2023 40 Under 40: Aditya Inamdar, AICP, RSP1, LEED AP

Aug. 22, 2023
Aditya Inamdar, AICP, RSP1, LEED AP, Urban Planner & Designer, Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

One word to describe yourself: Determined

Alma Mater: University of Pennsylvania (City Planning); University of Michigan (Urban Design); University of Pune, India (Architecture)

Fast fact about yourself: As of July 2023, I have traveled in 33 different public transit systems across nine countries spanning four continents.

What’s your best experience on transit and what made it memorable? Riding Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail from our home in Silver Spring, Md., to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in July 2021. It was memorable because it was also our two-year old son’s first time on the Metrorail!

Aditya Inamdar is a seasoned professional in the fields of architecture, urban design and city planning. He focuses on creating urban design solutions that integrate mass transportation projects with the built environment to foster sustainable and livable communities. Inamdar strongly advocates for a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach, involving community members and agency stakeholders to design and plan equitable places.

Originally from Pune, India, Inamdar’s academic journey brought him to the U.S., where he studied urban design and city planning with a focus on public-private development and transportation infrastructure. He has more than 12 years of experience working on architecture, urban design and planning projects and has been a member of the Kittelson & Associates team since 2013. Throughout the past decade, he has played a critical role in leading planning studies and developing recommendations for mass transportation projects across multiple states, including Florida, California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Examples of notable projects Inamdar has led include the planning analysis and recommendations for bus rapid transit (BRT) projects in Orlando, Fla., as part of the SR 436 Transit Corridor Study and the exploration of transit-oriented development potential for enhanced public transportation services in Northern Virginia. Currently, he is leading transit planning studies and TOD explorations in Denton County, Texas, and the East-West Corridor Study in Baltimore, Md.

Inamdar’s contributions to the field extend beyond his professional endeavors in mass transit. He has been responsible for significant innovations, such as being the key member in the development of the Context Classification system for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) . The Context Classification graphic he created for FDOT has become an industry standard, connecting land-use-based place types with transportation. Inamdar also led the creation of the FDOT Context Classification Framework for Bus Transit Facilities, guiding the planning and designing of bus transit facilities in different land-use context zones.

Inamdar actively engages in industry-related associations and organizations, such as the American Planning Association, Urban Land Institute, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP), Congress for the New Urbanism and Institute of Transportation Engineers. He is a Fellow at the Urban Design Forum in New York City and has served as co-chair for the APBP National Capital Region Chapter.

Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?

During one of my early graduate school classes, our professor introduced us to the concept of Complete Streets. The idea of redesigning our streets and public spaces to enhance the comfort and safety of all users was particularly inspiring to me. I am able to effectively bring together my diverse skills in architecture, urban design and planning to the mission of planning and designing streets for all users – people who walk, bike and take transit. Since then, for more than a decade, I have worked as an urban planner and designer for Kittelson & Associates, leveraging transportation planning and engineering projects to create welcoming public spaces for all users.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

As an urban planner and designer working for a transportation planning and engineering consulting firm, I can work on multi-disciplinary projects of varying scales, from regional master plans to specific intersection designs at locations across the country.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

As a consultant, I am not the local expert on most projects I work on, but I serve the role of an external subject matter expert. The most challenging aspect of my work is at the start of every new project, where I need to quickly develop a deep understanding of a project's location regarding its history, culture, demographics, politics, previous work and issues and opportunities. This deep understanding of the places we work in is critical to building credibility and trust with the local community. It is also essential to conduct detailed analyses and develop context-sensitive solutions.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

I am most proud of the positive feedback I hear from people who navigate spaces I planned and designed. A couple of such examples that come to mind are related to Complete Streets projects in Melbourne and Cocoa in Brevard County, Florida. I was fortunate to work on a Complete Streets plan for the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization (SCTPO) in Brevard County, Fla. This county-wide plan identified key priority streets to be redesigned to enhance pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities. Within six years, I was able to contribute to the county-wide plan, develop concept designs for three corridors and walk the redesigned streets. These streets were redesigned to include multi-modal facilities such as wider sidewalks, shared-use paths, bike lanes, crosswalks, roundabouts and transit shelters. They also included enhanced streetscapes with trees, landscaping, lighting and benches. The most heartening aspect of this project was a couple of conversations I had while visiting the streets a year after implementation. A mom pushing her stroller on Hickory Street in Melbourne mentioned that she walks more often and feels safer than before. A new restaurant owner on Florida Avenue in Cocoa mentioned that he decided to open his new restaurant at that location because of the new street design.

Best advice/tip/best practice to share from your area of expertise?

Always think from the perspective of people using and navigating the spaces and facilities we are designing, regardless of the scale and the detail of the specific task we are currently working on. For example, even if we are working on a large regional transit network plan, it is critical to imagine what the lines and dots on the maps will look like in real life. Envision how the lines will reflect on the street design and its implications on pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Imagine how dots on the map can be designed as safe, accessible and comfortable transit stops. However, abstract, our work products look like they are meant to be designs of physical spaces that people of all ages and abilities need to navigate safely and comfortably.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.