October 5, 2018
Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar
Syed Abu Hasnath, senior research associate at the International Sustainable Development Institute in Boston, will present a Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, in 1066 Rathbone Hall.
Hasnath will present, "Achieving Sustainable Transport Systems in Developing Countries — A Case Study of Dhaka City."
Abstract: Transport systems refers to the logistics and equipment of transporting passengers and freights. The systems cover movement by all forms of transport, including cars, buses, trucks, and trains. Sustainable transport systems that provide an efficient and convenient movement of people and goods is considered to be one of the most important attributes of economic growth and social development. It is a lifeline of sustainable development. However, the situation of traffic and circulation in large cities of many developing countries, including Dhaka, suffer acutely counter-productive limitations from excessively hours-long traffic jams, pollution, noise, and accidents. The situation imposes severe economic costs (low output due to lower productivity) and social costs (toll on health and personal time). We briefly review four case-cities — Mexico City, Delhi, Bangkok, and Dhaka — wherein the problems in urban transport systems loom large. A concise review of related literature — that links to theoretical background and analytical framework of the transport problems — is presented in the body of the text. The knowledge we get from each case study and insight we gain from a comparative study of all case studies form a backdrop for what we do next: an in-depth study of the issues in Dhaka’s transportation systems and finding solutions to address and improve the situation. The study identifies four interlinked dimensions of the issue: a) an overwhelming interest in public works; b) the least attention to urban land-use planning and control; c) an inefficient management of the transport systems; including maintenance of transport logistics and minimizing carbon emission from the logistics; and d) an unsatisfactory driving skills and irresponsible behaviors of some drivers. In order to achieve a sustainable transport system in Dhaka, there is a need for an integration of public works, land-use planning, urban governance of transport and environment, and civic education for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. This combined effort should contribute to help reduce the extent of the problem substantially.
Hasnath studied economics and physical planning in his home country, Bangladesh. He earned his master's in economics from Wales University and doctorate in economic geography and environment from Boston University. With a Dean's Fellowship, he wrote a doctoral dissertation on investment in U.S. public construction. Hasnath taught at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka for a decade and at Boston University for another two decades. His papers appeared in several international journals, including Economic Geography, Annals of Regional Science, Technology Forecasting and Social Change, Modeling and Simulation, The Arab World Geographer, Geographical Review, and Public Administration and Development. His book chapters have been published by Pergamon Press, SUNY Press, Anthem Press, and Routledge Press. He is an independent scholar of international development, currently working on sustainable urban development; corporate social responsibility; "Uneven Development in Bangladesh" (forthcoming book chapter, Springer), and sustainable transport systems in developing countries.