Raahgiri Day is India’s first sustained car-free citizen initiative that began in Gurgaon on Nov 17, 2013. The movement was conceived and is trademarked with the Raahgiri Foundation, consisting of local inhabitants from five organizations – EMBARQ India, I Am Gurgaon, Pedalyatri, Heritage School Gurgaon, Duplays Gurgaon.
It was not long thereafter that this weekly event – that closes streets to cars in the name of sustainable and active transport – arrived in the world’s second largest city – New Delhi. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) together with the New Delhi Police Department took the lead in hosting car-free Sundays in the inner circle of New Delhi’s Connaught Place each week, beginning 13th July 2014. Expanding the movement from Gurgaon, population 800,000 people, to New Delhi, population 22 million, has definitely been a huge leap, one that reminds us that reorienting cities around people – not cars – is achievable.
On 12th July, 2015, this movement completed one year in Connaught Place. Moving from a turnout of 5000 people, on first Raahgiri in Connaught Place, to 20,000 people today, and expanding to Dwarka, Rohini & East Delhi areas in Delhi, the movement has shown a tremendous growth. This has also started New Delhi on an important path towards combating air pollution and improving public health, and moved all of India one step closer towards being an exemplar of sustainable urban development for other emerging economies.
Some of the salient findings of a study carried out by EMBARQ India covering over 250 respondents and 30 Business establishments on Raahgiri Day Connaught Place are showcased in this report