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Associate Professor Imran Muhammad staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 83848

Associate Professor Imran Muhammad PhD

Associate Professor

School of People, Environment and Planning

Dr Imran Muhammad is a professionally trained urban planner and has over 15 years' experience of comprising research, teaching and professional practice in the field of urban transport planning. Imran is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), UK.

Imran has worked at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and RMIT University in Australia and King Saud University in Saudi Arabia in research and teaching/tutoring capacities; and at the Victorian Road Authority (VicRoads) and British Columbia International Inc. in professional capacities.

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Contact details

  • Location: 3.14, Social Science Tower
    Campus: Turitea


  • Doctor of Philosophy - University of Melbourne (2006)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Imran's research interests broadly focus on understanding the sustainable transport linkages with governance, climate change, poverty, gender, economic growth and urban design in contemporary cities.

Imran's current research explores how institutions can promote sustainable transport in cities in developing and developed countries. His research argues for a greater recognition of the role of politics and the influence of discourse on transport decision-making and reveals the limitations of technical methodologies. Imran's research is instrumental in the application of sustainability to transportation by challenging the conventional wisdom of building more roads and in the design of public transport.

Imran has received research grants from the Royal Society of NZ Marsden Fund (2013-2016) and, the NZ Transport Agency (2008) and has acted as a consultant for the World Bank (2010).

Imran is the sole author of a book, Institutional barriers to sustainable urban transport in Pakistan published by Oxford University Press. His book has received attention because of the sharp growth in motorisation in developing countries and the concerns this raises about global sustainability. Imran's research outputs have been used in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to challenge the widening of the Lahore Canal Road.

Imran is the 2013 recipient of the College Research Award – Early Career. Imran is also a recipient of 2014 IPENZ Transportation Group Conference People's Choice Award on his presentation about the political-institutional challenges of public transport in Auckland. 


21st Century Citizenship, Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Built Environment And Design (120000): Land Use and Environmental Planning (120504): Transport Planning (120506): Urban and Regional Planning (120500): Urban Design (120508)


• Urban planning and development

• Transport planning and policies

• Sustainable transport (walking, cycling and public/shared transport)

• Public transport network planning

• Transport and land use integration / Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

• Transport and climate change adaptation and mitigation

• Transport and socio-economic exclusions & development

• Mega transport projects

• Urban design

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 5
Team Member 0 1

Completed Projects

Project Title: Institutional change, path dependence and public transport planning in Auckland

Utilising cutting edge approaches of social science to the socio-political institutions of public transport, this project proposes an institutional approach to investigate the planning and design of public transport in Auckland. The concepts of 'path dependence' and 'path development' will be used to analyse public transport policies in Auckland and to explore the potential for transformative change in public transport development made possible as a result of the creation of the Auckland Council. A theoretical framework developed from three types of path dependence and development, namely political, social and discursive, will focus attention on the political-institutional relationships between central and local governments, the socio-institutional interactions between the Auckland Council and local communities and the discursive-institutional connections between beliefs and policy problems and their generated solutions.
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Date Range: 2013 - 2016

Funding Body: Marsden Fund - Fast Start

Project Team:

Project Title: Measuring the Resilience of Transport Infrastructure

This project develops a Resilience Indicator Framework (RIF) for measuring transport resilience in the Manawatu-Whanganui region. Manawatu Gorge closure has been used as a case study to identify economic, social and environmental consequences. The research identifies the need for tools to assist decision-makers in determining priorities for transport infrastructure investment in order to mitigate the expected effects of climate change and natural hazards.
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Date Range: 2013 - 2013

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Project Title: Institutional and discursive barriers to public transport in New Zealand

This project investigates the institutional and discursive barriers that are hindering the development and implementation of sustainable urban transport policies in New Zealand. The research explores an historical overview of urban transport planning in Auckland dating from mid 1950s until recently. Analysis found the road-based discourses have been promoted in policy and planning documents which shaped transport problems and their solutions. The economic, mobility, safety and consumer based discourses helped to justify road-based urban transport projects in Auckland. These arguments have been used, reused and reapplied in policy and planning documents to stabilise road-based solutions. The research concludes that the discourse in urban transport policies is creating barriers to public transport and needs to be challenged for institutional change in New Zealand.
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Date Range: 2009 - 2011

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Consultancy and Languages


  • May 2010 - Oct 2010 - World Bank
    Quick urban transport assessment in Punjab, Pakistan
  • Aug 2008 - March 2010 - New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)
    Public transport network planning: a guide to best practice in NZ cities (NZTA research report 396)
  • Jul 2008 - Nov 2010 - New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)
    Attitudes and behaviour in relation to public transport in New Zealand's non-metropolitan regions (NZTA research report 419)


  • Urdu
    Last used: 2014
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent
  • Punjabi
    Last used: 2014
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Needs work
  • Hindi
    Last used: 2014
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Needs work

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

Imran is the 2013 recipient of the College special commendation of teaching excellence.

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 2 3
Co-supervisor 3 1

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Moayad Shammut - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Future of Autonomous Vehicles in New Zealand: Planning for Uncertainty.
  • Xinning Wang - Doctor of Philosophy
    Exploring innovative funding for Mega Transport Infrastructure Projects

Co-supervisor of:

  • Shashini Ranabahu Ranabahu Mudiyanselage - Doctor of Philosophy
    Transportation and climate change; A system based-approach to assess vulnerability and resilience
  • Waqar Anwar - Doctor of Philosophy
    Belt and Road Initiative and the Security-Insecurity Paradox: A Case Study of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
  • Syed Ali - Doctor of Philosophy
    The role of environmental assessment in statutory decision-making for large-scale infrastructure projects: A case study of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme (New Zealand)

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2018 - Waheed Ahmed - Doctor of Philosophy
    Transport and Women's Social Exclusion in Urban Areas in Pakistan
  • 2017 - Suryani Wijaya - Doctor of Philosophy
    Multi-level tensions in transport policy and planning: bus-rapid transit (BRT) in Indonesia
  • 2017 - Muhammad Chohan - Doctor of Philosophy
    Roads Investment and Economic Growth: Similarity or Divergence between Developed and Developing Countries

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2012 - Abdur Cheema - Doctor of Philosophy
    Exploring the role of the mosque in dealing with disasters: a case study of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan

Media and Links

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