PhD Defence Mr Sukhad Subodh Keshkamat
Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning and Geoinformation Management
Title of defence
The road less travelled: Scale in the assessment and planning of highways
Highway route alignment is usually a consistently grey area in highway planning practice. Although much progress has been achieved in detailed engineering design of pavements and road geometrics, current techniques of highway route planning suffer from some shortcomings - most miss a full-fledged use of the impacts in the planning process. Often much of the planning isn’t spatial by nature, and so fails to understand the issue of scale in planning. It is also often argued that impact assessment of highways usually occurs too late in the highway development process and therefore can only mitigate, and almost never avoid serious negative impacts or enhance positive impacts. Also, conventional impact assessment is focussed on negative impacts only, and is thus seen as an imbalanced obtrusive compulsion by proponents.
If the assessment processes are pulled upstream of the planning process, geospatial techniques (such as GIS) and geospatial technologies (such as remote sensing) can improve, and even ease, the process of highway alignment. It would also allow the bringing of stakeholder engagement processes early into the planning, thus saving much time in the later stages, reducing implementation delays and boosting the sustainability (social, environmental, economic and political) of the development. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) processes encourage such improvements.
However sustainability is strongly scale-dependent, and so the issues of scale also need to be given strategic thought in the development of the planning process from the viewpoint of the credibility, salience and legitimacy of the planning process and its outcomes. Yet, despite copious amounts of research on it, it still remains largely un-understood and is underutilized in the planning and assessment processes. We do so through the use of a 3-dimensional framework which is flexible enough to apply to across different disciplines and yet robust enough maintain the core ideas, offer a means to do so. It enables the understanding and negotiation of highway planning scale issues from the perspective of analytical tiers, reality scales, model scales and data scales.
|Dirt tracks degrading vast tracts of pristine land in absences of formal roads, one of the topics in the research. Photo courtesy: Mr N.Batsaikhan, wildlife biologist, Mongolia|
By applying the principle of strategic thinking to the planning process, a multi-tiered route alignment methodology is used to understand and identify what should be the goals and stakeholders considered in the planning of a highway at different scales. Multi-criteria analysis aided by spatial information and GIS forms one of the main techniques used in this research to understand and incorporate diverse stakeholder opinion, concerns and priorities into the decision support process of the formulation of alignment alternatives. It is tailored to specific applications by combining with other GIS and remote sensing techniques.
From the perspectives of sustainability and techno-commercial feasibility, it is as important to consider local, provincial, national goals as well as international ones in the planning of international highways. There is also a temporal aspect - long term as well as short-term goals need to be incorporated, and hence the multi-tier planning system should be able to accommodate goals from policies, plans, programmes as well as projects.
At the highest planning level, the outcomes of the planning process would be corridors which are aligned to broad policy goals. In middle tiers these corridors will be used to limit and identify route alternatives; and in lower tiers, to prioritize projects and implement local mitigation measures. Thus, positive impacts can be maximized and negative impacts can be minimized at each tier and stakeholders at each level will have been heard in a transparent manner.
This research proposed a methodology for planning of sustainable mega-highways through different geographic and administrative scales and through four tiers in tiered planning structure. It encourages consideration of both positive and negative impacts in the planning of large highways and therefore encourages objective and more transparent practices in highway planning practice. By bettering the practice and outcomes of the planning process, stakeholder satisfaction, environmental protection and economic benefits from the projects can be increased.
Sukhad Keshkamat, born 28th April 1974 in Goa - India, is a graduate civil engineer with about 15 years of experience in the field of civil engineering, particularly construction project management of large infrastructure. He did his schooling at the St. Xavier’s High School, Ahmedabad and Bachelors in Engineering (Civil) from the Birla Engineering College, Vallabh Vidyanagar in Gujarat state. In 1995, he graduated ranked second in the university and was awarded gold medals in concrete technology, prestressed concrete, environmental design of buildings and remote sensing.
After graduating, he moved actively into the field of project engineering and has earned a reputation for his versatile project management experience in a variety of construction projects ranging from sprawling luxury hotels to shipbuilding dry-docks, and from ‘clean-room’ pharmaceutical industries to construction of highways and bridges. He also has substantial experience in structural designing of RCC and steel, real estate valuation and construction contracting.
In late-2005, he left his managerial position at the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation for his postgraduate studies in Geo-information for environmental modelling and management specialising in regional transport planning, at the universities of Southampton, Lund, Warsaw and ITC under the Erasmus Mundus programme of the European Union. In late-2007, he was awarded the ITC Research Scholarship to conduct this PhD research study. He co-supervised the research of 8 MSc students during his PhD studies.
He is an active member of the Institution of Engineers-India (IEI), Indian Concrete Institute (ICI), Indian Institute of Bridge Engineers (IIBE), Indian Roads Congress (IRC), International Ferrocement Network, Infra Eco Network Europe (IENE), International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA), International Association of Mathematical Geosciences (IAMG), International Geospatial Society (IGS) and a few sustainability science forums. He has been awarded a silver medal and an honorary life membership of the Institution of Engineers’ (India) for his achievements. An engineer who ardently believes in the philosophy of jugaad, when not on the beach or backpacking, he spends much of his leisure in fixing and DIYing electronics, electrical and mechanical items for self, friends and charities. A detailed professional CV can be seen at http://www.linkedin.com/in/sukhad
Keshkamat, S.S., van der Veen, A. (Promotor) , van Maarseveen, M.F.A.M.(Promotor) and Zuidgeest, M.H.P. (assistant promotor) (2011) The road less travelled : scale in assessment and planning of highways : e-book. PhD thesis University of Twente, Summaries in Dutch and English. ITC Dissertation 199, ISBN: 978-90-6164-305-0.
|Event starts:||Tuesday 13 December 2011 at 14:30|
|Venue:||UT Waaier room 4|
|City where event takes place:||Enschede|
|Country where event takes place:||Netherlands|