Bhargav Adhvaryu

Professor of Urban Analytics, Sustainability, & Policy
PhD (Cambridge University)
Areas of interest
Sustainable cities and transport
Public transport accessibility
Modelling cities
Urban transport infrastructure

Professor Adhvaryu is an urban and transport planner & modeller, with over 22 years of experience spanning teaching, research, and consulting. Professor Adhvaryu completed his PhD from University of Cambridge and Churchill College, United Kingdom in 2009 and has received several laurels. Most noteworthy are three gold medals at Bachelor of Engineering in Civil in 1993, being a British Chevening Scholar at Imperial College London and University College London in 2003, and a Fulbright Nehru Visiting Professor at the University of California, LA (UCLA) in 2012.

Being an urbanist researcher, his domains are sustainable cities and transport. His research, which entails building mathematical models of land use and transport interaction and tools for public transport accessibility measurement and mapping, is focused on enhancing the plan-making process and public policy. His research has been widely published in several international, peer-reviewed publications (more details at www.bhargavadhvaryu.net) and is a frequent reviewer for several international journals and book publishers. Over the years, he has taught topics related to urban and transport planning, urban transport infrastructure design, and research methods to UG, PG, and PhD students. He has guided several UG and PG dissertations and successfully guide two PhD students and one is near completion.

His past full-time jobs have been a Lecturer, Regional Engineering College (REC), Surat (now SVNIT); Lecturer, Sarvajanik College of Engineering and Technology, Surat in the year 1997 Reader, Adani Institute of Infrastructure Management, Ahmedabad in 2010; Research Associate, Cambridge University in 2004; and Project Manager, Environmental Planning Collaborative in 1997, Ahmedabad, a not-for-profit urban planning and development management consulting firm, wherein he was project manager for Sabarmati (Ahmedabad) and Musi (Hyderabad) riverfront projects, development plans for various cities, and several road design projects. In his previous job, he was Professor, CEPT University since 2011, where he taught at the Faculty of Technology and Faculty of Planning course related to urban planning, urban transport infrastructure design, and research methods. In addition, he has been Head, MTech. Infrastructure Engineering Management program; Chair, Progress Review Committee for Old Doctoral Program; Head, Doctoral Program, and Head, Academic Staff Office.

Honours and awards

  • Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Lecturer Fellowship at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2012 

  • Cambridge Commonwealth & Hinduja Cambridge Trusts scholarship, 2007−08

  • Duckworth Scholarship, Churchill College, Cambridge, 2007−08

  • Kettle’s Yard Travel Fund, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, 2006, 2007, 2008

  • British Chevening Scholar, Imperial College London & UCL, UK, 2002−03

  • Sir Ratan Tata Trust travel grant for higher studies abroad, 2002

  • Partial tuition fee waiver for MSc Transport, Imperial College, 2002

  • USAID fellowship for attending a one-week course in Indonesia, 2000

  • Gold medal nomination for Best PG Dissertation at all-India level, 1995

  • Gold medal in Town Planning and Housing, BE Civil, 1993

  • Gold medal in Civil Engineering Project, BE Civil, 1993

  • Gold medal in Environmental Engineering, BE Civil, 1993

 

1. Sustainable cities and transport

[a] Modelling cities and sustainability

  • Developing mathematical models of land use and transport interaction (LUTI) (Adhvaryu & Echenique, 2012): Such models can be used to analyse performance of combinations of urban form and transport policies under economic, environmental, and social sustainability criteria. Examples of planning policies are combinations of alternative land use policies (eg, compact, dispersed, edge expansion, new settlements, etc) and alternative transport policies (eg, public transport improvements, highways investment, etc). To assess sustainability of such policies, I have develped a mathematical model called SIMPLAN (Simplfied PLANning) modelling suite (explaine below). Such models have been extensively used all over the world to enhance the urban plan-making process. An application to ahmedabad is shown in Adhvaryu (2010). Incorporating economics into models of cities aspects that strongly explain behaviour makes urban models more representative of the reality (as against the pure planning/engineering tradition of dealing with only physical aspects of cities). I am also interested in commercially developing simplified urban models (like SIMPLAN), for which the potential market could be governments in small towns and cities (both in developed and developing countries), who, to begin with could invest in developing such models with minimal resources.  Later on, if they wish, these could be easily updated as new data become available and easily upgraded if more resources become available, creating a long-term relationship with the clients. 

