During my stay in New York last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with Walter Hook of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (or ITDP). A 23-year old organization, ITDP consults on mass transit systems and urban development for cities and governments. They focus on providing sustainable transportation systems -- advocating and strengthening bicycle systems, developing low-cost rickshaws, implementing bus rapid transit systems (a significant decrease in cost over subway and other rapid transit systems) and stressing the importance of low-emission, safe development that accounts for population growth.
ITDP is active worldwide working on several high-profile projects both in the US as well as developing world countries. During my stay in India back in February, I spent a day in Agra visiting the Taj Mahal, which is a hotspot for viewing the evolution of the cycle rickshaw ITDP developed for India. Their prior prototypes are in use throughout the city, addressing the cities need to preserve the Taj Mahal by reducing the amount of air pollution around the city. Their final design cost only $100 -- 300,000 are operating in nine of India's major cities. From their website:
"In collaboration with local experts, ITDP developed design innovations that made India's traditional cycle rickshaw lighter, more comfortable, and easier to handle. The improved design increased the earning power of cycle rickshaw operators and drew passengers away from highly polluting, motorized rickshaws. "
Not bad at all.