Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

New ESRC research project: urban transportation improvements in India

Dr Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance at the Institute for Transport Studies, and Dr Louise Reardon, Institute of Local Government Studies Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, are leading a new two-year research project on accelerating urban transportation improvements in India.

The research project ‘UNDERstanding Indian Urban Governance REFORM’ is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Dr Marsden, Dr Reardon and Sanjay Gupta (SPA, Delhi), Ashish Verma (IISc, Bangalore) and the World Resources Institute and will examine the urban mobility implications of India’s on-going Smart Cities Mission.

This is one of five projects, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). This programme of research will measure issues that are predicted to arise in developing areas, including; urban planning, governance and management; population types; and small town challenges such as the dynamics of change and migration.

Dr Marsden and Dr Reardon’s research has identified redesigning urban governance, including transport governance, as a critical element of progress in delivering more inclusive and sustainable cities in India.

The World Health Organisation has identified India as home to 10 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, while also experiencing 150,000 road traffic deaths per year (six times higher per head of population than the UK). There is also an issue of uneven allocation of transport resources in India’s urban areas. 

To date, the emphasis in Indian cities has been on expanding mobility through new, large transport infrastructure projects. These projects benefit high income people most but do little to address the existing inequities in the delivery of transport services where there has been a decline in the overall coverage of public transport and a rise in private motorised transport.

To investigate these issues, the project will undertake a comparative analysis of four case study sites: Bangalore, Jaipur, Ranchi and Bhubaneshwar. It will trace the impacts of transport governance reforms through to the impacts on the economic prosperity and quality of life of citizens both through changing processes and outcomes.

Further information

There is a two-year post doctoral position available based at the University of Leeds to conduct the primary research (see our current vacancies site for details). There will also be shorter posts available in Delhi and Bangalore.

Read more about this programme on Dr Marsden and Dr Reardon’s blog.

For more information on the ESRC-ICSSR projects visit the ESRC website.