  • Analysing the evolution of urban spatial structure (Adhvaryu, 2011b): Analysing the spatial strucutre of cities is an important. It gives an indication of the trents the city is growing and proves useful in developing future scenarios for cities (in tems of alternative urban and transport policies).

  • Critcal review of development plans (Adhvaryu, 2011a): A critical review of development plan is a precusor to developign a model for that city. I enables use to examine the approach citically interms of what has worked and what has not. This anaylsis feeds into formulation of a more robust models.

[b] Public transport accessibility measurment & mapping (Shah & Adhvaryu, 2016Adhvaryu et al, 2019)

  • Visualisation of public transport accessibility levels that can be used in various policy decisions such as TOD and land use regulations, parking, affordable housing, and multi-modal integration. 

[c] Investigating the relationship between energy use and urban environment and activity at both urban block and city levels

  • Examples of urban environment and activities are density, built form, travel patterns, and type of land uses.

[d] Urban design aspects of city form and street patterns

  • Investigating how, and if so to what extent, does physical design affect the way we make location and travel choices relating to housing, work, education, shopping, recreation, etc. 

2. Urban transport infrastructure - planning and design 

[a] Exploring alternative designs of road sections for a variety of urban uses

  • Eg, residential, commercial, and mixed uses; accommodating transport infrastructure like bus-priority and busways, design of pedestrian-friendly and accessible streets, and accommodating non-transport uses such as hawking and vending; parking management

[b] Exploring feasibility of bus-priority public transport systems in developing countries

  • My MTech (URP) thesis explored the feasibility of busways in Ahmedabad (1995). In  2019, I co-authored a book chapter on critically analysing the Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transport System that started operations in 2006 (see, Swamy, HMS., Adhvaryu, B., Sinha, S. (2019)).

[c] Planning and design of multi-modal transport hubs (for more see this article on MIEM students' studio work)

[d] Accident analysis (for more see this article)

[e] Design of accessible public transport infrastructure and developing criteria and methodology for evaluating transport infrastructure designs (Adhvaryu, 2006).

  • My MSc Transport dissertation (2003) addressed design of accessible public transport infrastructure.  Brighton Bus Station was used as a case study, with emphasis on bus station design in constricted areas (eg, historic city centres).  My interest here is to take up some unresolved issues for further research.

3. Advocacy for safe traffic

During my tenure at CEPT (2001–04), I founded a voluntary agency called Safe Traffic Advocacy Group (STAG), which was involved in conducting several workshops, seminars, and public presentations for school children on traffic safety.  I believe that traffic situation in our cities could be only improved using a three-pronged approach—the 3Es explained as follows: [1] Engineering: Developing confusion-free physical design of roads and junctions (including signals and signage) and adding new capacity and augmentations (if necessary) [2] Education: Developing awareness and sensitivity towards other road users and safe driving habits, and [3] Enforcement: Developing and updating traffic management plans, exercising greater vigilance by traffic police, stricter vehicle licensing, and ensuring road-worthiness of vehicles.

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SIMPLAN

Urban modelling for enhancing master plan making: SIMplified PLANning modelling suite for Ahmedabad

An urban planning policy usually has two key components: the urban form and the transport system.  There can be a variety of theoretical possibilities of these two components and also how they can be combined.  Some typical urban forms and transport policies and their combinations are shown schematically in the figure below.

Policy-makers are usually faced with the decision of what planning policy to pursue in order to achieve the best possible future!  Using models that simulate urban dynamics, it is possible to test and assess alternative planning policies, thereby making the decision process more objective and transparent.  Examples are the full-fledged and complex land use—transport interaction models, which have been successfully applied in many cities of the developed world, demonstrating its effective use in assessing alternative planning and transport policies before finalising their master plan.  However, in the developing world, building such complex models is challenging due to lack of data availability and resource constraints.  Addressing such constraints, a SIMplified PLANning modelling suite called SIMPLAN has been developed for the case study city of Ahmedabad, India.  SIMPLAN is built using available census and some basic employment related sample survey data, and contains four sub-modules for spatial trend analysis, residential location, modal split, and alternative policy assessment framework.  SIMPLAN development is an attempt to build simplified yet robust analytical tools in the context of developing countries.

