Page 1

but do we listen?


6 Prelude 8 Research 60 Waiting 64





System Design


References Conclusion Logo Signage Smart Cards System Elements









ing a rest.

Civilization is only CHAOS tak

Graham Hancock in Fingerprints of the Gods.



Taking a stroll to free the mind or rapid paces, to catch the last local or the next bus, streets of India are the prime subject of visual culture because of its dynamic movement and people. Streets convey meaning through every aspect of its being. It is stagnant physically yet the elements supporting it are stunningly expressive. Indian streets are varied in nature because of the myriad cultures omnipresent. It can be a writer’s muse or a directors’ shot, a painters canvas or a poets thoughts, a designers problem or a beggars monetary solution. It is non-exhaustive and a power house of inspiration. Physically it differs by names and lanes but its emotional expressesion finds relevance in every form interacting with it. Whether these are vehicles, street art, barbers or posters. But do we pay attention? This book celebrates the colourful and uniquely creative visual culture of the Indian Streets. It showcases research on various related domains - on a local and global level. Finally it showcases a solution to stop people from scurrying and notice the true inspiration that the streets hold for people. Aimed to increase the sensitivity of the public, the book focuses to create a system for easy interaction between humans and the autorickshaw in the coming future.



An attempt to understand and document the rich visual culture of Mumbai streets and intercept the secrets of survival of the fifteen million souls residing in the City of Dreams through: photographs research people’s perceptions direct views from surveys illustration

Chor Bazaar, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 14.00 hrs IST


Mumbai, the city of dreams has always welcomed strangers and visitors into its lap for exploration. But the glossy nebulous dreams melt away the moment you try to grasp them. The city seduces commoners into its dreams and the charm of it is too seductive to let pass. Mumbai is restless, transient but the pulse of its past still runs through its streets. Mumbai encompasses all manner of paradoxical realities within its moist borders which is evident from its name transformations, from being Bombay to Bambai to Mumbai in four centuries. The fifteen million souls that inhabit this island city belong to numerous ethnic and religious backgrounds, yet they manage to communicate through diffrent tongues and diverse histories. Phase 1 of the research involved studying various streets of Mumbai through photographs and inked sketches. Intense understanding of the city’s history and the transformations that affected its name was the core focus. The visuals of today bring forward a chaos and mayhem in communication. The proposal of an underlying system for better social interaction and the designing of a communication programme for the same needed thorough knowledge of the dream city’s diverse history and attributes. The visuals reveal Mumbai today while the sketches attempt to recreate its history.

Linking Road in Bandra is a shoppers haven for its street cut rates and impecccable styles. It showcases the latest trends in clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. The streets are flooded with people bargaining with hawkers to get a good deal. Linking Road, Bandra, Mumbai, India. 14.02.10 | 17.00 hrs IST


Shuttling is an idea that is completely essential for survival in the big city. Mumbai Police men who are too poor to afford vehicles shuttle from one street to another taking rides by passers-by. I begin to think what a novel idea it might be to introduce this concept of sharing rides and giving lifts in the public transport domain like auto rickshaws. Every year people from around the subcontinent and indeed the world attempt to sink new roots in this city reclaimed from marshes and tidal basins, a city whose brackish soil has proved uncharacteristically fertile for people who have eccentric schemes, but above all a strong belief that they can earn themselves a better life if they put in an honest day’s work. The conviction that you can make it anywhere if you can make it in Mumbai is one I recognize from the stories of Chotu, a film shuttler working in Film City at Goregaon (E), Mumbai.

Mohammad Ali Street Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 15.30 hrs IST

The brotherhood of ‘shuttlers’, men who help movie distributers maximize their profits by couriering film reels between theatres in the same general vicinity is truly an inspiring instinct of survival in the magnanimous Mumbai city. The shuttlers relate stories of bruised limbs and frequent brushes with the traffic police, but a unique code of honour. The main movie distribution business of Mumbai operates from Naaz building on Lamington Road. The gentle men in the city’s oldest distribution business do not poach each other’s territory but instead share film reels for survival by employing hundreds of shuttlers. Hence movies are scheduled at specifc timings for awaiting the arrival of reels.


Though numerous air-conditioned parlours with internationally trained hair artists have made their way into the posher streets of Mumbai, barbers present in narrow alleys and footpaths continue to don their mastery over the poor clientele. Needless to say, extra charges for that special head massage. Chor Bazaar, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 16.00 hrs IST


Over the years, the idea of Mumbai as a melting-pot city has found expression in myriad fields of endeavour, some of them sublime, some of them a little suspect. The rewards of diversity can be seen everywhere. Mumbai nurtures a multiplicity of cultures. To witness how vigorously multicultarism surges through the city’s veins, consider the Dadar Phool bazaar and the ‘Kal Nirnay’ almanacs that have traditionally hung on the walls of the Mumbai homes. While the phool bazaar throbs with Hindu and Muslims amalgamating together to earn their next dinner, the almanac dislplays dates according to the Gregorian, Hindu, Muslim and Parsi calendars along with major and minor festivals of Judaism, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. There is a rush to offer these embodiments of beauty to the Almighty of all religions. The streets of Dadar emanate with a spirit of togetherness in a city where violence frequently surfaces to divide people.

