Bhavana Vaddadi: ”New user behaviour will change urban planning, down to the individual street level”
Bhavana Vaddadi is conducting her PhD studies at ITRL and Mistra SAMS, and is looking into how widespread adoption of new mobility and accessibility services can affect a number of indicators, such as urban planning, policy development, travel behaviour, and carbon emissions.
– My aim is to use urban planning as my main focus, and investigate how adoption of the new services that Mistra SAMS is addressing is likely to influence it. But urban planning is connected to many other factors, and it’s important to see that they are interlinked. Urban planning changes user behaviour, but user needs change infrastructure planning as well. And policy questions play in to that, as well as environmental concerns and emission targets. It’s a complex network of factors!
Bhavana Vaddadi work in Mistra SAMS builds on her previous research from Amsterdam, and she hopes to be able to dive deeper into the question of what the likely impacts would be, from new mobility and accessibility services.
– My master’s thesis addressed the question of how urban planning could be affected if there’s a really large adoption of these services. I used a backcasting method from an assumption that there would be a large demand for sharing services, and worked my way back to what changes need to be made today. What I hope to gain from working with Mistra SAMS is new data that can help me make my models and predictions better. The assumptions in my thesis work were perhaps a bit utopian, so I really want to get a better understanding of which assumptions are more realistic.
Bhavana Vaddadi started her work with Mistra SAMS in the fall of 2018 and will be involved with the upcoming living lab, the work hub planned to be launched this winter.
– As of right now, the living lab and work hub is my main focus in Mistra SAMS and I’m involved in the planning and development process right now. Once the living lab starts my role will be to do interviews and get qualitative data on the users and their view of the work hub. I’ll follow the users over time, and I will also be able to observe how the presence of the hub affects the urban environment around it.
In conjunction with her research at Mistra SAMS, Bhavana Vaddadi is involved with ITRL and their on-going project Scania Go . Scania Go is a mobility service for Scania employees in Södertälje which uses an app to help them get access to minibuses and electric bicycles, and to see timetables of various public transport systems.
– Scania Go has been running for a while now and there’s much data already to get into, so I’m excited to determine the best way for me to integrate it into my research. Right now I am working from an idea that my interviews through Mistra SAMS will give me insight into a user perspective on mobility services, and that I’ll get an employer’s perspective from talking to Scania. What will be really interesting will be comparing and contrasting these views!
Mistra SAMS living lab and Scania Go are two case studies of new mobility and accessibility concepts, in Bhavana Vaddadi’s five year course. Further down the line, she will look into other cases. As Bhavana Vaddadi will work with future scenarios and impacts on systems-level of new services, one thing she would like to explore further is mid-term scenarios, as transitions are happening.
– Today, a street might not have any infrastructure except for car lanes, and when new services have been fully implemented it might have more green areas, or public space for barbequing, for example. But an interesting question is what’s needed during the transition: perhaps much space for bike-sharing spaces or special lanes for self-driving vehicles. Throughout the transition, changes in user behaviour will have a very concrete impact on the individual street level, and that is something I’m interested in studying further!