2021-2022 Finalist

Zu Peshawar

"Unlocking life-changing opportunities"




Other Contributors

Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Asian Development Bank , Agence Française de Développement


Peshawar, Pakistan


Residents in rapidly urbanizing cities across the world struggle with high travel burdens and exclusion from opportunities due to polluting and unregulated mobility systems. In Peshawar, women, children, the elderly, disabled and transgender people in particular faced safety and harassment issues using the city’s existing transport options.

The Big Idea

Restructure the local bus industry to build a state-of-the-art rapid transit bus system that is safe, inclusive and revolutionizes connectivity across the city.

Life Changing Impact

Provides a safe mobility solution for vulnerable groups, while almost halving passenger travel times to education, jobs and care facilities for all residents.

Ripple Effect

Initiated major institutional reforms in Peshawar and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while sparking citywide expansion plans and inspiring similar systems in other cities in Pakistan.

Peshawar, a rapidly growing city in northwest Pakistan struggling with an inadequate transport system, adapted international practices to deliver a world-class mobility solution through restructuring the local bus industry, scrapping old vehicles and building a state-of-the-art bus rapid transit system. Implemented by TransPeshawar, the city’s transit company, Zu Peshawar has helped unlocked life-changing opportunities for previously marginalized groups, particularly women, children and transgender people.

In a city of 2 million people that has faced violent terrorist attacks, Peshawar’s aging transport infrastructure and unregulated vehicles were creating congestion and pollution and not providing reliable, safe and affordable access to jobs, education, care for residents.

In 2013, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa initiated a pre-feasibility study to improve Peshawar’s urban transport system. Several options were considered, with a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) model emerging as the most feasible option.

Designed with international best practices in mind, a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Zu Peshawar, was launched in August 2020 on an accelerated timeline. It transported over 50 million passengers in its first year of operation.

In February 2022, the BRT system won an Honorable Mention Award in ITDP’s Sustainable Transport Award and was awarded the BRT Gold Standard ranking by the Technical Committee of the BRT Standard.

The implementation of the system has significantly increased female ridership on public transport, opening up new education and professional opportunities for women through access to safe, quality mobility.

Peshawar’s experience shows that international practices can be successfully localized to deliver a world-class mobility solution and that unlocking opportunities for previously marginalized groups creates a city that is safer and healthier for everyone.

There is no prior existing relationship between the project and WRI. For full disclosure, please visit here.

By The Numbers

70% of the city area covered

10x increase in female ridership

1,330,000 benefited from direct access to public transport

265,000 daily peak passengers, 80-95% user satisfaction

27km bus corridors, 30 stations, 59km of connecting routes, 220 diesel-electric buses, 360 bikeshare bicycles, 120km of footpaths, ITDP Gold Standard

81% of city educational institutes now accessible by public transport, 80% of hospitals beds, 75% of commercial hubs, 75% of industrial areas