Flowers find their true glory as the old and new generations conglomerate outside Dadar (W) Station to sell vast quantities of garlands, loose petals or rare lotuses. Flowers which epitomize the beauty of nature become the sole bread earner for numerous such families thronging the adjacent station streets. Dadar Phool Market, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 9.00 hrs IST


Cultures, caste and religion transcend boundaries in the businesses of this fast paced city. To achieve success, in the City of dreams, interactions and networks need to formate. Then only we can dream of spaces with healthy social interactions where work amalgamates with pleasure to create strong networks in valuable information exchange. Dadar Phool Market, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 10.00 hrs IST

The sidewalks of Dadar West bustles with noise and chaos as the morning bears witness to the quintals of flowers being sold. A riot of colours and space management is evident from observations where street sellers carry the world of necessities with them in their small pouches and their handy mobile phones. Transactions occur in cash but orders over signals with some claiming their presence on the world wide web. While press and media houses become their sole form of referential advertising, the main business of the phool bazaar drives on trust. Trust of timely delivery and quality along with sharing of spaces in the narrow alleys and side-walks. The street sellers are a witness to the undying spirit of Mumbai.


The narrow lanes of Chor Bazaar showcases exclusive designs and strong colours synonymous to the Indian image or brand. Here the shop stocks up special wedding head gears for the Bohra Muslims The unique designs, patterns and colours are a witness to India’s popular culture. Chor Bazaar, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 18.30 hrs IST


Like in other space-starved cities around the world, real estate is an obsession with all Mumbaikars, rich and poor, but the cash transfusions of the new economy have driven the land market into a frenzy. This has resulted in a dramatic re-organization of the city’s landscape. While the stately gothic institutions - the high court, the museum, the university - and art deco blocks of the downtown Colaba and Fort area remain intact, frentic construction has erupted down the length of the island city and far beyond. Everyone wants too see the sea and they are willing to pay exhorbitant amounts for the same.

Every day 15 million Mumbai souls, whether rich or poor, dream of a little more space in their city of dreams. Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai, India. 13.02.10 | 14.00 hrs IST


Land-use regulations have been altered to allow construction firms to build on industrial plots in the heart of the city, and on agricultural and forest land in the more distant suburbs. Housing developments for the upper middle class have sprung up in areas like Powai, Versova, Kandivali, Antop Hill and Mulund. Southern Mumbai has always remained the seat of the institutions of high culture but it is no longer the only place with interesting restaurants and well-stocked stores. Mumbai’s landscape, which encourages islands of opulence amidst an ocean of squalor, is merely the physical expression of neoliberalism.

The increased supply of housing and retail space is far outstripped by demand, so a cost of buying a flat in some areas of Mumbai exceeds prices in New York. Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai, India. 13.02.10 | 14.00 hrs IST


Mumbai has always been a city of contrasts, ‘unsuited for song as well as sense’, as Nissim Ezkei noted in his poem ‘Island’. But the realization that India’s economic surge is directly responsible because of Mumbai, so much that the seventh richest person on the planet (Forbes magazine) resides in this city, it seems inexplicable that more than half of Mumbai’s fifteen million residents continue to live in slums. Chor Bazaar, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 18.30 hrs IST


The Mumbai resident has always cherished eclecticism and has embraced the flavours of the world. The palate has evidently been a mix of the coolest thirst quenchers and the spiciest of chaats. Lassi at Rs 5, Dadar Station, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 13.00 hrs IST

If only historians rewrote nationalist histories from the vantage point of this humble food much of the mindless debates about origins and authenticity could be discarded forever and a more dynamic history could shape our future. Bhelpuri, Fort Mumbai, India. 13.02.10 | 14.00 hrs IST

The side walks of Mumbai are the best places to sample the city’s heterogeneity. Long before food writers coined the phrase ‘fusion food’, Mumbai was cooking the stuff up on its streets and consuming it with a passion. The wada pao and pao bhaji are perfect examples of Mumbai’s multicultural heritage, while one part has its origin in the state of Maharashtra, the pao is an european import. Mumbai’s palate is also an intrinsic part of the city’s audioscape. Every evening, the thoroughfares around many of the city’s railway stations come alive to the clanking of griddles as street-side chefs mash up vegetables for the feast.


Tucked away in the narrow lanes of Mutton Street are hotels serving the most mouth watering biryanis and kebabs. Cooking of this sumptuous meal requires immense team work and dedication by these street chefs. Mutton Street, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 15.00 hrs IST

Sweltering heat from the summer sun and the burning coal furnace draws no reaction from Saif, the skilled assistant to the biryani chef of Sohrab Hotel on Mutton Street. The overtly noisy table fan gives temporary relief as he concentrates cutting huge kilograms of kanda (onions) and batata (potatoes) for the biryani preparations for the evening. Adjacent to this open street kitchen is the cooking area where Sohrab stands with his other assistant choosing his masalas and the right heat level. The team work and the sharing of responsibilities involved in making such huge quantities of meals is incredible. Serving the hungry of Chor Bazaar, it is a popular hangout area of street vendors and the shoppers.


In the sweltering heat of Mumbai, fruit chaats provide a relief to the scurrying public. These side walk street sellers are a boon for its cheap prices and fast service.

Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 15.00 hrs IST


Mehendi is auspicious for all marriages and involves adorning hands with detailed patterns. Eco friendly mehendi is the norm of today’s age. Strange, that a coloured powder like Mehendi can erase the boundaries of religion, creed and class. Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 15.45 hrs IST

Mumbai gives the vibes of a modern city with criss crossing fly-overs and posh boutiques. But its realsim finds relevance in the innumerable street dwellers to whom the streets are their sweet home. Most beg for a living while others run the length and breadth of the city of dreams to find a suitable job for a better life. At one end while real estate developers continue to build skyscrapers by completely subverting the city’s development plans, on the other end more slums pop up in the suburbs endangered by the Mumbai rains. It is during such a rainy afternoon of 26 July 2005 that Mumbai got destroyed. A deluge which left 447 people dead and flooded the homes of tens of thousands of people, both rich and poor. It might have paralyzed the city but not its indomitable spirit. The 26 July Mumbai rains destoyed the lives of many on the streets and left Mumbai crippled. Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 15.45 hrs IST


Hawkers add life to every street. Travelling from the distant suburbs in the locals at early hours, they conglomerate at narrow alleys and sidewalks to make a living. They epitomize the clash between those who want to turn Mumbai into a ‘world-class’ metropolis and those who still inhabit the older city. Though the municipality has built a five-storey hawking plaza next to Dadar Station, vendors have refused to move, pointing out that their business depends on the random transactions of people leaving the railway station. In the whirlwind of work and reaching home, the hawkers carry their world with them and sell wares at prices that accentuate savings for the general public. In a mall you might get ripped but the streets always try to be honest in their bargains.

Street hawkers are a mini scattered super market. The only disadvantage is, identifying their locations initially. I wonder the possibilities of easy reference if a directory of up-market malls, boutiques and street markets were made. Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 13.15 hrs IST


Streets do not decipher degrees. Here, Shrivastava the road side electrician sits to repair a toaster. He has had no formal education yet his street smart skills have helped him earn a living in the slippery world of employment in magnanimous Mumbai. Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 15.45 hrs IST



The life of streets depend on the elements it interacts with. People crowd streets depending on availability of goods and locations of buildings. Left: Vegetable vendor, Dadar Watches on display, Fort Below: Fruit Chaat, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, India.

Street sellers provide a riot of colours on display and are the lifeline of these concrete spaces. Fast paced and always upbeat, their excitement levels are unbeatable. No ratecards or fancy branding, their usp lies in their mock talk. The interactions built are minimal and at times of bargain hillarious. I begin to imagine what would life be without a baragin? More meaningful, peaceful and organized or simply non-exciting and a feeling of being constantly cheated. Hoping the answers lie with those who initiate such exciting talks which are an integral part of street life.


The discovery of superstitious beliefs in this fast paced city seems like a joke. Yet certain side walks bear witness to rare items on display. Here we see precious stones and arm tablets for relief from daily sickness and poor mental health. Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 15.45 hrs IST


There are some whose lives are spent under the stars trying to find a foot hold in the busy city. They are aloof, alone and sometimes eccentric. They have slowed down in their race for survival and left their existence to the streets. I really shudder to think about these individuals whose privacy has been totally destroyed. These are the people who are true in their existence away from false fallacies and hypocrisies. They are homeless in a city where the thriving business of real estate is constantly changing the skyline of this dynamic city. The rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer. In such a situation, it is the citizens of this dream city that can save the Mumbai meltdown by collectively sharing their resources, time, space and wealth.

The streets are a home for the homeless. A man in deep slumber on the side walks of Fort area. The area bustles with noise from surrounding bargains but it is of no concern to the homeless whose only abode in this city of slippery hope are the streets. Fort, Mumbai, India. 14.02.10 | 14.15 hrs IST

The spirit of Mumbai is immortal and its real test comes in the myriad situations of violent terrorist attacks and natural calamities that attempts to cripple this magananimous city. It is the unity of the citizens that has kept Mumbai pacy despite repeated acts of blood shed and politics.

Chowpatty, Mumbai, India. 13.02.10 | 12.30 hrs IST

The roadside hawkers and their make-shift shops complete with blue plastic sheets are the most accessile avenues of purchase for the public. The reason being, their presence at common access points like nearby to stations or next to tourist spots and historical monuments. They attract the customer at the accurate moment i.e. when they are returning home from office. Fort Area, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 15.45 hrs IST


Posters are informative and a strong source of advertising in today’s age. But their advantages seems to take a backseat more because the amount of paper wastage it generates. Anything which exceeds its limit of aesthetics also loses its functionality. In the present times posters are being plastered at all building corners and open spaces to such extents that it kills the beauty of streets. It is a reflection of poor taste and cheap advertising. People may wonder how effective these newsprint pamphlet or posters are in advertising in today’s age where the common public have no time to pause and notice. Advertising in today’s age need to attract a great deal of attention. It is almost like a game of seduction. No longer do people want to read monotonous messages or telephone numbers on bright coloured paper. The audience has become more observant, intelligent and sensitive to the messages in today’s age and time. The following visual below is an example of what happens when information fails to reach the masses.

This wall next to Sion area is a prime example of the visual jargon that flanks the walls of today’s cities. In an attempt to communicate to the masses, it fails to deliver any information. Sion, Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 13.15 hrs IST


The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is an annual festival, usually around nine days long, held in late January or early February, in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai, India. From its inception in 1999, the Festival has grown in stature and popularity, attracting visitors and participants from other parts of the country, and the world. The Festival is organised by the Kala Ghoda Association (a non-profit organisation that states its objectives as “physically upgrading the Kala Ghoda sub-precinct and making it the Art District of Mumbai�) and curated by teams handling each of the sub-festivals. The sub-festivals feature the visual arts, dance, music, theatre, cinema, literature, lectures, seminars and workshops, heritage walks, special events for children, and a vibrant street festival. Entry to all events is free to all (only restricted by the size of the venues) and costs are met through corporate sponsorship. Venues include The Jehangir Art Gallery, The National Gallery of Modern Art, the David Sassoon Library, Max Mueller Bhavan, Elphinstone College, the K R Cama Institute, the M C Ghia Hall, and the street area of Rampart Row. Rampart Row is closed off to vehicular traffic for the duration of the festival, with the entire area becoming a street mela, with food stalls, artisans selling their creations, artists who sketch instant portraits, street art installations and the like. In recent years, the Festival has expanded beyond the Kala Ghoda crescent, with events being held in Azad Maidan and Horniman Circle as well..

Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, India. 13.02.10 | 12.00 hrs IST


Culture finds relevance in the Kala Ghoda Street Art Festival where accessible workshops, unique installations and interesting collectibles are displayed. Left & Below: Traditional Chau Dance, Kala Ghoda Festival 2010 Mumbai, India. 14.02.10 | 13.00 hrs IST

Street sellers provide a riot of colours on display and are the lifeline of these concrete spaces. Fast paced and always upbeat, their excitement levels are unbeatable. No ratecards or fancy branding, their usp lies in their mock talk. While the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival has become an annual mecca to see the cultural “who’s who” of the city, the idea has always been for it to be democratic, allowing everyone to experience a heavy dose of local culture totally free of cost.


A shooting in progress in Mumbai’s Film City area where hundred’s of films are produced every year. The shooting ambience is being re-created with rain machine nozzles in the sweltering heat of Mumbai. Film City, Goregaon (E) Mumbai, India. 25.03.10 | 13.15 hrs IST

Mumbai is the worst hit city when it comes to water supply to its houses. While high-rise apartments arise rapidly drawing illegal water pipelines, the slums with their stark blue tarpaulin covers dig the earth to discover the precious drop. Here we see, in film city, a set being recreated. Huge nozzles attached to water tanks create the rainy effect on a sweltering hot summer day. Film City, Goregaon (E) Mumbai, India. 25.03.10 | 13.30 hrs IST


Streets of Film city at Goregaon are filled with random shoots. Bollywood actually lives out the cliches about obliterating communitarian boundaries that it preaches on screen. Below: An old actor looks into the camera to help adjust the focal length. Film City, Goregaon (E) Mumbai, India. 1.04.10 | 16.00 hrs IST

The success of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival has, arguably, encouraged the setting up of several other arts and cultural festivals at that time of the year, when the weather in Mumbai is cool and the sun sets early. These include the Mumbai Festival, the celebrated Bandra Festival, and in 2007, the Kitab Festival. In another notable divergence from set practice, Bollywood’s camera rarely venture into Mumbai’s streets anymore. Hindi films are most likely to be shot in Switzerland or Australia, perhaps because its too embarrassing to depict an urbanscape in which 55 percent of the residents live in slums and sidewalks of streets.


A shooting in progress in Mumbai’s film city area. Huge budgets and large teams work behind the execution of an entire film. Bollywood is one of the major resources of income for the myriad masses residing in Mumbai. Film City, Goregaon (E) Mumbai, India. 25.03.10 | 13.15 hrs IST


Mumbai adds more than five hundred vehicles to its narrow streets every day; it would be inaccurate to refer to the busiest commuting time as the rush hour because traffic moves at a sorry twelve kilometres per hour. Despite this, the majority of transport investment in recent decades has gone into the road system rather than into new public transport initiatives. Though construction has started on the first phase of a new metro railway system between Andheri and Ghatkopar, work seems to be progressing very slowly. The unrelenting crush ensures that every sensation is heightened to an almost surreal level. Mumbai seems noisier, more polluted and smellier than just about any other city on the planet. When the Hungarian author, Arthur Koestler stepped off te plane in 1959, he remarked, ‘I had the sensation that a wet, smelly diaper was being wrapped around my head.’ The unremitting pressure of the crowd has given Mumbaikars the remarkable ability to construct a bubble of privacy around themselves in the most public places. Each evening, the city’s shore fills up with courting youth’s displaying their yearning in full view of strangers simply because they have absolutely no place in which to be alone; married couples who live in tiny homes with joint families must also escape to parks or seasides to have confidential conversations. The BEST services and the railways are the lifeline of Mumbai City. The lack of proper planning in the road transport system of Mumbai causes commuters to wait for long hours. Below: BEST buses in Mumbai SIon Area Mumbai, India. 1.04.10 | 14.00 hrs IST


The greatest indignity that results from Mumbai’s lack of privacy is to be witnessed by the railway tracks and along the coast at dawn. Half of all Mumbaikars- six million people-are forced to defecate in the open because of the criminal lack of public toilets. The city is estimated to have only 1.300 functioning public toilets - one for every 10,769 residents. Dharavi, the city’s largest slum, has about one toilet stall for 800 people. If the toilets were in constant use twenty-four hours a day, Dharavi residents would still have to wait for a week to enter. According to the 2001 census, 27,220 Mumbaikars are compacted into each square kilometre. The contest for space is most acute in Mumbai trains. At peak hour, the trains are packed with atleast five thousand commuters, even though they’re built for only eighteen hundred. Every day, an average of eleven people die on the railway system, either because they fall off the trains or because they’re hit by passing locomotives as they cross tracks. The citizens of Mumbai need space, time and information for a better survival. With the Mumbai road transport system thinking of serious developments, the modern vehicle of Mumbai’s future is the auto rickshaw to take the pressure off the tracks.

With land so scarce, landsharks are constantly on the prowl. Mumbai’s real estate prices are among the highest in the world. Streets of Chor Bazaar Mumbai, India. 20.03.10 | 14.00 hrs IST


WAIT WAIT WAIT ..... but for how long? The biggest irony lies in the fact that though Mumbai is termed as a fast paced city, its biggest problem lies in its road traffic which moves at a rate of twelve kms per hour. People are waiting in traffic or eagerly waiting to catch an autorickshaw willing to take them home after a tired day’s work. The following pages document the problems faced by commuters in the domain of autorickshaw transport. Their direct views through surveys and silent observations on streets.

