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Dissertation and Faculty Grant Abstracts—Archive

2009-2010 (Year 22)

Dissertation Projects

Faculty Projects

UCTC 2009-2010 Faculty Grant Abstracts

An Aggregate Model of Downtown Parking and Traffic Congestion: Incorporating Mass Transit

Project Director:
Richard Arnott
Department of Economics
4106 Sproul Hall
University of California, Riverside
T: 951-827-1581 F: 951-827-5685
[email protected]


Over the last few years, the PI has been developing an aggregative model of downtown parking and traffic congestion, with the ultimate aim of having a user-friendly simulation model that can be applied as a practical planning tool in the economic evaluation of city-specific downtown transport and parking policies. The research strategy has been to start with a very simple model and to gradually introduce refinements in the direction of realism. The original model had identical individuals, only auto travel, and only curbside parking. That model has been extended to include private garage parking and individual variation in value of time and visit length. The aim of the proposed research is to extend the model to include mass transit. Planned future refinements include introducing resident parking (including a distinction between primary and secondary streets), freight transportation, and variation in demand over the day, replacing the current flow congestion with intersection queuing congestion, and refining the specification of the games between private parking garages and between private and public providers of parking.

Key Words: downtown parking, traffic congestion, mass transit, parking policy, garage parking, curbside parking

Research Objective: To introduce mass transit into an aggregative model of downtown parking and traffic congestion and to illustrate extended model’s application in policy analysis.


1. Extending an aggregative model of downtown parking and traffic congestion previously developed by the PI to include bus and subway travel.
2. Illustrating calibration of the model and its application to analyze a private garage parking tax in San Francisco and maximum parking requirements in Los Angeles.

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: No prior UCTC research

Potential Benefits: Improving understanding of the economic effects of downtown parking and transport policies and developing a practical transport planning tool.

Total Direct Cost: $69,578

Assessment of accessibility in urban environments with unpredictable transit systems

Project Director:
Alexandre Bayen
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
711 Davis Hall
Berkeley, CA
Phone: (510) 642-2468
Fax: (510) 643-88919
Email: [email protected]

This project proposes to use a commuter routing engine based on an existing prototype to assess a quantity now computable from public sources at an unprecedented scale: accessibility, i.e. time to reach a destination from all possible origins in a city. The project proposes to build accessibility maps, based on static published transit schedules, and actual observed transit schedules, both available from the web. The resulting studies should reveal inequity in accessibility in cities. Further investigations will reveal areas with unreliable accessibility (i.e. for which accessibility could greatly vary from day to day due to transit perturbations such as delays). Because the proposed system will make extensive use of information available online, a validation will be conducted using GPPS enabled mobile devices. The devices will be used to access the real-time routing information provided by the system, and assess the accuracy of the accessibility metrics, both published and actual. Studies will include the Bay Area, New York, and Seattle (because of the current availability of this data to us), as well as additional cities of interest.

Key Words: Accessibility maps, isochrones curves, minimum travel time, multi-modal, real-time, published schedule vs. actual schedule.

Research Objective:
The goal of the research is to build accessibility maps for cities with unreliable transit systems, to assess areas with poor and/or unreliable accessibility, and to test in practice with software running on iPhones or Nokia N810.

-Mathematically pose the problem of computing accessibility in a computationally tractable way.
-Query publicly available databases of transit (web), and create a database of transit information
-Create a dynamic query of real-time (including delays) of transit data
-Run city-wide studies of accessibility (including the Bay Area, Seattle and New York).
-Extend the work in the form a feasibility study to other cities / countries

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: No prior UCTC research

Potential Benefits: This project provides analysis for US cities with existing infrastructure, and builds a tool which can be used to study any additional city of interest.

Total Direct Cost: $ 65,2522

Price and Frequency Competition in Freight Transportation

Project Director: Jan K. Brueckner
Department of Economics
3151 Social Science Plaza
UC Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697
Phone / Fax : (949) 824-0083/(949) 824-2182
E-mail : [email protected]
Service frequency is an important quality dimension in passenger transportation, with frequent service allowing a good match between passengers' actual and preferred departure times. Frequency is thus a key dimension of competition between passenger carriers, along with the fare charged. Frequency is also a key quality determinant in freight transportation, since low frequencies require cargo to accumulate while awaiting shipment, imposing inventory costs on firms. Frequent service, by contrast, allows inventory stocks to be kept low, reducing costs. While this trade-off has become more prominent in recent years with the advent of “just in-time” production methods, the economics-oriented transportation literature lacks a conceptual framework for analyzing the provision of high-frequency freight service by competitive suppliers. The purpose of the proposed research is fill this gap by developing a theoretical model of frequency and price competition among the providers of freight services, paralleling the author's previous analysis of such competition in passenger services. While the two models will have a similar structure, key details differ given that the demand for freight services arises from firm profit maximization rather than consumer utility maximization. The research will provide a new conceptual framework for the analysis of competition in freight transportation.

Key Words: freight, frequency, competition
Research Objective: develop a theoretical model of competition between freight carriers, with a special focus on frequency competition
Tasks: survey institutional literature, develop model, carry out comparative-static analysis, carry out welfare analysis, analyze provision of excess capacity

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: No prior UCTC research
Potential Benefits: improved conceptual understanding of the nature of competition among providers of freight services
Total Direct Cost: $67,095

Forecasting with Dynamic Microsimulation: Design, Implementation, and Demonstration
Project Director:

Konstadinos Goulias
Geography Dept. 5706 Ellison Hall
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-6230
Phone: 805-284-1597
Fax: 805-893-3146
Email: [email protected]

In this project we will develop a new travel demand forecasting system that integrates demographic microsimulation with urban simulation and travel demand model systems. The basic ingredients of this new model system are: a) a dynamic demographic simulator designed and tested with repeated observations of the same individuals in another context that will be transferred to a case study in Santa Barbara, CA; b) a modified version of the recently finalized Urbansim model that will also be calibrated with data from Santa Barbara, CA; and c) travel demand models that account for intra-household interactions and path based accessibility that were estimated with data from California. The model system is unique because it combines within a day and across years human behavior dynamics and it will push the frontier of modeling and simulation one step further. A demonstration of the new systems forecasting capabilities will be offered using data from Santa Barbara, CA.

Key Words: Microsimulation, Demographic Forecasting, Travel behavior, UrbanSim

Research Objective: Identify the barriers in integrating complex simulation models and eliminate them by offering a demonstration of problems and solutions.

