, field visits and direct consultation, EMBARQ transport planners and FedEx global experts will team up to provide support to developing cities in fuel and vehicle technologies, vehicle asset management, and real-time user information systems. In addition, to prevent injuries and deaths from traffic collisions, the project in Mexico will work to train hundreds of bus drivers on key safety principles.

“Safety is a top priority for us, considering we have hundreds of vehicles on the streets of Mexico and tens of thousands of vehicles across the globe,” FedEx Express Vice President of Global Vehicles Dennis Beal said. “It’s important that all users of the road are protected.”

In India, EMBARQ and FedEx will increase the technical capacity of city transport agencies to organize their bus systems, advising on areas like vehicle maintenance, procurement and technology, as well as data collection and management.

“FedEx’s guidance will go a long way in helping Indian officials—from bus operators to bureaucrats—realize the significance that bus-based systems can play in alleviating mobility problems, including congestion, air pollution and unsafe roads,” EMBARQ India Director Madhav Pai said.

In Brazil, urban and transport planners are working hard to upgrade urban infrastructure to manage the millions of visitors expected in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

FedEx will work with EMBARQ’s Research and Practice team to create a decision support system for helping Brazilian cities choose the best fuel and vehicle technologies for new transit systems based on cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits.

Finally, EMBARQ and FedEx have also launched the EMBARQ-FedEx Fellowship, a two-year program to equip promising staff in EMBARQ’s Mexico, Brazil and India offices with the tools and knowledge to make an impact within their respective cities. The fellows recently completed a 10-day training at FedEx’s corporate headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., where they received leadership and technical training from senior FedEx staff. The Fellows will go back to their home country and apply their knowledge to improve EMBARQ’s FedEx-funded activities, which may include trainings, research and on-the-ground sustainable transport projects.

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