Research

My students and I study transportation, not as an end but as a means to social and economic activity, opportunity, and equity.  My research examines the varied benefits of travel, the often high costs, and the frequently unfair allocation of these benefits and costs.  The work focuses on transportation systems, travel behavior, and transportation planning and decision-making, and collectively shows how the social and economic benefits and costs of travel are inefficiently and inequitably distributed.

Topically, my research covers four broad areas, often through an equity lens:

  • Personal travel and location behavior: This work focuses on the causes and implications of travel, the location behaviors of households and firms, and on the travel patterns and needs of mobility disadvantaged populations.

    Recent example: The evolving travel and location patterns and preferences of the Millennial generation:  Who is getting ahead, and who is being left behind?

  • Traditional and emerging forms of shared mobility: My research in this area centers on new mobility services, like Lyft and Uber, as well as the funding, provision, and (too often lack of) use of the most widely touted alternative to solo driving:  public transit.

    Recent example: Why has public transit ridership been falling, and what might we do about it post-pandemic?

  • Transportation pricing and finance: The work in this area considers who pays for transportation systems, who benefits from them, and how better pricing could improve both efficiency and equity.

    Recent example: What are the equity implications of using sales taxes to fund transportation?

  • The politics of planning and decision-making: This research examines the politics of planning to offer greater insight on the political and fiscal environments within which transportation systems are planned and managed, both in the present day and in historically.

    Recent example: Is traffic congestion overrated?  How fear of congestion increases both sprawl and housing costs