Tasks (brief listing): Task 1 Develop UrbanSim Application; Task 2 Develop Synthetic Population; Task 3 Finalize Activity Models; Task 4 Produce Future Scenarios.

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: No prior UCTC research

Potential Benefits: Enhanced capability to predict the future and build scenarios of change for MPOs and state agencies.

Total Direct Cost: $79,802

Can Technology Make Us Greener Drivers? An investigation of the potential benefits of ACC and IVC
Project Director:

Wenlong Jin, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering
Institute of Transportation Studies
4038 AIR Building
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone (949) 824-1672 Fax: (949) 824-8385
E-mail: [email protected]

Other Academic Participant (Co-PI):
Jean-Daniel Saphores, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
Institute of Transportation Studies
4028 AIR Building
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone: (949) 824-7334 Fax: (949) 824-8385
E-mail: [email protected]

The transportation sector accounts for nearly one third of the US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Green and Shafer, 2003), and until recently, its emissions have kept on increasing. Transportation is also producing a large percentage of local pollutants such as PM, NO2, or CO. Much-discussed solutions to address this problem include raising efficiency standards, blending low-carbon fuels with gasoline, or changing land-use patterns through urban design and planning. Another possibility, which has not attracted much attention so far, is to rely on new technologies such as adaptive cruise control (ACC) and inter-vehicle communications (IVC) to improve traffic flow and vehicle fuel economy while reducing the emissions of various pollutants. The purpose of this project is to address this knowledge gap. Using micro-simulation, we will investigate the impact on highway capacity and vehicle emissions when a subset of vehicles are equipped with ACC and IVC technologies, with an application to a section of the I-80. We will then develop driving strategies to maximize energy efficiency of vehicles equipped with IVC and ACC. Quantifying the environmental benefits of these new technologies is important to understand if new technologies like ACC and IVC could contribute significantly to greening transportation.

Key Words: Microsimulation; Inter-Vehicle Communications; Adaptive Cruise Control; Air Pollution; Fuel Use; Greenhouse Gases.

Research Objective: The objective of this research is to explore the potential environmental benefits (on the emissions of various criteria, PM, NO2, and CO, and on greenhouse gases) of inter-vehicle communication and adaptive cruise control via microsimulation after incorporating IVC and ICC into a suitable car-following models.

1. Evaluate highway capacity and emissions for the I-80 study area
2. Set up a simulation platform of traffic flow and ACC/IVC technologies
3. Assess the impacts of ACC and IVC on highway capacity and emissions
4. Develop green driving strategies based on ACC and IVC
5. Discuss impacts on ACC and IVC technologies and policies
6. Write final Summary report and academic papers

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: No prior UCTC research

Potential Benefits: The expected benefits include new capabilities for modeling traffic and the resulting air pollution when a subset of vehicles are equipped with ACC and IVC technologies, as well as new insights into strategies and policies that could be used to mitigate the air pollution impacts of traffic.

Total Direct Cost: $114,425

Measuring Multimodal Transport Level of Service

Project Director: Adib Kanafani
Civil & Environmental Engineering
112 McLaughlin Hall #1720
Berkeley 94720-1720
Tel. 510-642-0367
Fax: 510-642-5687
[email protected]


Key Words: Transportation Planning. Regional Transportation. Multimodal Transportation. Level of Service

Research Objectives: Develop a framework and metrics for measuring the level of service in multimodal transportation. Defining Strategies for better intermodal transportation at the regional level.


Literature Search
Re-defining the performance characteristics of highway, rail and air at the regional level
Integrating measures of performance at the multimodal level
Analytical framework for evaluating multimodal transportation using defined measures of performance
Policy Recommendations
Relationship to Other UCTC Research: An extension of current research on inter-modal integration.

Potential benefits: Providing a framework for the evaluation of investments in multimodal transportation systems.

Formulating and Applying Models for Planning and Designing Integrated Public Transit

Project Director(S):
Michael Cassidy & Samer Madanat
Civil & Environmental Engineering
416C & 110 McLaughlin Hall, Berkeley Campus
Phone: (510) 642-7702 / (510) 642-1246
Fax: (510) 643-1084 / (510) 643-3955
E-mail [email protected] / [email protected]

Other Key Academic Participants:
Yuwei Li (Researcher), Wei-Hua Gu (GSR) & Karthik Sivakumaran (GSR)
Institute of Transportation Studies
416 McLaughlin Hall, Berkeley Campus
Phone / Fax: [(510) 643-2930], [(510) 642-9907] & [(510) 642-9907]
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected] & [email protected]

The proposed research will i) formulate continuum models for the planning and design of integrated public transit systems that better synchronize passenger transfers (between trunk and feeder lines), and that better coordinate the delivery of differentiated (local and express) services; and ii) use the insights garnered from these models to develop improved guidelines for transit system design. In their current forms, continuum models used for transit design tend to over-simplify key features of integrated transit. Our preliminary work, however, shows that with suitable enhancements, these models can unveil new insights into how inputs (e.g. passenger demand for travel) affect decision variables (e.g. service frequency and network structure). Since these insights can significantly influence the choices made when designing a transit system, we will exploit them in developing improved design guidelines for use by transit agencies.

Key Words: Planning, Public Transportation, Design, Transit Service, Continuum Approximation.

Research Objective: The proposed research will formulate and apply models for the planning and design of integrated public transit systems that better synchronize passenger transfers (between trunk and feeder lines), and that better coordinate the delivery of differentiated (local and express) services.

1: Literature Review;
2: Further Model Development;
3: Simulation Tests;
4: Development of Design Guidelines;
5: Documentation of Findings.

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New Project
Potential Benefits: The proposed research will help to realize more integrated transit systems that can better compete with other modes for greater market share.

