Effect of Public Transportation on Urban Sprawl in the City of Bhopal, India

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Growing urban population has led to recognition of urban sprawl as a serious planning concern, especially in developing countries. Urban economists identify three major responsible forces that interact together and lead to spatial urban sprawl. First, the population growth resulting in outward expansion of urban areas; Second, rising income levels attract citizens to procure larger living space. These residences are generally located where land prices are less expensive i.e. suburban areas located at the outskirts of metropolitan areas (Carruthers & Ulfarsson 2002). Interestingly, the third, force responsible for inducing urban sprawl identified in literature is decreasing commuting costs produced by investments in transportation infrastructure which fuel outward expansion of development (Brueckner, 2000). Therefore through review of literature, it is understood that urban sprawl tends to occur where property values are lower on the periphery of urban centres (Pendall, 1999) and low cost public transport availability is one of the major factors that contribute to the sprawling of people from the city centre to the suburbs of the city. Bhopal, the capital city of central state of India implemented bus based public transport facility in year 2005 under National Urban Renewal Mission (NURM) and has till date many fold expanded the service to suburban regions targeting people living there. Notably the municipal area of city has also increased from 265 square kilometres in year 2005 to 463 square kilometres in year 2020. This research study attempts to explain the relationship between public transport expansion and urban sprawl, taking the case study of Bhopal. Spatial data for Bhopal was developed for the years ranging from 2005 to 2020 using QGIS and Google Earth Pro, in order to understand the changing city footprint along with details of public transport network over the corresponding period from Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC). Standard urban spatial single-mode model (Brueckner, 1987) to incorporate public subsidies for one mode, i.e. bus based public transport was used. Comparative statistical analysis of model produces empirically testable hypotheses and identified the relation between expansion of city and public transportation available in city by observing the all maps of past to present years of Bhopal. At the end of the research papers it has been highlighted how public transport expansion impacts urban sprawl by means of the correlation coefficients and spatial analysis. Our most important theoretical result is that the transit subsidies on the suburban areas are directly related to urban sprawl. Arguably, public transport which was targeted as strategy to promote sustainable urban development has resulted in sprawl. The paper ends with a recommendation to examine and analyze the impact of public transport service expansion to sub-urban regions in light of city expansion.
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3: Smartness and development. Al-Souq: innovating for performance and management
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Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) Bhopal, India

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