Theses Doctoral

How Planning Process Impacts Bus Rapid Transit Outcomes: A Comparison of Experiences in Delhi and Ahmedabad, India

Rizvi, Andrea

The ongoing debate within the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) community over the relative importance of 'appropriate' design standards, the 'right' institutional setup and 'political will' to the success of projects obscures the larger importance of the planning process. Political leadership, institutions and design are important conditions that must be considered in the context of one another, but they are also conditions that will change and be influenced by the planning process. Drawing on case studies of the Janmarg BRT in Ahmedabad, and the Delhi BRT in India, I demonstrate the indirect and direct role of the planning process in influencing the outcome of BRT projects.

My dissertation argues that planners too often treat the planning process as a one-dimensional sequence of steps in which design, institutions and leadership provide an unchanging framework in which planning proceeds. Planners however, can assert more influence over outcomes by re-framing the process as a three dimensional activity that considers not just the content and sequencing of the steps, but also requires decisions concerning approach (i.e. strategy and tactics) and timing (i.e. both moment of action and duration). This broader three-dimensional understanding of the planning process can be used to reshape design, institutions and leadership. A well-designed planning process has the potential to overcome institutional and design weaknesses and build political support leading to more viable and sustainable BRT systems.


  • thumnail for Rizvi_columbia_0054D_11908.pdf Rizvi_columbia_0054D_11908.pdf application/pdf 13.7 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Sclar, Elliott
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014