Total Direct Cost: $129,645

Evaluation of Traffic Safety in Sprawl and Urban Growth in California Metropolitan Areas

Project Director
David Ragland, Director
UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center
2614 Dwight Way, #7374
Berkeley, CA 94702-7374
Phone: (510) 642-0655 Fax: (510) 643-9922
E-mail: [email protected]

Urban sprawl has recently been considered as a major contributing factor to traffic fatalities and injuries. Recent findings regarding the impact of urban sprawl on traffic safety suggested that urban sprawl was directly related to traffic fatalities. However, the studies were conducted on a large scale and focused on the relationship between limited attributes of urban sprawl and traffic fatalities. Therefore, the relationship between diverse attributes of built environments and different types of crashes are not entirely explained or quantified. From this research we will 1) complete a descriptive analysis on the relationship between urban growth and the evolution of traffic safety in both cross-sectional and time-series using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and 2) quantify the impacts specific factors of urban growth have on collision rates using Geographical Weighted Regression (GWR). Finally, the proposed research is expected to yield (1) an enhanced understanding of how urban growth patterns affect traffic safety while controlling for other influential factors; (2) quantification of the impacts of attributes in urban growth patterns on traffic safety; and (3) insights into what types of planning and policy solutions might best be effective for reduction in traffic fatalities and injuries.

Key Words: Urban growth, sprawl, traffic crashes, built environment, GIS, GWR

Research Objective: Investigate the relationship between urban growth patterns and traffic crashes.

Literature Review; Data Collection and GIS Analysis; Variable Selection; Statistical Modeling (Geographic Weighted Regression); Summary of Findings and Implications for Traffic Safety Policy;

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New project.

Potential Benefits: We expect that the results can help guide future research concerning the relationship between urban planning and traffic safety.

Total Direct Cost: $57,923

An Activity-Based Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) on Energy and Emissions Using One-Day Travel Data

Project Director:
Will Recker, Professor,
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Institute of Transportation Studies
Irvine, CA 92697-3600
(949) 824-5642 / fax: (949) 824-8385, [email protected]

Abstract: With the success of Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) in the automobile market, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) are emerging as the next evolution of this attractive alternative. PHEV market penetration is expected to lead to lower gasoline consumption and less emission. The main objective of this project is to assess PHEVs’ emission reduction and energy profile impacts based on simulation of vehicles used in activity and travel patterns drawn from the 2000-2001 California Statewide Household Travel Survey. Simulations replicating reported continuous one day data will be used to generate realistic emissions and energy impact assessment of PHEV market penetration. A secondary objective is to estimate the decreased gasoline consumption and increased electricity demand in California. This will involve testing various electric pricing strategies designed to mitigate the recharging demands placed on the grid during periods of peak consumption. This assessment of emission and energy requirements of PHEVs will provide a benchmark that will assist in determining the impacts of future PHEV penetration into the automobile market. Specifically, the study will provide an upper bound on the potential demand on the existing grid, as well as categorize expected energy and emissions impacts by time of day and source.

Key Words: energy, emissions, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, activity-base analysis

Research Objective: The main objective of this project is to assess PHEVs’ emission reduction and energy profile impacts on the transportation sector.

1: Analyze each vehicle’s activity and travel patterns from the California Statewide Travel Survey. Derive three dimensional vehicle paths (two-dimensional space plus time).
2: Under network routing choice and driving behavior assumptions, several scenarios will be set. Optimal and conservative scenarios will generate boundary emission/energy consumption estimates.
3: Each vehicle with reported activity/travel patterns will be simulated for each scenario. Existing micro-level vehicle operational emissions model (CMEM) will be integrated into activity-based simulation at this stage.
4: Assess overall emission and energy profile based on reported vehicle usage patterns.
5: Integrate microscopic PHEV emissions/power simulator into activity-based simulation.
6: Assess overall emission and energy profile based on PHEV vehicle usage patterns.
7: Evaluate impact of grid pricing strategies on PHEV charging schedules.

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New Project

Potential Benefits: This assessment of emission and energy requirements of PHEVs will provide a benchmark that will assist in determining the impacts of future PHEV penetration into the automobile market.

Total Direct Cost: $54,382

Mitigating the Air Quality Impacts of San Pedro Bay Port Drayage Truck Operations on Arterials

Project Director:
Stephen G. Ritchie, Professor of Civil Engineering
Institute of Transportation Studies
4000 AIR Building
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone / Fax: (949) 824-4214/Fax: (949) 824-8385
E-mail: [email protected]

Other Key Academic Participants (Co-PIs):
R. Jayakrishnan, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
Phone / Fax: (949) 824-4214/Fax: (949) 824-8385
E-mail: [email protected]
Jean-Daniel Saphores, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
Phone / Fax: (949) 824-7334/Fax: (949) 824-8385
E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract: The San Pedro Bay Ports (SPBP) of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California comprise one of the largest and busiest container port complexes in the world, and contribute significantly to both our regional and national economies. However, the SPBP complex is a major contributor to air pollution. Local communities adjacent to the ports and associated intermodal facilities are believed to bear a disproportionate burden of the health impacts (respiratory and cardiovascular illness, and premature death) associated with this pollution. A particular concern is emissions from heavy duty diesel vehicles (HDDVs), or drayage trucks, which form an unusually large proportion of vehicles on nearby freeways and arterials and which carry port cargo (mostly containers) to and from the ports and intermodal rail and transloading facilities. Our existing UCTC research has developed a new modeling approach to evaluate the health and environmental justice impacts of various SPBP freight corridor operations and pollution mitigation strategies. However, our modeling of HDDVs only addresses the freeway network. This research will therefore complete a major missing link by modeling HDDV drayage truck operations on arterial roads, thereby providing new and more accurate insights into the emission impacts of alternative multimodal SPBP freight corridor operations.

Key Words: Traffic simulation; arterial; drayage truck; port; air pollution; scenario analysis.

Research Objective: This objective of this research is to develop a capability to model the air quality impacts of drayage truck operations on arterial roads adjacent to the San Pedro Bay Ports.

Tasks: build simulation network; compile traffic count data; define scenarios and mitigation strategies; run simulations; generate emissions; dispersion modeling for arterials, freeways and rail; public health impacts and environmental justice implications; data fusion framework for future real-time OD estimation; write report and journal papers

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New Project

Potential Benefits:By extending and completing our existing UCTC research, new and more accurate insights into the emission impacts of alternative multimodal San Pedro Bay Port freight corridor operations and mitigation strategies will be obtained.

