Around the world in 80 buses
Written by Brian Short
They rode buses in Beijing and Detroit. They sat in traffic in Manila. They borrowed bikes in India and rented cars in Cape Town. They used every form of public transportation that they could, and they did it across five countries and three continents, searching for a better way to get people from this spot over here to that spot over there.
But their trip started in Ann Arbor. Rebecca Guerriero and Logan Chadde pooled support from U-M’s Graham Sustainability Scholars Program, Barger Leadership Institute and SMART at the University of Michigan, which promotes sustainable transportation systems all over the world. Guerriero and Chadde traveled to the Philippines, China, Brazil, South Africa, and India to find out what people were doing to reinvent public transportation.
In many places, the solutions were similar. Hitch-a-ride mobile phone applications and bike-sharing projects were popular. But the problems that entrepreneurs faced were often locally determined. In Cape Town, for example, funding for starting new businesses was scarce. In China, burdensome government regulations kept new companies from entering the market.
For five busy months, the pair worked: Guerriero conducted interviews and Chadde recorded video. Throughout their grueling, whirlwind world tour, they also helped keep each other sane.
“Sometimes, you just get tired,” Guerriero says. “I’d be doing an interview and I’d blank on a question and Logan would jump in. Just having somebody there who can say it’s all right when you’re ready to give up and go home is really nice.”
Now, the pair is working with SMART to sift through their material, pulling out common themes and challenges across the world. They have a photo travel blog — movingminds.in — and they are also working to produce a short documentary for SMART, which they hope to complete this spring and will speak to the greater mission of public transportation around the world.
This story was first published in the Spring 2014 edition of LSA Magazine.