Chandra Balijepalli

Chandra Balijepalli

Currently, I am working as a Research Fellow at ITS, Leeds. My job involves both research and teaching in transport. My main research interests are in transport modelling and in particular dynamic traffic assignment. Over the last six years at ITS, I have been involved with some of very high profile, world leading research activities. My main contribution to this field has been bringing the research closer to practice by: analysing the reliability of travel time on Highways Agency’s strategic road network in England; developing parking models to integrate with network assignment models; working on strategic transport models involving dynamic land use transport interactions. My PhD research addressed the variability of traffic flows on road networks due to which the network assignment models often remain ill-validated. I teach Transport Modelling to Masters students at ITS and Transport Planning to undergraduate students at the School of Civil Engineering. Currently, I supervise a PhD student’s research involving public transport assignment. Recently, I have been appointed as Deputy Admissions Tutor for Taught Programmes at ITS. I have published research papers in the top quality peer-reviewed scholarly journals and presented at several international conferences in various countries. I am a visiting faculty at the University of Gadja Mada in Indonesia.

I had excellent faculty members (e.g. Dr Dirck van Vliet and Prof David Watling) who were not only effective in teaching very difficult modules but also they could motivate my interest in research. My Master's dissertation work involved testing of high capacity city centre loop road in Leeds using SATURN traffic assignment model.  After returning to India, I led a team of engineers & planners and prepared a Comprehensive Transportation Plan for Jalgaon Municipal Council in Maharashtra. I have developed a simulation network model for the Indian council using SATURN, perhaps the first ever traffic simulation network model for any city in the country. My extended association with traffic assignment models has generated further interest to write a PhD research proposal involving Dynamic Traffic Assignment. I was fortunate to be awarded the prestigious Overseas Research Student scholarship to pursue my PhD studies at Leeds. I never thought twice to leave my first-rate consulting job in India to embark on an inspiring journey into the world of research. Thus I was back at ITS Leeds two years after completing my Masters studies from there.

PhD research at ITS let me develop deeper insights into traffic assignment modeling and above all made me enjoy the travel into such intellectually stimulating realms of research. The joy of this journey along unbeaten paths made me choose researching as my career further and thus I took up a position in research at ITS. Now I am working alongside of the best known names in the world of transport modelling including Professors Malachy Carey and David Watling. As part of my job at ITS, I also teach transport modules at various levels. The training that I received at ITS during my Masters and PhD studies together with my practical insights gained during my consulting years gives me confidence in undertaking research, teaching and supervising student work. I derive immense satisfaction when I help the students to understand a topic and eventually helping them in finding a suitable career in the field of transport.  

I chose my ITS course and Leeds University because several years ago, I first heard about ITS Leeds from one of my project managers. He advised me to study at ITS Leeds for unparalleled career prospects. Since then while working in India especially on those internationally funded projects including the World Bank, UNCHS and GTZ, I worked alongside international consultants many of whom were ITS alumni. I was thoroughly impressed by their deeper insights into the field of transport which was gained as a result of the high quality of education offered at ITS Leeds. Consequently, I decided to go to ITS myself and started preparing to apply for Leeds. Suddenly on one fine day I came across an advertisement in a local newspaper offering a Leeds India scholarship which I promptly applied for. I was lucky to be awarded this highly competitive scholarship, but unfortunately I could not come to Leeds for a different reason during that year. Eventually, I came to Leeds a couple of years later with the help of a different scholarship funded by the International Road Federation, Washington, D.C.     

My advice to students interested in this course is that an MSc (Eng) in Transport Planning & Engineering degree from ITS Leeds is highly valued by the employers, not just in the UK, but also from around the world. In fact, ITS Leeds is such a strong brand that it is instantly recognized by most in the transport field wherever you go. But do expect a pretty intensive one year period of studying while in Leeds, after all, there are many years after which rewards can be reaped! Studying in Leeds is also fun especially I enjoyed the European Field Trip which made me experience diverse transport systems including the most modern rail and road systems in the world, integrated operations/fare collection systems, planning approaches to safety & efficiency and so on…

I have no hesitation of any sort in recommending this course to you. So start dreaming of coming to Leeds and work towards making that a reality. Hope to see you in Leeds!