The political economy of urban transportation in India

Ph.D. Opportunity in the Political Economy of Urban transport Decision-making and Financing in India

Professor Madhav Badami at McGill University and colleagues invite expressions of interest in pursuing doctoral research that will critically investigate the political economy of urban transport decision-making and financing in India.

The rapid growth in motorization and its impacts in Indian cities has been sought to be addressed by means of projects such as road widening, grade-separated intersections, limited access highways, and rail-based rapid transit systems. These projects, while often seen as bringing in a world-class orientation to urban transportation, also raise questions about their efficacy among other issues, because of their high capital requirements, inability to cater to a wide section of society, and the potential to reinforce existing urban exclusions.

The accepted PhD student will have the opportunity to investigate how and why decisions to implement and finance such projects were made, and their implications for urban transport outcomes. The PhD student will be part of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada funded project titled Constituting Urban Indian Mobility. The project research team comprises Professors Govind Gopakumar (Concordia University), Madhav G. Badami (McGill University), Craig Townsend (Concordia University), Sarah Turner (McGill University), and Rutul Joshi (CEPT University).

The student selected for the research will be helped to put together an application package for admission to the doctoral programme in Urban Policy, Planning and Design in the School of Urban Planning at McGill University. If the student is admitted to this programme, s(he) will be nominated for fellowships and other funding to support the doctoral studies and field-work.


The research team is seeking a candidate with a Master’s degree, an excellent academic background, including skills in qualitative and quantitative analysis, and ideally, a proven track record in research relevant to the topic.

Those interested should email Madhav G. Badami (at and Govind Gopakumar (at latest by December 1, 2020, explaining why they are interested in and suitable for this doctoral research programme. The following materials should be attached: a CV, including qualifications, and names of two academic referees; an unofficial academic transcript; and one or two samples of critical, analytical writing (including published articles), that will allow assessment of suitability. We will hold Zoom interviews with short-listed applicants in early December.