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UCTC 2008-2009 Student of the Year

Doug Houston, who received his PhD in urban planning from UCLA, was named UCTC's 2008-2009 Student of the Year.

His research focuses on the near-roadway air pollution impacts of goods movement and transportation corridors and builds on field and health studies which indicate that vehicle exhaust, especially diesel truck exhaust, and associated health effects are highly concentrated immediately downwind of major roadways.

His dissertation draws from original heavy duty container truck counts in communities near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to document the temporal and spatial distribution of diesel truck traffic on surface streets in adjacent communities.

Container traffic through the port complex has tripled in the last 15 years, and has resulted in substantial volumes of container truck traffic near sensitive uses including residences, childcare centers, and schools.

Results raise serious public health concerns since new emission and fuel standards for on-road heavy duty diesel trucks could have a limited near-term impact on near-roadway concentrations of diesel exhaust since the turnover of the diesel fleet could take 30 years.

Houston’s research supports the transportation and infrastructure planning process by enhancing tools for identifying the land use and public health impacts of the goods movement sector.

Houston received his Bachelors degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his Masters degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his PhD in Urban Planning at the UCLA School of Public Affairs in September 2008, and took a position as a postdoctoral fellow in the UCLA School of Public Health. In the fall of 2009, he joined the faculty at UC Irvine in the Department of Planning, Policy and Design. He was one of two new UCTC faculty affiliates for 2009.