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steven spears
Steven Spears, of UC Irvine, Winner of the 2013-2014 UCTC Student of the Year Award

December 11, 2013—Steven Spears, of UC Irvine, has been named winner of the 2013-2014 UCTC Student of the Year, UCTC Director Robert Cervero announced.

"Steven Spears was selected as UCTC Student of the Year because of his accomplishments in academics and transportation research," Cervero noted.

He is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Planning, Policy & Design at UC Irvine. His current research focuses on understanding how attitudes, perceptions of the built environment, and habits affect mode choice and physical activity. For the past three years, he has collaborated on the Neighborhood Travel and Activity Study (NTAS), whose objective is to develop innovative longitudinal research methods for measuring neighborhood-level impacts of transportation policy and investment. Spears has used the study to develop and test a theoretical framework that relates psychosocial factors, demographics, and built environmental characteristics to travel behavior. He is the lead author on the first manuscript from the NTAS, which was recently published in Transportation Research – Part A, titled, "Illuminating the unseen in transit use: a framework for examining the effect of attitudes and perceptions on travel behavior."

Before undertaking graduate work in urban planning, Spears was involved with airborne atmospheric and earth science research at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and the University of North Dakota. His experience with field experiments measuring ice cover change and urban air pollution provided the impetus for his pursuit of an academic career in transportation planning.

Spears can be reached at [email protected].