Total Direct Cost: $150,623

Incorporating Vehicular Emissions into an Efficient Mesoscopic Traffic Model - An Application to Southern California

Project Director:
Jean-Daniel Saphores, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
Institute of Transportation Studies
4028 AIR Building
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone / Fax: (949) 824-7334/Fax: (949) 824-8385
E-mail: [email protected]

Other Academic Participants (Co-PIs):
Wenlong Jin, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering
Institute of Transportation Studies
4038 AIR Building
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone / Fax: (949) 824-1672/Fax: (949) 824-8385
E-mail: [email protected]

Stephen G. Ritchie, Professor of Civil Engineering
Institute of Transportation Studies
4000 AIR Building
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone / Fax: (949) 824-4214/Fax: (949) 824-8385
E-mail: [email protected]

With the increasing public understanding of the health impacts of air pollution from motor vehicle operation, policy makers need better tools for analyzing the effectiveness of regional policies designed to reduce air pollution. Indeed, the four-step process, which is the current state-of-the-practice in transportation modeling, is inadequate for this task, and micro-simulation, while promising, is very time consuming. We therefore propose to incorporate vehicular emissions into a dynamic mesoscopic traffic model to create a tool that will generate information about traffic flow, vehicle speeds, and emissions of CO2 and various criteria pollutants (PM10, NO2, and CO) on large scale networks. This tool will help evaluate the effectiveness of various policies, such as mandating a certain concentration of biofuels in gasoline or diesel, promoting hybrid electric vehicles (cars or trucks), or replacing older trucks with cleaner ones as is currently done for the San Pedro Bay Ports drayage trucks. In addition, our application to the road network linking the SPBP to the Inland Empire via downtown Los Angeles will provide new insights into various policies that could relieve the dual burdens of congestion and air pollution from communities affected by freight transportation to and from the SPBP.

Key Words: Mesoscopic model; air pollution; freight; scenario analysis.

Research Objective:
The objective of this research is to incorporate vehicular emissions into a dynamic mesoscopic traffic model to create a tool that will generate information about traffic flow, vehicle speeds, and emissions of CO2 and various criteria pollutants (PM10, NO2, and CO) on large scale networks with a case study analyzing traffic between the San Pedro Bay Ports, downtown Los Angeles, and San Bernardino.


Assemble relevant data and code dynamic mesoscopic traffic model for the Alameda corridor area
Collect relevant data for the I-10, I-210 and the CA 60.
Compare results from dynamic mesoscopic traffic model for the Alameda corridor with microsimulation results
Model the dispersion of selected criteria pollutants
Select and simulate scenarios for mitigating emissions in the extended study area
Write final Summary report and academic papers
Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New Project

Potential Benefits: The expected benefits include new capabilities for modeling traffic, the resulting air pollution at the regional level and greenhouse gases, as well as new insights into strategies that could be used to mitigate the air pollution impacts of traffic between the San Pedro Bay Ports and the Inland Empire.

Total Direct Cost: $130,957.

How much do highway dedication laws tax housing to subsidize driving?

Project Director: Donald Shoup
Institute of Transportation Studies
School of Public Affairs
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
Phone: (310) 825-5705
E-mail: [email protected]

Highway dedication laws are an important but understudied link between transportation and land use. By requiring developers to widen streets before they can build new housing, these laws increase the costs of housing construction and decrease the costs of driving. Moreover, unlike similar zoning laws that favor cars at the expense of homes, such as parking requirements, the mobility benefits of highway dedication ordinances may be almost completely illusory. I will describe and explain highway dedication ordinances, and then use data from Los Angeles to quantify their impacts on housing development and driving. The research should have implications for efforts to reduce overall vehicle miles traveled; for plans to better integrate transportation and land use goals; and for attempts to create accessible and vibrant communities in dense center-city areas.

Key Words: Highway dedication laws, subsidies, regulation, housing prices, vehicle miles traveled

Research Objective: The goal is to explain highway dedication ordinances, and then develop estimates of their impact on housing prices and driving behavior.

Tasks: The research proceeds in three steps. First, I will survey local governments in Southern California to assess the prevalence of highway dedication laws. Second, I will conduct a more in-depth examination of the history and use of the Los Angeles ordinance. This will involve conversations with city officials, developers, and other land use professionals (such as the consultants that developers regularly hire to help them navigate LA’s regulatory approval process). These conversations should also help me understand the institutional incentives that have allowed the law to persist for so long. In the final step of the research I will gather data on specific dedications in Los Angeles. Because the city does not keep records of where it has asked developers to widen roads, I will gather this information primarily through conversations with developers. Once I have identified a number of dedications, I will try to estimate their costs. I will also make site visits to these parcels to see if and how the widened road is influencing traffic patterns.

Potential Benefits: The research will enable planners and elected officials to estimate the transportation and land use benefits of highway dedication ordinances, and to help local governments reduce vehicle miles traveled, improve housing affordability, and make neighborhoods more pleasant for walking.
Total Direct Cost: $60,686

The Presentation of Self in Everyday [Transit] Life: An Ethnographic Study of Public Transit Culture and Behavior in Los Angeles

Project Director: Brian D. Taylor,
Professor of Urban Planning UCLA Department of Urban Planning
Director, Institute of Transportation Studies
3250 Public Policy Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
Telephone: (310) 903-3228
Fax: (310) 206-5566
Email: [email protected]
Other Participants: Camille Fink
Graduate Student Researcher
UCLA Department of Urban Planning
3250 Public Policy Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
Telephone: (310) 625-4647
Fax: (310) 206-5566
Email: [email protected]

Abstract: This research project uses ethnographic fieldwork methods to document and understand the patterns of culture and behavior on public transit. Specifically, this study will compare the ways in which people behave and interact on various transit modes in Los Angeles, and the relationships between this observed behavior and broader societal contexts and phenomena. Initial fieldwork on two bus lines in Los Angeles reveals that life on buses involves a myriad of complex social and interpersonal interactions that significantly shape the transit riding experience. The findings show that the number of disruptions and the maintenance of social order on two different lines, a local bus and a newer bus rapid transit (BRT) line, are very different. This research introduces the idea of “experiential reliability” – or the consistency of experience – as a possibly significant factor in shaping the mode and route choices of riders. This work suggests that bus spaces are rich, informative, and largely overlooked sites of social and public life, and that the experiential aspects of bus riding have important implications for transportation planning and travel behavior analysis. The proposed project will expand on this exploratory work through additional ethnographic fieldwork and unstructured, informal interviews with riders and drivers on other bus lines and transit modes in the Los Angeles area.

Key Words: Ethnography, transit environments, travel behavior

Research Objective: This research project will use ethnographic data gathering methods to document and analyze the behavior and culture of various transit spaces and their effect on the perceptions and use of public transit.

