Friday Transportation Seminar: Case Studies of Travel Demand Analysis on Transport Disadvantaged Communities

FTS 2020 - Oct 30.png
Friday, October 30, 2020, 11:30am to 12:30pm PDT
Tierra Bills, Wayne State University
PDH: 1 | AICP: 1

We are committed to making decisions that promote the success and well-being of our campus community. Like an increasing number of universities nationwide, Portland State is taking steps to respond to the global pandemic. Until further notice, all live events hosted by TREC will be online only.

Friday Transportation Seminars at Portland State University have been a tradition since 2000. You can join us online at 11:30 AM.



Travel Demand Models are the backbone of decision-making for public transportation infrastructure investment. Yet, critiques of these models with respect to their usefulness  and performance for transport disadvantage communities are rare in the academic literature. These disadvantage communities may include  (but are not limited to) low income travelers, transit dependents, un/underemployed, and the elderly. With the objective of promoting travel demand models that are better equipped for assessing transportation impacts for disadvantaged communities, this presentation highlights lessons learned from two case studies of applying travel demand analysis to understand the transportation accessibility of low income, elderly, and transit dependent communities. The case studies take place in two Michigan cities,  Benton Harbor and Detroit.


  • Case study findings
  • The importance of advancing data collection and curation approaches
  • The importance of more carefully considering the ramifications of mis-specifying travel model structures, particularly for minority travel populations


Tierra Bills, Assistant Professor, Wayne State University

Dr. Tierra Bills is an Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Wayne State university. She has recently joined Wayne State (in Summer 2019) after spending 3 years as a Michigan Society Fellow and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. Prior to her fellowship at UMich, Dr. Bills worked as a Research Scientist at IBM Research Africa for 3 years, in Nairobi Kenya. Much of Dr. Bills’ current research focuses on investigating the social impacts of transportation projects. She develops activity-based travel-demand models to investigate individual and household-level transportation-equity effects, for the purpose of designing transportation systems that will provide more equitable returns to society. Her latest project aims to understand the potential for next generation transit systems to affect transportation equity outcomes. 


This 60-minute seminar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.


Photo by J2R/iStock

Sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly updates.

The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and professionals through education.