Student and Alumni Spotlights

Arnav Prakash MCRP '24

Cultivating an Interest in Transportation Planning from Family and Community

Arnav Prakash

Master of City and Regional Planning, Class of 2024

Kolkata, India 
Concentration: Transportation Planning and Policy 
Activities at Rutgers: President, Bloustein Graduate Student Association, 2023-2024; Student Assistant, Bloustein School Graduate Career Services; Graduate Teaching Assistant, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations. 
Personal interests: Traveling, hiking, connecting with nature, football, swimming, experiencing new cuisines, digital art creation. 

Growing up in a family of transportation enthusiasts fueled Arnav’s fascination with urban planning. 

“My father, Er. Jai Prakash (Retd.), with his lifelong career in the Indian Railways, provided me with a firsthand view of the critical role transportation plays in shaping cities and communities,” he said. “Discussions around the dinner table often revolved around the challenges and opportunities within the field, cultivating my appreciation for the impact of well-thought-out transportation planning. I am deeply grateful to my mother, Ritu Prakash, and sibling, Ananya, for continuously inspiring me throughout graduate school, even though we were separated by miles.” 

An undergraduate degree in urban design from CEPT University in India laid the foundation for his interest in the field. Witnessing the direct impact of urban planning on the daily lives of people in the community through the creation of sustainable and people-centric urban spaces fueled his desire to contribute meaningfully to this field. 

Transportation planning, he learned, was a growing market with evolving challenges. “My decision to choose Rutgers’ Bloustein School was guided by a desire for an educational setting that values diverse perspectives and fosters inclusivity,” he said. “Its reputation and high-ranking status in urban planning showcased a commitment to academic excellence that resonated with my aspirations.” 

The collective influence of professors and courses at the Bloustein School has played a significant role in shaping his interests and career path. “Professor Kelcie Ralph’s teaching methodology has resonated with me, making the learning experience engaging and insightful,” he said. Courses such as freight and ports, bicycle-pedestrian planning, and bus planning, also provided him with valuable knowledge of the multifaceted world of transportation planning. 

For the last two semesters, he was a Trans-Hudson Transportation Planning intern at NJ Transit. In this role, he collaborated with NJ Transit and consultant teams on planning studies, conducted geospatial research and analysis, and wrote reports to optimize Multi-Modal Hubs, Ferries, and transit options.  

“I was able to play a key role in station planning, with a focus on enhancing accessibility and streamlining operations to address citizen and customer issues.” 

“My experience at the Bloustein School has surpassed my hopes. The emphasis on practical applications has given me a well-rounded education. The strong emphasis on career support and alumni networking has opened doors to academic growth as well as mentorship opportunities and insights into real-world applications.”