Indian traffic jam: Problems or Opportunities

I recently read this blog post by Olacabs which got me thinking about how to turn traffic in India, into an opportunity.

Pixabay - Traffic.jpgTraffic is rising and will continue to rise. Pollution follows the same route. Blah blah blah, let’s get down to the business opportunities that I see happening.

Food/Groceries Deliveryfragile-sign

Delivering breakfast or dinner to commuters who are stuck in traffic jams seems like a fairly un-explored opportunity in India. There are individuals who use the same path at usually the same time and spend their time stuck in the same traffic jam, every working day. These are potential customers for the modern professional with no time to have breakfast at home. Also, this would be a boon for individuals who do not have the time to or know how to cook.

Healthy options will get even more attention from commuters due the rising health consciousness among professionals and businessmen. This will require some design modifications so the customer can enjoy the food while driving. Easy to eat and non-messy food will be a perfect pick-me-up at traffic spots.

Relief Drivers

Pixabay - Sleeping in carAnother interesting development is the user can work and take rest while temporary hiring a relief driver. With the traffic situation worsening day by day in all major India cities, this could be an interesting opportunity. Cab drivers need cabs and this is a big investment. All this needs are experienced drivers with relevant licenses and you can move to the back seat. Focus on what matters and get some work done.


For the radio addicts, this would be perfect since commuters who spend hours on the road, everyday will need entertainment. For the naysayers in the industry who say, radio is dying have yet again been proved wrong.

Targeted content is another platform which has not been explored in radio. Radio needs to expand to the digital domain. They have the talent, they have the content, all they need is a digital outlet for the same. And we can be sure to the return of the podcasts. Targeted content for niche markets will definitely appreciated by listeners and advertisers alike.

Conversation has already started on this with an analysis of success of podcasts and major investments made by public radio stations into podcasts,  NPR being a prime example

Alternative Transportation

During the massive 100km long traffic jam in Beijing in 201Wikipedia - Pillion rider on bike.jpg0, there was this very queer development. There were some enterprising souls out their, who offered to whisk car drivers away on their bikes

This was specifically useful for those in a hurry such as exams, critical meetings, job interviews etc.

This definitely helped some bike owners to make some quick bucks. Also since the traffic jam lasted for a few months, it turned into a pleasantly surprising source of revenue for most bike owners in Beijing.

Traffic Announcements

Services which make the user aware of the high and low traffic routes from Point A to Point B is another opportunity for users. A common business model could be charging a fixed subscription rate. However we can imagine various innovations in this regard.Google Maps - Traffic

Local business owners who have the capability or the manpower to deploy sellers within a 100m length of the road can benefit from this. They can be selling anything from food, books, pollution masks, smartphones to even new cars. But these need to be quick and the transaction needs to be finished within a minute or as long as a stop sign lasts.

Work from Home solutions

Work from home solutions can be an alternative which many business have already employed. Creating shared work spaces in the middle of residential areas can prove to be a boon for many. It promotes collaboration, saving time and even helps incubate the local start-up scene.

Morgue File - Inside of carCar Accessories

This is a very obvious opportunity for most car dealers. Since the individual spends more time in the car than expected, there are certain things that have turned into necessities.

You have car refrigerators, bluetooth set-ups along with tv screens and many others. If you spend more than 3 hours on the road, that is a lot of time. Your car turns into your second home. To make sure that it does feel like it, there will be a demand for additional technology and gadgets.

Healthy Habits

Here is a point where public and private sector can join hands and reduce pressure on the existing infrastructure. A narrower lane, promote cycling and jogging and see a gradual decrease in cars on the road.Morgue File - Cycling.JPG

This also increases sales of bicycles, tech wearables for the health conscious techies and pollution masks. Pollution masks sales have picked up but still most individuals have chosen to ignore this product for reasons beyond most of us.

Car Pooling Apps

Another idea suggested by the Government of Delhi. This industry is heating up with multiple players already in the markets. There is CarEgiri which has 2500 hundred users, sRide with 5000 members and the french entry in India called. BlaBlaCar, there are plenty of options. This particular industry however faces a unique set of challenges, especially in the Indian context. The lack of trust, safety issues and loosing independence which is the very reason for buying a car are only a few of these problems. Shrinath V has explained it very well, here.

Traffic Jams have been around for a long time. Especially in developing countries with massive populations and immense pressure on existing infrastructure. But due to massive changes in the environment, namely smartphone adoption, cheap data plans and more or less network strength which is decent to semi-decent. And most importantly, this gives the entrepreneur in us to turn this problem into an opportunity.

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