Abhijit is the founder of ‘The Urban Lab’, where he mentors and leads teams to provide practical solutions for creating liveable cities. With an experience of over twenty years, his work spans a variety of areas including urban and transport planning, urban design, and urban management integrating services like consultancy, research, training, advocacy, and capacity building. His key interest areas in the field of urban transport and urban planning are land use and transport, street design, transit-oriented development, and transport policies. He has a PhD in planning from CEPT University, Ahmedabad and Master of Planning from SPA, Delhi.
Abhijit is a visiting faculty at CEPT University, Ahmedabad. Prior to founding The Urban Lab, he worked with CEPT University as an Associate Professor at the Centre of Excellence in Urban Transport. Abhijit led the design team for Bus Rapid Transit projects in Ahmedabad, Surat, Indore, and Hubli Dharwad. The scope of work included preparing detailed project reports and detailed design for the BRTS, quality control for site work, coordinating with local authorities for preparing the institutional structure, business plan, and transit policies.
Abhijit is trained by Sustainable Urban Transport Program (SUTP) and GIZ as a trainer in urban transport and suitable mass transit options. He conducts training programs for urban transport professionals across South East Asia. He has also successfully completed a trainer program in ‘Case Teaching’ by The World Bank. Abhijit is an avid reader, traveler, and a photographer.
Geetam Tiwari is MoUD Chair Professor for Transport Planning at the Department of Civil Engineering, and transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program, IIT Delhi. She obtained Master of Urban Planning and Policy, and Ph.D. in Transport Planning and Policy, from the University of Illinois, Chicago. She has received the degree of Doctor of Technology honoris causa from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden in 2012. She has been Adlerbretska Guest Professor for sustainable urban transport at the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden 2007-2010. She has been working in the area of traffic and transport planning and traffic safety focusing on pedestrians, bicycles and bus systems. She has worked with city, state and national government in India on public transport and road safety projects. She has over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals, has co-edited four books on transport planning and safety. She is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion since 2009. She continues to be on the Board of IATSS(International Association for Traffic Safety Science) forum and LEAD India, independent director on the board of Urban Mass Transit Company.
Madhav spearheads a large urbanization policy research and prototyping support program that informs key areas of India’s urban growth story. He joined WRI India in 2008 and has pioneered several new, and innovative methods to overcome barriers to implementation of environmentally and financially sustainable infrastructure. He has led several projects around emerging urbanism ideas such as the use of tactical urbanism and public campaigns around pedestrian/social infrastructure, geospatial and other big data analytics to create data driven conversations and innovation challenges/competitions to address service delivery challenges. Notable successes include project design and implementation of Indore BRT, Mumbai Street Lab, the Raahgiri campaign for democratizing public streets, and solution design for last-mile connectivity, clean tech, etc. Madhav is a published author and has written several research papers for renowned journals, articles, and books on urban transport, urban planning, resilience, and clean air. He is a civil engineer from Mumbai and holds a master’s in Transport Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mr. Zimmerman has more than 50 years of experience as an urban transport planner in developed and developing cities. He spent 28 years of that at the US Department of Transport, including a nine-year tenure as Director of the Office of Planning for the Federal Transit Administration, FTA. During his eight years at consulting firm AECOM, he managed major projects including planning the award-winning rapid transit (BRT) system in York Region Ontario.
He has worked at the World Bank in various capacities since 2005 , first as Senior Urban Transport Specialist/urban transport advisor and after mandatory retirement, as a consultant. At the Bank, he has provided capacity building, policy support and technical assistance throughout the developing world.
