This course focuses on exploring innovative strategies to effectively manage – if not solve – urban transportation problems across rapidly growing cities in the developing world. We will critically analyze alternative ways of addressing urban mobility challenges using evidence and a global comparative approach. The course will provide basic understanding of transportation economics and policy, travel demand, and multi-modal system management. Students will learn to connect theory with practice for improving transportation system efficiency, ensuring equity in accessibility, and reducing environmental impacts.
More than half of humanity now lives in cities. Developing economies, led by India and China, are undergoing unprecedented urbanization, with cities rapidly growing in both size and number. In 2016, 24 out of the 31 global megacities (10 million+ population) were located in developing regions, and all ten cities expected to become megacities by 2030 are from the developing world (The World’s Cities in 2016, United Nations).
Fast-growing cities in developing countries that are undergoing rapid economic and social transitions are confronted with unique transportation problems. Population growth, socioeconomic shifts and land use changes in an environment of informality, poverty and institutional bottlenecks render efficient transport system management and prudent infrastructure investments challenging. These cities are characterized by rising traffic congestion, increasing car-reliance, overcrowded buses and trains, inadequate pedestrian and biking facilities, alarming rates of roadway fatalities, growing air pollution, and deteriorating public health. Transportation related problems not only negatively affect quality of urban life, but also threaten sustainable, equitable development. Finding innovative solutions to these wicked problems is important. Luckily, we have seen numerous ingenious mobility experiments worldwide, including in the developing world, in recent years. Emerging technologies and public-private synergies are making innovations possible.
The course readings, lectures, discussions, debates and group assignments will help students understand and critically analyze urban transportation issues across diverse socioeconomic, cultural and political circumstances, and also get exposed to various contemporary and emerging approaches of addressing those issues. For example, we will discuss about strategies, including policy instruments and technology-facilitated business models, to manage congestion and pollution, limit growing automobile ownership and use, promote shared and non-motorized travel, solve the urban parking puzzle, and deliver mobility as a service. We will use case studies from both developing and developed contexts.