Improved mobility can address a range of development challenges by enabling communities to access basic needs, health services, education, markets and livelihood opportunities. This is especially true for rural India where conventional mobility solutions largely cater to long-distance connectivity, high density hubs and loading volumes, leaving out low density, village centric areas and limiting mobility for those without personal vehicles (esp. women). Covid-19 has also acutely impacted the already severe rates of unemployment, pushing individuals to take up underpaid, irregular and daily wage jobs that offer very limited or no scope for growth and development.
Sustain Plus’s focus on clean mobility is directed towards creating sustainable livelihoods for men and women in the mobility space and improving the last-mile connectivity landscape in rural and peri-urban regions, especially for excluded, underserved and vulnerable groups.
Sector experts estimate that nearly 48% of the Indian population in rural areas need to walk between 2-10 km to reach their workplace. The absence of transport infrastructure affects women more, having to rely on male members to access public spaces, education, healthcare and livelihood opportunities. 3-wheeler EVs (e-rickshaws) are well suited for both passenger mobility and logistics needs in this segment. Introducing e-rickshaws in these communities is a much needed solution, especially when driven by women themselves. EVs also have the potential to plug the gap in affordable agricultural logistics available for small and marginal farmers for selling their produce at local markets.
By combining e-vehicles with blended financing and capacity building, women and men are empowered to be entrepreneurs, with greater control and agency over their income and time.