Mohammed Ali Road Mumbai, India. 25.03.10 | 14.00 hrs IST







Goregaon Bus Depot. Mumbai, India. 11.04.10 | 13.00 hrs IST



Goregaon Bus Depot. Mumbai, India. 11.04.10 | 13.00 hrs IST


Everytime, the numbers change, DECEPTIVELY, like narrow lanes.

The autorickshaw meter with its black body and ticking noise has been a commuters bane because of its highly corrupted readings and ill displays. The act of decipering the actual amount of payment is ambiguous in different cities. Also in low light conditions because of its dark background display, it is difficult to gauge the fare amount or unit of consumption. Auto ride from Andheri to Goregaon Mumbai, India. 30.03.10 | 11.15 hrs IST


A toll free NUMBER, can alleviate, the behaviour of men, under rexine spreads.

The Mumbai traffic being astonishingly slow at peak hours, a person stuck in an auto gets wrestless as there are ample opportunities of boredom. Except for waiting for the light to turn green or shout abuses at the traffic controller at the signal, the human energy gets dissipated into frustration and anger. Auto ride from Andheri to Goregaon Mumbai, India. 30.03.10 | 11.15 hrs IST


Secretly hidden, in the auto lies, DEAD SPACES that can add to functional style.

The autorickshaw has ample opportunities of advertising and can become the single largest medium for social advertising because of its connectivity and reach into the narrowest of lanes and streets of a city. Places where other public transport cannot penetrate, the auto has the potential to move ahead and spread messages for social consciousness or entertainment. Auto ride from Andheri to Goregaon Mumbai, India. 30.03.10 | 11.15 hrs IST


Iconic SEATS, need a change. Time to say adieu to the mundane.

Ever wondered why the upholstery of an auto looks monotonous with its standard blue or black rexine colour schemes? The seats of auto can be a great branding opportunity for corporates or a strong medium for expressing messages of social consciousness. Auto ride from Andheri to Goregaon Mumbai, India. 30.03.10 | 11.15 hrs IST


Mini mirror hanging out, DUAL functions it provides.

The side mirrors of an auto are originally present for checking the pieces of traffic sticking out at the back to avoid accidents. It is also used as a quick mirror for checking out the facial freshness levels or if the hair strands are in place before going for that important meeting or job interview. Auto ride from Andheri to Goregaon Mumbai, India. 30.03.10 | 11.15 hrs IST


Age groups studied:


Income groups studied:



Public transport preference:

5% 3%



18% 45%

47% 24%

18% 87%

18-25 years 25-40 years 40-60 years 60+ years


No income less than 5,000 5,000-10,000 10,000-20,000 20,000 above 50,000 above

Bus Train Autorickshaw Taxi Metro

Inferences: The responders to the online survey mainly ranged in the age group of 25-40 years. Professions studied varied people from myriad backgrounds like design, college students, software engineers, business professionals, doctors, factory workers, servants. To get an eclectic mix of the crowd, people were mainly studied from Mumbai city and a few other cities like Delhi, Pune, Kolkata. While working professionals in the income group range of five thousand to twenty thousand preferred taking an auto, commuters earning less than that preferred trains in Mumbai city with a combination of an auto. Autorickshaw was preferred over other public transport because of its ease of reach and drop next to doorstep. Among women it was preferred due to privacy and security while among men it was the time saving factor.

INSIGHTS 1. Commuters in certain areas in Mumbai are waiting endlessly for an auto rickshaw. Average time for waiting recorded is 25 mins in Goregaon area. 2. Commuters are unaware of vacancy of a rickshaw till it approaches closely, so in low light conditions every auto seems vacant. 3. Passengers are unaware of auto stands causing them to stand at main road corners.


Frequency of auto transport:

Reasons for preferring an auto:



6% 11%



Loyalty towards Auto Stand:


5% 46% 31%


Everyday Twice a week Once in 2 weeks Once in a month


Always Sometimes Rarely

Privacy Security Economical Time-saving Easily available

Inferences: Passengers prefer doing a train and autorickshaw combination in mumbai to save time. Hence mostly the auto used daily by office-goers. The awareness of auto stand locations is poor as auto’s are usually stopped in the middle of road’s decreasing traffic speed. Mostly people crowd around bus stands and railway stations to avail an auto. Yet 46% of the survey public claim to catch auto from stands. Problems associated with an autorickshaw ranged from bumpy rides, intolerable noise from surounding, corruption in meter readings and fare amounts, inaccessibility of tariff card rates to excessive waitng for a vehicle ‘willing’ to go to the stated destination. Another problem was attitude of the autorickshaw drivers and the constant hunt for coins and change at the end of the journey.

INSIGHTS 4. The credibility of meter rates are questionable. 5. Deciphering auto fares is a task as it varies over months. 6. The road traffic flow in Mumbai makes auto drivers as well as paasengers irritated and bored. Attitude of drivers lack decency. 7. The reach of auto’s have been poorly utilised in terms of advertising space and passenger pick up’s.


Auto sharing with a stranger:

You prefer:

Is theIndian auto attractive?


47% 53%

Yes No

40% 55%


Alone auto ride Shared auto ride

Yes No

Inferences: Also the unruly demand for half-return fares at night and special rates for taking auto’s from areas like Thane, and Mulund to Goregaon is ever present. The Indian public is still uncomfortable with the concept of sharing an auto with strangers, especially the women of India. The main reasons for such a thought ranged from security issues to privacy. The men were much open to the concept of auto sharing as to them privacy was never an issue. The factor of saving time and money were of utmost importance to them. There were mixed views regarding the looks of the Indian autorickshaw. While some considered the colours to be iconic and striking, the others considered the design to be monotonous and old.