Tasks: Literature review, ethnographic fieldwork, analysis of fieldwork data, unstructured interviews, analysis of interviews, production of deliverables

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New Project

Potential Benefits: This research will provide new insight into transit environments, the ways in which people interact both with each other and their physical surroundings in these spaces, and the implications for transit system design and management in order to retain and attract riders.

Total Direct Cost: $ 51,608

CAL-Sentry: Computational Framework and Algorithms for Live Video-Sensor Stream Assimilation and Analysis for Congestion, Emission and Safety Studies

Project Director:
Mohan M. Trivedi
Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director, Laboratory for Intelligent and Safe Automobiles
University of California at San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla CA 92093-0434.
Phone: 858 822 0050
E-mail: [email protected]

Emissions studies, congestion studies and safety/security related studies have identified vehicle detection and tracking, traffic flow characterization, vehicle activity detection, vehicle type classification and criticality assessment as highly relevant information for higher level understanding of transportation related issues. In this research we propose the development and experimental evaluation of efficient computer vision, machine learning, and multi sensory fusion algorithms to extract such needed information using a large network of video cameras installed in and around campus. The capabilities of existing sensors and traditional techniques, e.g. inductive loops, will be augmented by information obtained from video sensors and will be integrated in a hierarchical fusion framework with contextual information, such as GPS and GIS, to provide real-time fleet composition, vehicle activity information, and site analysis while overcoming individual modality shortcomings. By incorporating varied sensing and information sources, the overall robustness of transportation analyses will be directly impacted to improve highway efficiency through evaluation of congestion events such as bottlenecks and collisions, provide more complete environmental emissions studies, knowledge of infrastructure load, design of operational control strategies, and improve general road safety with early incident detection for better response. The proposed research will result in the development of the “CAL-Sentry” system including a collection of algorithms for real-time video analysis and hierarchical information assimilation which should be general enough for duplication at other sites in the state and can be expanded to provide additional functionalities in the future.

Key Words: Real-time machine vision and multisensory analysis, Statistical learning and Bayesian decision theory, Traffic flow analysis, vehicle activity analysis, congestion-emission analysis, Active safety, intelligent transportation

Research Objective: The overall goal of the proposed research is to develop and evaluate a computational framework and associated algorithms for multisensory information analysis, specifically for transportation planning and management applications.


Robust video algorithms for object detection and tracking and traffic flow analysis including vehicle classification
Hierarchical fusion framework for sources such as video, magnetic sensors, inductive loops, GPS and GIS.
Incorporating CAL-Sentry output in Congestion and Emission studies
Incorporating Transportation safety in CAL-Sentry
Experimental evaluation in real-world test beds
Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New Project

Potential Benefits: The proposed research will result in a framework and a set of algorithms for real-time processing, analysis, and integration of multisensory data streams to help improve transportation analysis, highway efficiency, response times and overall performance. The proposed research recognizes that no one sensory modality can operate flawlessly over a wide variety of conditions which characterize the real-world. The research will be performed utilizing a powerful distributed video array infrastructure deployed over Interstate I-5 and on the UCSD campus which allows careful experimentation in the “real-world” environment.

Total Direct Costs: $123,900

Employing lessons from Behavioral Economics to Promote Sustainable Behaviors and Improve Travel Demand Models

Project Director:
Joan Walker, Assistant Professor
Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering (and Global Metropolitan Studies)
111 McLaughlin Hall
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1720
Phone / Fax: 510-642-6897
E-mail: [email protected]

Other Key Academic Participants:
Shachar Kariv, Associate Professor
Dept. Economics
505 Evans Hall
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
Phone / Fax: 510-643-0712,
E-mail: [email protected]

A major aspect of transportation planning is understanding behavior: how to predict it and how to influence it over the long term. Behavioral models in transportation are predominantly rooted in the classic microeconomic paradigm of rationality. However, there is a long history in behavioral economics of raising serious questions about rationality. Lessons from behavioral economics have made inroads in transportation, in particular in the areas of survey design, prospect theory, and attitudinal variables. Further infusion of behavioral economics into transportation could lead to significant benefits in terms of increased ability to both predict and influence behavior. The aim of this research is to investigate the transferability of findings in behavioral economics to transportation. The focus will be on lessons regarding personalized information and feedback and social influences, which are emphasized in the behavioral economics literature as key determinants of behavior. Experiments from behavioral economics will be replicated in the transport domain. Further, the experiments will be extended to determine (1) if the findings hold up under more realistic choice environments and (2) if the behaviors are sustained over longer periods of time. Finally, implications will be drawn for travel demand models and for transport strategies aimed at behavior modification.

Key Words: Behavioral economics, demand modeling, behavior modification

Research Objective: Transfer behavioral economics findings regarding social influences and personalized information and feedback to improve transport policy and models.

Tasks: (1) Design/run transport-centric behavioral economics experiments. (2) Extend to more complex situations and over longer periods of time. (3) Determine implications to transport.

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New Project (although continuing work on $12K new faculty startup grant from 2008/09)

Potential Benefits: More effective strategies aimed at behavior modification more accurate forecasts.

Total Direct Cost: $ 84,719

Determinants of Bicycle-Transit Integration in U.S. Cities

Project Director:
Rui Wang
UCLA Dept. Urban Planning
3250 Public Affairs Building
Box 951656
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Phone / Fax: 310-367-3738
E-mail: [email protected]

Using the new National Household Transportation Survey and its California add-on sample, the proposed study will quantitatively analyze the factors influencing travelers’ combined use of bicycle and public transit. The study mainly focuses on utilitarian rather than recreational demand for cycling to transit, with explicit considerations given to all stages of travel: residential collection, trunk line transportation and destination-end distribution. The results will help the policy makers to better know when, where, and how to promote bicycle-transit integration, and how such policies may be different from general policies encouraging the use of bicycle. It also provides basis for cost-effectiveness analysis of alternative policy measures to increase transit ridership in U.S. cities.

Key Words: Bicycle-transit integration, mode choice, National Household Transportation Survey, California

Research Objective: Understand factors influencing travelers’ combined use of bicycle and public transit in the U.S.

Tasks: literature review; data preparation; regression analyses.

Relationship to Other UCTC Research: New Project

Potential Benefits: contribute to increasing transit ridership and efficiency and bicycling through better bicycle-transit integration in U.S. cities.