He has written or co-authored numerous juried publications, including the book Emerging Paradigms in Urban Mobility, co-authored by World Bank retirees Dr.’s O.P. Agarwal and Ajay Kumar and published in September 2018
He was been an adjunct professor/lecturer at three Washington–area universities over a formal teaching career spanning 19 years and a guest lecturer at universities all over the World. Since 2018, he has chaired the U.S. Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Transportation in Developing Countries
Shivanand is an economist and urban and regional planner with deep experience in transport systems, integrated landuse-transport planning and development management. He has been teaching at CEPT University since 1986 and has served as a policy and systems advisor to National, State and Local Governments on public transport and planning initiatives across the country. He has been instrumental in spearheading the planning and operationalization of Janmarg, Ahmedabad, the first dedicated Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) in India. He has also supported the planning and development of BRT systems in Surat, Bhubaneswar, Hubbali–Dharwad and Vadodara. Shivanand is an advisor to the MoUD, Government of India on evolving planning and design guidelines for BRTS and scaling up of bus-based services in Indian cities. He is currently involved in facilitating technology adoption, operations, financing and capacity building for transitioning to electric public mobility in India.
Shivanand is an active member of the Developing Countries Committee of the Transport Research Board and an Advisor to Land Transport Academy, Singapore.
Sujit Patwardhan is a Graphic Designer and Printer by profession and a founder member and Trustee of Parisar since its inception in 1982. He has driven Parisar’s efforts to bring issues of environment centre-stage -through citizens’ campaigns, collaborative activism with other like minded organizations and advocacy efforts to highlight the need to ensure industrial and urban development does not lead to damage and destruction of the environment.
He has served on several important committees such as – Maharashtra State Environment Protection Committee, High Court Committee for overseeing building permissions granted in Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Regional Planning Board, Urban Heritage Committee of PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation), Development Plan Steering Committee for PMC etc.
Since the mid-1990s he has concentrated on advocacy for Sustainable Urban Transport Policy.
Manjula Vinjamuri is a post-graduate in Organic Chemistry from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. She was selected for the Indian Administrative Service in 1987. She worked in diverse sectors like Rural and Urban development, Power, Information Technology and Biotechnology, Urban Transport, Education including Medical Education and Administrative reforms & training department of the Government of Karnataka. Currently, she is working in the Directorate of Urban Land Transport in Karnataka as Commissioner & E/o Additional Chief Secretary to Government.
During her tenure in various posts, she played a significant role in formulating policies like State startup policy, Animation and Visual graphics policy; implementing public awareness campaigns like total literacy campaign, “Cycle day” to popularise cycling as a preferred mode for short urban commutes; implementing Information technology based initiatives like online Birth and death registration in rural areas, hospital information systems in medical colleges; e-office in the Karnataka secretariat and subordinate offices; introducing consent awards for acquisition of land in rural and urban areas; preparation of district level human development reports etc.
Sustainable Mobility Fortnight- BRTS: The unfinished Agenda
The webinar will be focused on the learnings from the BRT systems in Indian cities, current status and the future of the BRTS in India.
Fifteen years ago, with the JnNURM and NUTP, many cities looked at BRTS as a viable option for a mass and rapid transit system. The period from 2005 to 2010 saw many cities get funding through JnNURM. Pune, Delhi and Ahmedabad opened their systems to mixed reviews. There was great interest in how the BRTS would fare in Indian cities. Central, state and local governments along with consultants, bus companies, academia and NGOs participated in multiple workshops, training and capacity building programs, and visits outside India to assess best practices.
Post 2011, the initial enthusiasm began to wane. The first lot of BRTS cities had initial hiccups in the form of a hostile media, non convergence between stakeholders and a general atmosphere of skepticism. Out of the 12 operational BRTS cities in India, only Ahmedabad and Surat expanded their network. Delhi dismantled its lone corridor. Indore’s BRTS got stuck in legal issues with a PIL filed against it. Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad did expand – but never got to a situation where they could claim complete implementation. Amritsar, with its partly elevated BRTS and Hubbali Dharwad, with its overtaking lanes and modern depots and terminals were the only two new systems in the post 2011 world.
The issues included a lack of complete network, blowback from private vehicles who saw their space being given to buses and lack of political will. Many large and small cities began to look at metros as a better alternative. Post 2014, more than 20 cities implemented or planned to implement metro systems. These included cities that had BRTS. In 2020, Delhi announced a plan to build a ‘metrolite’ system, which is an at grade rail system similar to trams and LRT.