INSIGHTS 8. There are good opportunities for advertising space in an autorickshaw which are dead spaces at present. 9. Unavailability of a complaint or toll free helpline number regarding queries. 10. No information regarding road digressions or emergency alerts.


Ad space

cannot decipher fare

dust and pollution


Hunt for change

bumpy rides

Better Drivers safer rides

meter check




futuristic look

Monotonous rude drivers

Security air-conditioned

waiting for rickshaws is irritating

Iconic look

the noise gives me headache


bane in monsoons



System Highlights: The AATO System is a new system being proposed for the autorickshaws of Mumbai. Presently it aims to do the following: 1. Saving time for a commuter waiting for an autorickshaw in the suburbs of Mumbai. 2. Better space utilisation in an autorickshaw by accomodating more passengers. 3. Integrate the concept of sharing money, space and time among the citizens of Mumbai. 4. Strengthening the security measures by recording and storing last 7 weeks of passenger travel in an auto. 5. Transform the old monotonous auto meter into a new digital meter with the concept of share fare integrated. 6. Introduce contactless smart cards with RFID technology integration. 7. Allow payment through personalised banking and credit like a electronic wallet. 8. Introduce digital signage on the AATO’s for easy deciphering of vacant auto willing to share the fare from a distance. 9. Introduce informational display signages at AATO stands across Mumbai to indicate the availability of vacant and partially full vehicles. 10. To integrate faster communication of important messages across masses by utilising the auto backspace. 11. Highlight the dead spaces of autorickshaw as a new canvas for advertising for small start-ups to big corporate houses. 12. The system aims to integrate the RTO network as one cohesive unit and can be further expanded to fit into the systems of BEST, NMMT and Taxi services.


NETWORK MODEL Accessible Auto Transport Operations


Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport


Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport


Public Taxi and Cool Cabs


RTO Network Andheri







RTO Network

Accessible Auto Transport Operations


Bank Services

Smart Card

Rs 10


Rs 10 B

Rs 10 C

Revenue generation: Minimum fare of Rs 1O at entry point AD=Total Distance Travelled Assuming that fare of AB = BC =CD = Rs 10 PROFIT OF RICKSHAW DRIVER = 6.66 % SAVINGS OF PASSENGER A = 62.5% SAVINGS OF PASSENGER B = 50% SAVINGS OF PASSENGER C = 33.3 %



Existing System Tariff:

Passenger A (travelling from A to D) : was to pay Rs 40; Passenger B (travelling from B to D) : was to pay Rs 30; Passenger C (travelling from C to D) : was to pay Rs 20

AATO System Tariff:

Passenger B : pays actually Rs 15 as he is sharing with A. He pays Rs 5 to auto driver and Rs. 10 to passenger. Passenger C : pays actually Rs 6.66 as he is sharing with 2 persons. He pays 1.66 to auto driver and Rs 5 to Passenger So, total expenditure of passengers: Passenger A = Rs (40-10-5) = Rs 25 Passenger B = Rs 15 Passenger C = Rs 6.66 Total Income of rickshaw driver: Auto driver gets Rs.40 + Rs 6.66=Rs 46.66



System Specifications:

The AATO System comprises of 4 sub-units: 1. Smart Card 2. Digital Meter 3. Information Signage (on auto) 4. Information Signage (at auto stand)

Smart Card Specifications:

The AATO Smart Card is a contactless card powered by RFID technology. Incase RFID takes time to activate it is also integrated with an ICC chip (Integrated Circuit Chip) which can process data, i.e it can receive input which is processed — by way of the ICC applications — and deliver as an output.


The card is made of plastic, generally PVC, but sometimes ABS or polycarbonate.


Dimensions are normally credit card size. The ID-1 of ISO/IEC 7810 standard defines them as 85.60 × 53.98 mm. Another popular size is ID-000 which is 25 × 15 mm (commonly used in SIM cards). Both are 0.76 mm thick.


Contains a security system with tamper-resistant properties (e.g. a secure cryptoprocessor, secure file system, humanreadable features) and is capable of providing security services (e.g. confidentiality of information in the memory). Highest level of security with a 16 digit secure crytographic code to ensure safety at all network levels.


Asset managed by way of a central administration system (AATO) which interchanges information and configuration settings with the card through the security system. The latter includes card hotlisting, updates for application data. Card data is transferred to the central administration system through card reading devices, such as AATO Meter.

Major Functions:

AATO smart cards can be used authentication, and data storage.




AATO Smart Card: CLASSIC Front Side Size: 8.6 cm x 5.4 cm

AATO Smart Card: CLASSIC Back Side Size: 8.6 cm x 5.4 cm


AATO Smart Card: STUDENT Front Side Size: 8.6 cm x 5.4 cm

AATO Smart Card: ELDERLY Front Side Size: 8.6 cm x 5.4 cm

AATO Smart Card: VISITOR Front Side Size: 8.6 cm x 5.4 cm AATO

verification RFID ICC Silicon Chip

Green Signal Meter activates


Smart Card-The Design:

The design of the AATO smart card proposes 4 categories targeting the various age groups: 1. CLASSIC CARD: yellow 2. STUDENT CARD: green 3. ELDERLY CARD: olive green 4. VISITOR CARD: vibrant orange


The front of each card is integrated with an RFID chip for recognition and sync with the AATO digi meters present in all AATO’s. The 16 digit cryptoraphic code adds to extra security measures. To increase the attention to the rich visual culture of the streets, thin black ink illustartions have been off-sett or raise-printed on the cards.