Total Direct Cost: $62,343

UCTC 2009-2010 Dissertation Grant Abstracts (Fall 2009 and Spring 2010)

What’s Driving Transit Access? Modeling the Influence of Urban Form, Transport Supply & Pricing on Rapid Transit Access Mode Choice and GHG Emissions (Fall 2009)

Bruce Appleyard, AICP, PhD student, Department of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Because most suburban rail transit riders drive to their station, enticing even a small portion to nonmotorized modes presents significant opportunities to lower automobile dependence, greenhouse gas emissions, and reliance on foreign oil. This research develops methods to model and test key built environment, pricing, and supply factors influencing rapid transit access mode choice and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Utilizing data from over 25,000 respondents to the 1998 and 2008 Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Station Profile Studies, this research geo-codes the respondents' home origins, as well as their available paths to transit. The “high resolution” nature of this data captured over two time periods enables the creation of robust multinomial logit (MNL) models of transit access mode choice, evaluation of specific planning interventions (parking pricing), and the simulation of consumer responses to various policies.

Preliminary results suggest the following:

  • Increasing housing near transit may increase walking and cycling rates while decreasing driving rates;
  • Changes in price, convenience, and supply of station area parking may increase both the walk/bike transit access mode share and the distances people are willing to walk or bike.
  • Incorporating parcel-level data improves the ability to model the influence on transit access mode choice of keybuilt environment dimensions (density, land use, and the functional, as well as the previously
    elusive aesthetic measure of design).

Key words: Transportation, Travel Behavior, Urban Design, Land Use, Environment.

Impact of land use – transportation network interaction and its change over time (Fall 2009)

Gargi Chaudhuri, Doctoral Candidate,
Department of Geography, University of California Santa Barbara

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: This study proposes to establish and understand the relationship between land use change and transportation pattern. Land use change studies usually compare the landscape at different time periods and investigate the transitions and proportions of change among land use and cover classes. The transportation network, on the other hand, is one of the most important land use classes in an urban area and can channelizes urban growth. Thus the interaction between land use and transportation is an important issue for urbanization. The study will also help in understanding the influence of road network geometry on land use change. Different scenario analysis will be done to see how policy differences (e.g., across state boundaries) may impact land use change and transportation interaction over time that finally shapes the urban area. Thus the objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between the dynamics of transportation networks and land uses over time and to analyze the affects of political history on urban growth. The research also aims at solving issues of spatial data fusion over time and across boundaries. SLEUTH model will be used to simulate the transportation and policy impacts, and for experimentation with incorporating policy into cellular automata models.

Key words: Land use change, transportation network, integrated models, Policy, SLEUTH.

Research on High Accuracy GPS for VAA Applications (Fall 2009)

Anning Chen, Doctoral Candidate,
UC Riverside

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: In this proposal, we consider high-accuracy vehicle position determination in Vehicle Assist and Automation (VAA) applications realized through GPS aided INS or GPS aided encoder positioning systems. In these VAA applications, 10 centimeter positioning accuracy is usually required. This positioning accuracy can be achieved by navigation systems incorporating GPS. In order to achieve this high level of accuracy, a GPS approach would rely on differential carrier phase processing, which necessitates rapid and accurate on-the-fly carrier phase integer ambiguity resolution. In this proposal, we focus on issues arising from solving the integer ambiguity problems. specifically, we plan to address the following two issues: efficient methods for estimation of the integer ambiguities, and methods for validation of the estimated integers. For each problem, we first briefly review the current solutions, and then discuss the possible improvements that will be the focus of our future research.

Key words: Vehicle Assist and Automation, GPS, integer ambiguity resolution, integer ambiguity validation.

Data Delivery and Routing in Vehicular Networks for ITS Applications (Fall 2009)

Rex Chen, UC Irvine
Advisor: Amelia Regan

Communication in vehicular networks is an important component of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). A network-centric vehicle has the ability to deliver accurate and real-time transportation information. Such communications capabilities provide an opportunity to address fundamental problems related to transportation safety and efficiency as well as allowing us to tackle issues such as the feasibility of dynamic ride sharing. Dedicated short range communication sets the roadmap for an inter-connected vehicular network and is an enabler of inter-vehicle communications. This dissertation research addresses an underlying problem in vehicular networks, specifically the study and development of routing protocols for vehicle communications. We take a holistic view – placing the problem in the context of both transportation (traffic flow dynamics) and communication networks (routing algorithms) to design network routing protocols to meet the needs of emerging ITS applications. We believe this approach will translate to a message relay protocol that is optimal and scalable to meet the needs of road networks that are time sensitive coupled with high vehicle mobility. Furthermore, this research in network protocol design can facilitate transportation policies in Vehicle Infrastructure Integration, with recommendations on optimal locations to deploy road-side stations as part of the ITS architecture for the future.

Key words: inter-vehicle communications, intelligent transportation systems, dynamic ride sharing, routing protocols, network connectivity.

Towards Learning and Prediction of Driver Cognitive States and Intents for Active Safety (Fall 2009)

Anup Doshi, UC San Diego
Advisor: Mohan M. Trivedi

The focus of this research is on the challenges of using data from cameras focused on drivers to infer their cognitive states and intent. We propose several relevant research tasks including behavioral attention analysis and cue selection, data fusion, and model development. Ultimately we will arm an Intelligent Driver Assistance System with such information in order to improve decision making and safety. Specifically, the objective of this research is to build a holistic driver intent inference system by (1) observing and understanding the most reliable visible behaviors and environmental cues that indicate driver intentions, and (2) analyzing the interactive nature of a joint hierarchical learning-based model that combines multiple intent-based driver assistance systems. The advantage of including human intent information in assistive feedback is substantial. Policy decisions on future preventative safety measures will benefit from the outcomes of these studies on both driver behaviors and interactions with advanced assistance systems.

Key words: active safety, Human-centered driver assistance systems, machine learning, intent prediction, human-machine interfaces.

Behavior and Culture on Los Angeles Buses: The Social Life of a Mobile Public Space (Fall 2009)

Camille N.Y. Fink, UC Los Angeles
Advisor: Brian Taylor

This research project uses ethnographic fieldwork methods to document and understand the patterns of culture and behavior on buses in Los Angeles. Exploratory fieldwork on two bus lines in Los Angeles reveals that life on buses involves many complex social and interpersonal interactions that significantly shape the transit riding experience. The findings show that the number of disruptions and the maintenance of social order on the two lines, a local bus and a newer bus rapid transit (BRT) line, are very different. This dissertation project will build on the pilot study work by expanding the number of field sites in Los Angeles to two local and two Rapid routes and by broadening the research data to include additional observations, informal interviews with riders and drivers, locational information, and a review of demographic and ridership variables. The data analysis will involve developing a series of hypotheses related to disruptions, the maintenance of social order and rules of behavior, and geographic, spatial, and temporal patterns of behavior. This research also introduces the idea of “experiential reliability” – or the consistency of experience – as a possibly significant factor in shaping the mode and route choices of riders.

