Northern Lakes Data Corporation (NLDC), a Minnesota company that specializes in transportation technology, is investing about $28 million to improve the public transportation system of Haryana, a state in northern India. The investment will go toward increasing the number of buses in the state, improving the technological capacity of buses by enabling GPS tracking, and improving payment infrastructure on new intercity bus routes. The investment is expected to create about 2,000 jobs directly and indirectly.
This push to improve public transportation comes as part of a broader effort in Haryana to reduce pollution. Beyond the new investments in buses, Haryana has pledged to become a kerosene free state and convert thermal power plants into green energy plants. During an August 29 visit to Haryana, a US envoy led by Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster praised the state’s efforts, declaring that the United States and Haryana have great potential to work together on reducing pollution, including on joint research and technology exchange.
Along with being an environmentally sound decision, investing in public transportation can provide huge benefits to city residents. Available public transportation can substantially reduce the amount of money people spend on cars, decrease the risk of traffic accidents, and support nearby businesses. Buses also move people more efficiently than cars, helping to alleviate congestion on roads and reduce overall vehicle emissions. The NLDC investment includes GPS tracking for buses, which allows passengers to know when buses will arrive, making public transportation a more reliable option for people’s commutes. By optimizing the efficiency of Haryana’s buses, NLDC can help increase ridership on both short and long distance routes and earn a strong return on their investment while also the boosting the state’s economy in a multitude of direct and indirect ways.
The United States and Asia have long leaned on each other for help with public transportation. In 2015, Washington State agreed to buy 800 energy efficient electric buses from a Chinese automobile manufacturer. Similarly, in 2016, Washington, DC purchased 136 metro railcars from Japan’s Kawasaki Motors to improve service on its bustling transit system. New York City followed suit in 2018, purchasing 500 railcars from the same company. In terms of investment, Minnesota and India are especially connected. Since 2003, India has invested approximately $1.7 billion in Minnesota and created over 1,300 jobs in the state, both more than any other Asian country. Education is a key point of exchange between India and Minnesota as well. Almost 1,700 Indian students studied abroad in Minnesota in 2017, facilitating exchange that leads to joint research, cooperation, and significant advancements in sustainable economic growth.
Luke Pluta-Ehlers is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington. He is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago studying Global Studies and Geography.
[Image by Daniel Villafruela, CC BY-SA 3.0]