Inspiring Indian cities to create walking-friendly streets through quick measures, in response to COVID-19.


The Streets4People Challenge is an initiative of the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India, to support cities to create walking-friendly streets.

As COVID-19 brought our cities to a halt, citizens across India took to walking and cycling to access essentials and services, and even exercise. Leveraging this opportunity, the Streets4People Challenge was launched to inspire Indian cities to work with their citizens and experts to implement permanent walking-friendly infrastructure, embed institutional reforms, and build momentum for walking and placemaking. In Stage-01 of the Challenge, the cities will test pedestrian-friendly streets, traffic-calmed streets, safe intersections, and other low-cost and quick interventions. Through Stage-02, cities shall convert these temporary interventions into permanent infrastructure, and scale up across the city.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) India is the Challenge co-host and coordinator.

Who can apply?

Cities with 5 lakh+ population

Capital cities of states/UTs

Cities under the Smart Cities Mission

Why should cities apply ?

Through this challenge the cities will be able to create walking-friendly streets through quick measures with support from citizens and experts.

They will also receive guidance on how to create permanent interventions to reimagine streets as public places to make them safe and people-friendly.


COVID-19 has presented the need for physical distancing while moving through the city and accessing essential services. Cities around the world, such as Bogota, Berlin, and Milan have responded by transforming streets for walking and cycling, to ensure safe mobility during COVID-19.

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of open public urban spaces for recreation, mental health, and to enhance the liveability of a city. By placing health and economic recovery at the core of their interventions, cities have reallocated streets for pedestrians, while also allowing local businesses to reopen safely. In New York, the Open Streets: Restaurants program has saved 80,000 jobs by allowing establishments to expand into sidewalks. A Transport for London report shows that improving streets for walking and cycling can increase retail sales by up to a staggering 30%.

The Streets4People Challenge builds on the advisory issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to all states/ cities/ municipal corporations that recommended holistic planning for pedestrian-friendly market spaces.

Events Overview

What can cities do ?


ITDP India will provide ongoing remote assistance to cities to strategize campaigns, design and implement pilot interventions, and develop scale-up plans. The support includes:

  • Hosting a series of online workshops with national and international experts for guiding cities through the Challenge milestones
  • Connecting cities with local CSOs and design experts for assistance in design & implementation
  • Facilitating peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing between cities
  • Preparing and sharing relevant guides, templates, and knowledge materials
  • Assisting cities with communication and outreach

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