Key words: transit, ethnography, qualitative, travel behavior.

Allocation of Space and the Costs of Multimodal Transport in Cities (Fall 2009)

Eric J. Gonzales, Doctoral Candidate, UC Berkeley

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: This research is to develop a model of the costs of providing accessibility in cities of different structures. The approach is to relate the user costs and the full social costs of different modes to the key physical characteristics of the cities they serve. Using new models with realistic physics of urban traffic, including the macroscopic fundamental diagram (MFD) which describes the dynamics of traffic congestion at the network level, this new approach accounts for the road space required for transportation systems to serve trips. The result is a generic model relating different types of costs of transportation (time, space, money, and external impacts) to the fundamental physical components (travel time, vehicle ownership and operation, and road space) a mode requires to serve trips. Analysis starts from a comparison of walking, bicycle, car, and bus transit in a flat, uniform, time-independent city, and then relaxes assumptions to consider time-dependent demand (cities with rush-hours) and heterogeneous demand (cities with diverse population).

The model provides general insights for how urban space should be allocated to different modes of transportation, and how they should be priced to reduce the total social costs of urban travel.

Key words: Allocation of Space, Costs of Transportation, Multimodal Urban
Transportation, Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram.

Models for Estimating Bus Stop Capacity (Spring 2010)

Weihua Gu, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley
Advisor: Michael Cassidy

Project Description: The research will develop queueing models that predict the maximum rates that buses can discharge from busy stops, since this is a key indicator of a bus system's overall service quality. The queueuing models will estimate bus-stop capacities for a wide range of operating environments, bus-stop geometries, and input factors. In cases where analytical solutions are not possible, numerical approximations and computer simulations will be used as substitutes. The current literature on the subject is highly incomplete. We therefore expect that the proposed work will unveil key cause and effect relations, and we have recently made good progress in this regard. Ultimately, the models will aid transit agencies: when determining a suitable number of bus berths for a stop; or its ideal location relative to nearby traffic signals; or even when selecting policies for controlling the buses that use a particular stop.

Key words: Bus stop capacity; bus stop queueuing.

Travel Determinants and Multi-scale Transferability of National Activity Patterns to Create Activity Schedules for Synthetic Populations (Fall 2009)

Kriste Henson, UC Santa Barbara
Advisor: Konstadinos Goulias

Homeland security applications require fine modeling and simulation resolution in time and space to represent human activity and travel behavior. The TRansporation ANalysis SIMulation System (TRANSIMS-LANL), an activity-based transportation modeling system, has the ability to simulate the movements of individuals around a network on a second-by-second basis between parcel-level locations. At the core of TRANSIMS-LANL are “synthetic” schedules which are formulated based on activity/travel diaries. In order to model cities or large regions in a timely manner, a new methodology is proposed that will allow a person’s activity patterns to be “transferred” to another person living in a different geographic location. A Structural Equations Model (SEM) will be developed based on sociodemographic information for survey households in the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) and land use, land form, and accessibility measures gathered from several sources of national-level geographic data including Navteq Navstreets and Dunn & Bradstreet business data. The SEM will be used to define lifestyle groupings to describe the NHTS survey households. A synthetic population can be classified based on these lifestyle groupings and matched to survey households utilizing a multiple imputation model. The synthetic household will assume the activity schedule of the corresponding survey household.

Key words: TRANSIMS, modeling, travel diaries, synthetic household.

An Analysis of the Impact of an Incident Management System on Secondary Incidents on Freeways - An Application to the I-5 in California (Spring 2010)

Lima Koptitch, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Irvine
Advisor: Jean-Daniel Saphores

Project Description: Accidents are the largest source of external costs related to transportation with an estimated annual cost that exceeds $200 billion in the United States alone. Accidents lead to traffic backups that can result in secondary accidents. The purpose of this project is to investigate empirically whether the implementation of Changeable Message Signs (CMS), which belong to Intelligent Transportation System tools, can reduce secondary collisions by providing motorists with real-time traffic information. I will first review previously published methods of estimating secondary accidents to clarify the definition of secondary accidents and offer improvements. I will then study a 74-mile portion of Interstate 5 from the Mexico-US border to Orange County, CA that has 12 CMS, 3 of which are in southbound direction. This freeway has 4 to 6 lanes in each direction, and a maximum AADT volume of 230,000 vehicles. For this study area, I put together a unique dataset that includes accident data for year 2008 combined with detailed weather data. I will rely on counting and regression models to estimate the number of secondary incidents based on the number of primary accidents, weather conditions, time of day, traffic conditions and the availability of information.

Key Words: Accidents; secondary accidents; incident management; intelligent transportation system; changeable message signs.

Assessing the Impacts of Truck Traffic on Residential Property Values – A Southern California Case Study (Fall 2009)

Wei Li, Doctoral Candidate,
UC Irvine

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: With a 70% share of the nation’s freight pool, trucking is the dominant mode of freight transportation today. Assessing the external effects associated with truck traffic has become increasingly important in recent years as policy makers, transportation planners and scholars have grappled with increasing traffic congestion, pollution and budget constraints confronting the nation’s major metropolitan areas. For my dissertation, I will use hedonic models to investigate whether the volume of heavy truck traffic impacts neighboring property values, with an application to both single family and multifamily markets. My study site will be the Alameda Corridor in Los Angeles County. I will combine detailed GIS analysis with fixed-effects and spatial regression models in order to obtain unbiased estimates of model coefficients to test the hypothesis that the volume but also the nature of traffic matter; this latter aspect appears to have been ignored so far in hedonic studies applied to transportation. This work will likely have important implications for U.S. surface transportation policy, as negative externalities linked to trucking need to be quantified to investigate environmental justice issues and make informed decisions about road infrastructure expansion, sound barriers construction, and truck traffic management.

Key words: Truck traffic, transport emissions, valuation, negative externalities, hedonic pricing models, spatial econometrics, environmental justice, GIS.