The four SIMPLAN modules are:

  • Trend Analysis Module (TAM): a set of tools for analysing the evolution of the spatial structure of a city (for more details see Adhvaryu, 2011b)

  • Residential Location Module (RLM): an econometric residential location model that uses average housing rents as part of the generalised cost in a gravity-type allocation function and currently deals with work trips. RLM estimates population distribution, by socioeconomic groups, as a function of employment location and residential floorspace (for more details see Adhvaryu & Echenique, 2012)

  • Modal Split Module (MSM): a multinomial logit model to estimate the proportion of person work trips by different modes generated by the RLM (for more details see Adhvaryu & Echenique, 2012)

  • Assessment Module (ASM):  After calibration, SIMPLAN can be used to assess alternative planning policies for a future/horizon year, with appropriate employment, dwelling floorspace, and transport inputs.  The key assessment criteria in are economic (consumer surplus in housing and transport), environmental (new land required and CO2 emissions), and social (distribution of economic benefits and mix of socioeconomic groups) (for more details see Adhvaryu, 2010). 

The main land use inputs to SIMPLAN are employment and dwelling floorspace by zones and transports inputs are average network distances and speed by mode. For Ahmedabad, three alternative policies for 2021 were tested: trend policy (business as usual), compaction policy and dispersal policy, with appropriate combinations of land use and transport inputs.

The main advantages of using this type of approach are:

  • It allows planners to prepare policy alternatives with drastic variations and test these to see its effects in the future, enabling them to make more informed decisions for before arriving at the ‘most suitable’ policy to be pursued in the development / master plan (popularly known as DP).

  • Outputs from the model are disaggregated by zones and therefore dovetail well with the next spatial level of planning, ie the town planning scheme (TPS).

  • Quite importantly, since the model is spreadsheet based, it is simple to understand and run.  All model runs can be out in-house by city planning officials on their PCs or laptops!  This avoids the ‘black box’ approach usually prevalent in planning projects involving mathematical modelling, wherein specific tasks are outsourced to private consulting firms.

The polices tested for case study city of Ahmedabad for year 2021 include: [1] compact city with high quality public transport [2] dispersed development with significant road capacity enhancement, and [3] trend policy, denoting a business as usual scenario in terms of supply of residential floorspace, development control regulations (DCRs), and public transport development (which acts as a reference policy to compare the policies developed by 'design').  Sensitivity analysis is also done to see the effects of change in distribution of jobs. 

The critical review of the Ahmedabad Development Plan making approach (as in the Ahmedabad Development Plan for 2011) is discussed in Adhvaryu (2011a), establishing a need for model-based plan-making approach.

Key SIMPLAN outputs (for Ahmedabad) indicate that dispersing cities proves to be economically bene?cial to society as a whole, because households would tend to gain from the lower rents further afield.  Compaction policy performs better in terms of environmental aspects such as consumption of new land for development and vehicular emissions, but bearing in mind traffic congestion is currently not modelled, which could potentially reduce this advantage.  With regard to social aspects, it appears that any deviation from the trend creates a lopsided social mix, although compaction policy is a bit better than dispersal.

 As mentioned above, SIMPLAN is developed in a spreadsheet environment, with all key operations controlled by a visual interface using sub-routines written in Visual Basic Application code.  This creates a user-friendly graphical interface that makes the model simple to understand and operate by local planning agencies, and, in addition, provides them with the flexibility of updating the model as and when new data is available or a new round of census is conducted.

India is rapidly urbanising and is at a crucial juncture in its development.  The urbanisation phenomenon has both positive and negative effects.  It could be argued that appropriate urban development policies and planning methodology can use the potential positives to foster better equity of benefits from the booming overall growth.  On the other hand, if India does not capitalise on the potential advantages appropriately, then in the next few decades the negatives of urbanisation could amplify, worsening city living and become a stumbling block in its economic growth story.  It is believed that using a methodological planning framework such as SIMPLAN, cities in the developing world can prepare their own tailor-made policy that best satis?es their objectives, making the planning efforts count for improving the quality of life in cities.

A succinct overview of the SIMPLAN simulation modelling framework is discussed in Adhvaryu (2012).