Long-Term Cards:

The CLASSIC, STUDENT and ELDERLY cards are long term cards and store identity information of the individuals beholding it. This requires pre-activation through online internet registration or mobile phone services. Also people can register for such cards by filling up manual forms and showing an id proof at any local shops storing such cards. Manual Registrations take time and the card is delivered within 5 working days to the user. These cards can be used dually as driving licenses as it stores information on identity. The cards are valid for 3 years from the date of issue.

Short-Term Cards:

The VISITOR card is a use and throw card available at local shops and rickshaw stands. Registration is through phone services with the validification of the 16 digit temporary cryptographic code.

Major Benefits:

The smart cards are in sync with the personal banking services of the user. The fare amount can be entirely paid through the card or in amalgamation with cash. The scouting for small change gives way to digital deduction of the small amounts of change.


Advanced AATO Meter Circular indicators indicating per unit of consumption Glow in the dark neon ring which indicates waiting status

Unit consumption in kms Fare amount in Rs

Advertising and Important message space

Space for flashing card

Destination and vacancy indicator Day/Night Indicator Kms left to destination


Time (mins) left to reach CARD IDENTIFICATION UNIT

stores energy during day

SOLAR INCEPTORS (back of fare unit) saves battery life at night


AATO Meter Specifications:

Basic AATO Meter

Material: Dimensions:

It acts as the GPS Receiver unit to intercept signal from the associated satellites on the AATO network and hence calculates the distances based on accurately measured distances upto 2 feet instead being connected to the dynamo of the auto which gives faulty figures. It promotes the concept of sharing autorickshaw rides by displaying individual fares and units consumed. It also displays the final destination and the vacancy remaining in the auto rickshaw. The green, orange and red indicators switch fare calculations while the auto is in movement or waiting. Also additional solar receptors absorb sun energy during day to store energy for the night. thus saving battery life of auto’s. The body is made of ABS plastic or polycarbonate with a high quality LCD display panel. The rectangular version (Basic): 12” x 8” approx. The circular version (Advanced): approx. 8” diameter


The AATO meter works only after activation by the smart card of autorickshaw driver. It connects to the AATO Network to verify the vehicle license id and the meter is open for the day. Afterwhich the flashing of smart card on the meter by first passenger starts calculating the units consumed in the first part of the fare. The meter goes into waiting (orange indicator) when the auto has its engine on but does not move for more than 30 seconds.

Major Benefits:

It eliminates faulty meter readings. By displaying destination and vacancy it promotes sharing the auto fare smartly. It stores solar power to utilize at night and automatically adjusts fare according to day and night status. It indicates every second of unit consumption to avoid deceptive readings by its circular marquee. The solar receptors at the back of unit saves energy. The circular rings are instant indicators for the commuters as well as rickshaw drivers at status of hiring.



Option 1: Indicates destination and vacancy Size: 46” x 7” Mounting 2” from hood base with 0.5” M.S. Pipe painted K: 75%

Dotted Pictogram Study Option 2: Indicates gender, time, destination and vacancy Size: 38” x 12” Mounting 2” from hood base with 0.5” M.S. Pipe painted K: 75%

Initial rough sketches


Signage Specifications:

It acts as the GPS Receiver unit to intercept signal from the associated satellites on the AATO network and displays the destination it is going to. It also displays the vacancy of the Auto so that commuters can easily observe this sign.


The body is made of ABS plastic or polycarbonate with a high quality LCD display panel which is shockproof, weather proof and tamper proof. The signage is mounted on the auto front with a 0.3� mild steel pipe.

Dimensions: Viewing distance:

Size Option 1: 46 inches x 7 inches Size Option 2: 38 inches x 12 inches 10m - 75m


The digital signage is partly supplied by the auto battery and majorly by solar energy as it stores power during the day and utilizes at night. After the meter is activated and the destination and vacancy is registered on the meter the external signage displays this information for the ease of commuters on the road.

Major Benefits:

The bright LCD display with pixel font provides clear display of destination name and vacancy so that commuters can easily understand the availability of the approached auto for sharing or not. It removes the problem of stopping every auto on its way irrespective of its vacancy or not. Thus it saves time and petrol consumption of the autorickshaws.


AATO INFORMATION SIGNAGE (at specific stands)


Signage Specifications:

The signage at specific AATO stands indicates the presence of autorickshaws waiting for passengers looking to share an auto. It is designed to indicate the least vacant auto first (+1 indicating room for only one more passenger) and the absolutely vacant at end. It has capacity to indicate 4 information units with the license number plates of auto’s.


Signage frame made of mild steel which is P.U. coated K:75%. The LCD display works on a 16 dot/module scheme with the colours RGB capable of displaying high luminance and 16777216 kinds of colors.


54 inches x 25 inches, Mounted on 0.3� thick mild steel pipe painted K:75% at a height of 5.75 feet from ground level.


It works in sync with the AATO meter and network. The moment the rickshaw driver flashes his smart card cum licnese and declares the auto open for entry to chosen destination, the signage at the stand flashes the information with the license number. Sometimes the first user reserves an auto and is waiting for 2 more people to share so the standing signage displays +2.

Major Benefits:

It rapidly indicates the vacancy of auto’s available for sharing at a particular location helping passengers to save money and time.



The signage options proposed are categorised into mobile signage (that moves with the auto rickshaw) and destination signage (that remains fixed at the proposed AATO stands). Interconnected through the GPS system it proposes to use Aztec code for coding the various signages.


