RESEARCH

My full CV is available here.

 

My research aims to address fundamental questions about how cities can better serve current and future residents. I believe quality  research fulfills a vital role in society; to this end I strive to pursue research that is policy-relevant, examines issues of social justice, and is of interest and value to the community.

More specifically, my research focuses on three interlocking issues.

 

  • Understanding how the transportation needs of disadvantaged populations and issues of social equity can be integrated into land use and transportation policies;
  • Developing “appropriate” accessibility measures that better incorporate the needs, desires, and preferences of residents; and
  • Understanding how people and households of different socio-economic status “respond” to measures of local and regional accessibility. While most—if not all—studies do “control for” socio-economic factors, my work makes these factors the primary focus.

My dissertation began with several over-arching questions: What is a transportation system? What role does it play in society? How can transportation plans balance, prioritize and trade-off various—often-conflicting—environmental, economic, and social equity goals? Finally, how can a plan’s success in meeting these goals be most appropriately measured? Addressing these questions has led to a body of work that offers insight into how issues of social equity can be better integrated into decision making.

 

Current work includes a comprehensive model of pedestrian behaviour that accounts for not only built environment features but personal motivations, values, and propensity to walk. Much of the literature on neighbourhood walkability focuses on built environment factors that are assumed to have a consistent effect across personal, household, and trip purposes. However, my research has shown that the response to objectively measured elements of neighbourhood walkability varies greatly across trip purposes and personal characteristics. More interestingly, traveler motivations and values seem to be related to satisfaction levels. For instance those who walk out of environmental awareness or a desire to exercise report a higher satisfaction with longer distances and greater slope, two factors often modeled as “disutilities” in mode choice models.

Other continuing research includes:

  • Understanding the role and efficacy of transportation and land use policies to improve growth management;
  • Working to better incorporate stated and revealed preference survey methods in transportation research and better integrate perception, preference and satisfaction into mode choice models; and
  • Examining the role of language, definition, context, and visualization in decision-making frameworks.