References

  • Adhvaryu, B. (2012). A simplified model-based approach for land use - transport planning.  Paper accepted for presentation at the Applied Urban Modelling: Assessing Pathways Towards Energy Efficient and Climate-Wise City Regions (AUM2012) conference, 24-26 May 2012, University of Cambridge, UK. click here for a read-only copy

  • Rawal, R., Garg, V., Kumar, S., & Adhvaryu, B. (2020). Evaluation of thermally activated furniture on thermal comfort and energy consumption: an experimental study. Energy and Buildings, In-press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.110154 [Elsevier]
  • Kavta K., & Adhvaryu B. (2020) Walking and Bicycling to School—Understanding the Impact of Socio-economic Factors and Built Environment. In Mathew T., Joshi G., Velaga N., & Arkatkar S. (eds) Transportation Research. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, vol 45. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-32-9042-6_22 [Springer]
  • Bose, T., Adhvaryu, B, & Chakraborti, S. (2019). Airport noise and urban planning: a case study of Ahmedabad, India. Urban India, 38(1), 28–40. [NIUA] (read-only) 
  • Rawal, R., Garg, V., Kumar, S., & Adhvaryu, B. (2019). Impact of thermally activated furniture system on the occupant thermal comfort: A study using thermoregulation model and computational fluid dynamics. Proceedings of the 16th International Building Performance Simulation Association Conference, Rome, 2–4 September 2019. https://doi.org/10.26868/25222708.2019.210907
  • Adhvaryu, B., Chopde, A., & Dashora, L. (2019). Mapping public transport accessibility levels (PTAL) in India and its applications: a case study of Surat. Case Studies on Transport Policy, 7(2), 293–300. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cstp.2019.03.004 [Elsevier] (read-only) 
  • Adhvaryu, B., & Rathod, V. (2019). Estimating housing infill potential: developing a case for floorspace pooling in Ahmedabad, India. Planning Practice and Research, 34(3), 305–317. https://doi.org/10.1080/02697459.2019.1590772 [Routledge, Taylor & Francis] (read-only) 
  • Adhvaryu, B., & Patel, M. (2019, Feb 23). Is public transport in Ahmedabad inclusive? Economic and Political Weekly, 54(8), 17–20. https://www.epw.in/journal/2019/8/commentary/public-transport-ahmedabad-inclusive.html (read-only)
  • Swamy, H. M. S., Adhvaryu, B., & Sinha, S. (2019). Ahmedabad bus rapid transit. In Ferbrache, F. (ed.) Developing Bus Rapid Transit: The Value of BRT in Urban Spaces. Edward Elgar Publishinghttps://doi.org/10.4337/9781788110914.00011 (read-only) 
  • Joshi, B.U., & Adhvaryu, B. (2017). How to make efficient development planning: a critical review of RUDA Development Plan. Trends in Transport Engineering and Applications, 4(1), 11–22. 
  • Joshi, B.U., & Adhvaryu, B. (2016). Understanding land use-transport integration: a literature review on theories and practices in urban-transport Planning. Trends in Transport Engineering and Applications, 3(3): 54–67. 
  • Varghese, V., & Adhvaryu, B. (2016). Measuring overcrowding in Ahmedabad buses: cost and policy implications. Transportation Research Procedia, 17, 145–154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trpro.2016.11.070 [Elsevier] (read-only)
  • Bhatt, U., & Adhvaryu, B. (2016). Land use - transport decisions in the Development Plan: a case study of Vadodara. Paper presented at the "Urban Transport Mobility" Conference, Gandhinagar (organised by the Ministry of Urban Development), 9 Nov 2016.
  • Sonasath, M., & Adhvaryu, B. (2016). Transport affordability for relocated urban poor: case study of Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad. Paper presented at the "Urban Transport Mobility" Conference, Gandhinagar (organised by the Ministry of Urban Development), 9 Nov 2016.
  • Shah, J., & Adhvaryu, B. (2016). Public transport accessibility levels for Ahmedabad, India. Journal of Public Transportation, 19(3),19-35. https://doi.org/10.5038/2375-0901.19.3.2 [University of Southern Florida] (read-only)
  • Sonasath, M., & Adhvaryu, B. (2016). Transport affordability for relocated urban poor: case study of Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad. Paper presented at the "Urban Planning, Governance and Design for Reducing Urban Conflicts and Violence: Critical Learnings and Possibilities" Conference, Centre for Urban Equity (CUE), CEPT University, Ahmedabad, 2-4 March 2016.
  • Munshi, T., Joshi, R., & Adhvaryu, B. (2015). Land use-transport integration for sustainable urbanism (LUTISU): inputs for the development planning process. Technical Report for Shakti Foundation/Climate Works. (read-only)
  • Adhvaryu, B., & Varghese, V. (2014). Overcrowding in Ahmedabad buses: measuring overcrowding, estimating its cost and policy implications.  Paper presented at the Transportation Planning and Implementation Methodologies for Developing Countries (TPMDC) Conference, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Dec 2014.
  • Adhvaryu, B. (2014). 'Get the basics right, then embark on new concepts', interview on Smart Cities in Focus section, Infrastructure Today, 12(1), 44–45. on-line link
  • Shah, N.R., & Adhvaryu, B. (2014). Public transport demand elasticity in Ahmedabad, India. Paper presented at IFSPA 2014 Conference, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, May 2014.
  • Shah, J., & Adhvaryu, B. (2014). Mapping Public Transport Accessibility Levels (PTAL) for Ahmedabad, India. Paper presented at IFSPA 2014 Conference, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, May 2014.
  • Adhvaryu, B. (2012). A simplified model-based approach for land use - transport planning.  Paper accepted for presentation at the Applied Urban Modelling: Assessing Pathways Towards Energy Efficient and Climate-Wise City Regions (AUM2012) conference24-26 May 2012, University of Cambridge, UK. (read-only)
  • Adhvaryu, B., & Echenique, M. (2012). SIMPLAN: a SIMplified PLANning model. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 39(1), 96–119. https://doi.org/10.1068/b36081 [Pion] (read-only)
  • Adhvaryu, B. (2011b). Analysing evolution of urban spatial structure: a case study of Ahmedabad. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 38(5), 850–863. https://doi.org/10.1068/b36088 [Pion] (read-only)
  • Adhvaryu, B. (2011a). The Ahmedabad urban Development Plan-making process: a critical review. Planning Practice and Research, 26(2), 229–250. https://.doi.org/10.1080/02697459.2011.560463  [Routledge, Taylor & Francis] (read-only)
  • Adhvaryu, B. (2010). Enhancing urban planning using simplified models: SIMPLAN for Ahmedabad, India. Progress in Planning, 73(3), 113–207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.progress.2009.11.001 [Elsevier] (read-only)
  • Adhvaryu, B. (2006). Design of bus station: A case study in Brighton. Traffic Engineering and Control, 47(5), 182–187. [Hemming] (read-only)
  • Hargreaves, T., & Adhvaryu, B. (2005). Land use and transport options for the Wider South East Regions. Slide presentation at the 2nd Annual SOLUTIONS Conference, London, 5–6 December 2005. (read-only)
  • Balachandran, B.R., Adhvaryu, B., & Lokre, A. (2005). Urban transport in India: Problems, responses and strategies. EPC working paper 1-1. Environmental Planning Collaborative, Ahmedabad, India. read-only)
  • Katti, B.K., Macwan, J.E.M.M., & Adhvaryu, B. (1996). Role of urban ecosystems in environmental planning of metropolitan areas. Presented at the 3rd International Conference on Environmental Planning and Management, VRCE, Nagpur, India, 24–26 February.