Typography for Digital Signage OPTIONS TRIED Astronaut font

Ozone font uses 6 x 8 matrix


ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789 Gas font


ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789 Display Dots

The binary matrix


ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz



12 point

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789 20 point

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789


OZONE FONT: Character Map


The main display font for the signage used is Ozone which uses a dot structure of 6 x 8 matrix. The colour used for the signage is fluoroscent green with the following values: RGB: #BFD73B R: 191 G: 215 B: 59 C: 30 M:0 Y:95 K:0 The green chosen is at a brightness rate of 60% than the normal red of 100% saturation used in most signage productions.


Logo Sketches for AATO

Initial name generation

Logo development from the word CHAOS


Digital Refiinement






Initial forms


Colour addition | Making ‘AA’ form prominent | Readability and Legibility issue of ‘TO’

A Separating the form of ‘T’ to make ‘AATO’ cohesively readable

Final iterations


Brainstorming on AATO


Logo Grid

The AATO logo amalgamates the forms of the auto and the street lamp. Street lamps are an integral part of uniting streets transcending physical boundaries of states while the auto form is the key element to the development of the system.





The ‘Streets Speak’ logo is hand sketched integrating the electric poles and the curves of the meandering streets. The word ‘STREET’ is given a condensed font treatment with elongated ascenders for the ‘t’. The ‘S’ is made slightly bolder to integrate the curves of streets yet maintaining the legibility and readability of letter ‘S’. The word ‘SPEAK’ is written in a flowy cursive format and spaced out with increased kerning to balance with the word ‘street’.


Brainstorming on Streets Speak logo

Streets Speak logo - Digitzed


Logo Grid

The ‘Streets Speak’ logo option 2 integrates an essential element of the streets that is the presence of crows sitting on hanging wires . The crows are in conversation about the changing atmosphere of streets and is a metaphor to the lack of time for interactions and conversations among people due to the busy mechanical work schedule of the present times.


Crows in conversation are a metaphor to the people on streets who are stuck in scheduled time frames and lack chances for interactions or conversations.

Conclusion The exploration of the streets and culture of Mumbai opened avenues of thought and design opportunities for the city. It paved areas of thought where the welfare of the public finds focus through alleviation of frustration while waiting for autorickshaws in the suburbs of the city. While studying the streets, though the visual culture heightened the senses, what lacked was the sensitivity towards its observation. The streets are visually rich but people have no time for observing them as they are busy waiting for a public transport. The problem lied not in communication strategies but the core system of RTO Mumbai. Hence, the choice of developing a system for the welfare of street culture promotion was taken forward. The main aim of the system was to save time, money and space through sharing of auto rickshaws on the streets of Mumbai. The poem that follows summarizes the feelings this project generated in me. It gave me immense potential to experiment with photography, copy-writing and illustrations.


Have you ever wondered why? Streets are always filled with life. Across cities, pavements and lanes Vendors sit to sell and gain. Every street has something to say, But do we have the time to spare? Camouflaged behind the gravel and rocks, Lies one-legged chotu’s carpet shop. Or in the narrow alleys of Chor Bazaar Educated thieves sell porcelain cups. On a sweltering hot day, Through meandering lanes, Red juicy watermelons, Grab our attention. Outside the stations of Dadar West, Flowers are sold at whole-sale rates, Quintals of flowers and petals galore, Are stored in baskets and poured to show. Tall buildings and a busy landscape Makes Mumbai The city of dreams and stakes. In every twist and turn of the city roads A concrete jungle is paving hope. The blue tarpaulin shacks Stare from below At their tall children Who are destroying them slow. Cars honk, traffic waits, Meters change with rapid pace. At peak hours on congested roads, People eagerly wait for a public transport. Lets stop for a while and look around, And observe better the sights and sounds. Listening to streets speaking once in a while, Can help solve problems, Which are camouflaged by malice and vice.



References Books: 1. The Art of Looking Sideways by: Alan Fletcher Phaidon Publishers 2. Mumbai Now | Bombay Then by: Chirodeep Chaudhuri 3. India’s Popular Culture by: Marg Publications 4. Graphicswallah by: Peter Anderson 5. The Indian Design Edge by: Amitabh Kant Darlie Koshy 6. The Design of Change by: Bruce Mau 7. Maximum City by: Suketu Mehta The Web Links: 1. Smart_card 2. Oyster_card 3. http://www.averoptoelectronics. com/single.html 4. mumbailocal/ 5. category/led 6. sagar-gubbi/archive/2008/06/12/ mumbai2019s-street-vendors


References The Web Links: 7. Public_transport_in_Mumbai 8. Radio-frequency_identification 9. Brihanmumbai_Electric_Supply_ and_Transport 10. Fontspace LED Fonts http:// 11. LED Signage Production http:// html?qtype=contact 12. http://www.averoptoelectronics. com/single.html 13. auto 3D Modelling http:// 14. Mumbai Local train time table: mumbailocal/ 15. Web Survey http://www. 16. India’s soft power: http://www.

Copyright: 1. Graphics Beyond Logo 2. Vikramjit Sardar 3. Kala Ghoda Arts Festival Logo 4. Chirodeep Chaudhuri 5. Sameer Biswas 6. Roli Books

This book celebrates the colourful and uniquely creative visual culture of the Indian Streets. Aimed to increase the sensitivity of the public, the book focuses to create a system for easy interaction between humans and the autorickshaw in the coming future.

Mrinalini Sardar

Š All rights reserved

Accessible Auto Transport Operations  

System Design Project to organize and promote a system of sharing auto-rickshaws in the busy city of Mumbai

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