Transit-Oriented Global Centers for Competitiveness and Sustainability: Investigating contemporary capital improvement and urban regeneration in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore (Fall 2009)

Jin Murakami, UC Berkeley
Advisor: Robert Cervero

Urbanization has increasingly been polarized in the global economy. Special information and decision making have been highly concentrated in the centers of global cities, while assemble lines, wholesale inventories, and customer services have been placed in the suburban locations of cities. One explanation for postindustrial agglomeration in the global centers is the need for face-to-face interactions and knowledge spillovers. In response to this urbanization pattern, contemporary transportation planning has emphasized the quality of built environments in the global centers as the profile of a competitive city because high-profile firms and skilled labors tend to be attracted to well-designed urban places. Especially East Asian city-states have promoted “transit-oriented capital improvement projects” in their old central business districts, and the increased demands for the central locations of the global cities have led to “urban regeneration phenomena”. Yet, existing studies have provided little evidence on the relationships between state interventions and market responses in the context of globalization. This doctoral research attempts to: (1) illustrate the functional features of transit-oriented capital improvement projects in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore; (2) examine the spatial impacts of transit-oriented capital improvements on knowledge-based firms and labor markets; and (3) compare the empirical evidence derived from the East Asian transit-oriented developments to the recent transportation planning practice and experience in the United States.

Key words: transit-oriented development, urban regeneration, competitiveness and sustainability, global city.

Strategic Elements of Route Choice for Next Generation Digital Navigation Systems

Thomas James Pingel, UC Santa Barbara
Advisor: Keith Clarke

While digital navigation assistants are becoming increasingly commonplace in vehicles and as components in personal digital assistants and cellular telephones, the routes produced by such systems are often inadequate. Better routes could be produced by intelligently gathering information about users’ preferences and travel strategies from objective information and expressed criteria. This dissertation provides a model for how such information could be integrated into personal navigation software. The model is built on four elements. First, a classification structure for strategy was developed based on the psychology of decision making, advances in behavioral game theory, and existing research on wayfinding within the field of behavioral geography. Second, strategic thinking in the route choice domain was related to strategic thinking about other types of problems. Third, two types of route choice experiments were devised to test different aspects of route planning. Finally, an in-depth interview process conducted after each experiment provided data that allowed the comparison of stated preferences to the more objective data gathered during the experiments. Taken together, the dissertation provides a detailed analysis of the strategic thinking of individuals during route planning and provides a basis for the future analysis of route planning in other contexts.

Key words: wayfinding, navigation, location based services, personal digital assistants, route choice, path finding.

The Synergy of Transportation, Social, and Data Networks (Spring 2010)

Edward Pultar, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Geography, UC Santa Barbara
Advisor: Martin Raubal

Project Description: This research examines travel behavior using Internet-based websites that provide free lodging with local inhabitants. Users of such systems utilize an amalgamation of transportation networks, social networks, and communication networks. This research focuses on how the geographical spread of people in a modern Internet-based social network influences the U.S. surface transportation travel choices of each individual in the network. This new subfield of travel will lead to transformative research on modern travel methodologies. This is partly because users are able to make more dynamic, mid-trip decisions due to the ubiquitous availability of the Internet. Also, the inclusion of reference systems and community message boards caters to highly flexible travel decisions. Broader impacts include a means for modern travelers to examine interaction and to facilitate trip planning. There is a need for understanding travel behavior for long distance travel combined with the use of information from a social network. Therefore this project will be a leading indicator of travel decision making of the future. Upon completion of this research innovative contributions will be made for:

  • Cost and time budgets
  • Location choice Destination and
  • travel information using telecommunications and word of mouth in a social network.

Key Words: Social data networks; spatio-temporal time geography; travel behavior.

Understanding Mode Choice Decisions: Neighborhood Characteristics and Trip Chaining (Spring 2010)

Robert J. Schneider, Doctoral Candidate, Department of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
Advisor: Robert B. Cervero

Project Description: Over the past two decades, many United States communities have established policies to reduce private automobile use and increase the proportion of travel done by walking and bicycling. While some local strategies have resulted in more walking and bicycling in specific neighborhoods and for particular groups of people, broad modal shifts have not occurred. The private motor vehicle is the most common transportation mode used in every metropolitan region in the United States.

The study will use a mixed-methods approach to explore how people make mode choice decisions. It will focus on the influence of neighborhood characteristics (land use, crash risk, crime risk, and aesthetics) and trip-chaining patterns (convenience) on mode choice. Quantitative data will be gathered from a survey of approximately 1,000 customers at Walgreens retail pharmacy stores in 20 San Francisco Bay Area neighborhoods. Qualitative interviews will be done to develop a richer understanding of how individual attitudes, family responsibilities, and time constraints influence people's mode choices for shopping trips. Results will provide new methods to quantify multimodal travel, identify specific neighborhood and site characteristics that are associated with walking and bicycling, and suggest strategies to increase pedestrian and bicycle use for routine neighborhood travel.

Key Words: Sustainability; multimodal transportation; neighborhood design; trip-chaining; mode choice.

Immigrant Ethnic Neighborhoods, Neighborhood Inward Focus, and Travel Mode Choice (Spring 2010)

Michael Smart, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Urban Planning, UC Los Angeles
Advisor: Evelyn Blumenberg

Project Description:Scholars have found that immigrants living in concentrated ethnic neighborhoods exhibit significantly "greener" travel patterns than the native-born, even after controlling for income, automobile availability, and the like. However, these studies have not differentiated ethnic neighborhood types, though the broader literature suggests considerable diversity in spatial and economic patterns within and across these neighborhoods. This dissertation seeks to tie together these literatures by explicitly modeling one aspect hypothesized to differentiate ethnic neighborhoods: the co-ethnic boundedness, or inward focus, of these neighborhoods. I hypothesize that this inward focus helps to explain the increased propensity of residents of ethnic neighborhoods to use alternative modes of transportation, such as public transportation, walking, and bicycling. Using previously unused microdata and a nested logit mode choice model, I first seek to validate prior findings on the independent effect of ethnic neighborhoods on mode choice. Next, focusing on the Los Angeles region, I differentiate these neighborhoods by the degree to which jobs and workers are co-bounded within the ethnic neighborhood, developing new measures to describe the degree to which ethnic economies function within a highly localized geographic area. Finally, I use these two measures to help determine the independent effects of neighborhood on travel mode choice.

Key Words: Immigration; neighborhood type; mode choice; ethnic economies.