  • Foundation Studio
  • Research methods and data science courses
  • Cities, urban sustainability, and transport (electives)

Reviewer for international journals and book publisher

Journals

  • Cities (Elsevier)
  • Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design (Sage, earlier Pion)
  • Environment and Urbanisation Asia (Sage)
  • Habitat International (Elsevier)
  • International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development (Taylor & Francis)
  • Journal of Public Transport (USF)
  • Journal of Transport and Land Use (Uni. of Minnesota/ CTS)
  • Progress in Planning (Elsevier)
  • Public Transport (Springer)
  • Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography (Wiley)

Books

  • Elsevier
  • Mapin
  • Palgrave Macmillan
  • Routledge

Traffic accidents analysis in AhmedabadTimes of India, Ahmedabad, 9-Jun-2019

Live TV discussion (in Gujarati) on Ahmedabad metro and other related topics Doordarshan Girnar TV channel, 6-Mar-2019, 8:00 - 8:30 pm, Ep-29: Aapna Mudda Aapni Vaat

Public transport faces connectivity challenge Times of India, Ahmedabad, 3-Mar-2019

Public transport going nowhere, new map may show the way Times of India, Ahmedabad, 21-Jul-2016

Relocation costs riverfront families dear Ahmedabad Mirror, 20-May-2015

AMTS-BRTS passengers pay more than 4 times the fare (in Gujarati) Gujarat Samachar Plus, Ahmedabad, 11-Jun-2014

CEPT University student wins best paper award Times of India, Ahmedabad, 4-Apr-2014

CEPT students propose multi-modal transport hubs for Ahmedabad Ahmedabad Mirror, 20-Dec-2012

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