Ebonie Kinney graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in August 2022 with a masters in social work. During her time at UTA, she worked as a graduate research assistant with faculty advisor Dr. Anne Nordberg on research to improve public transit and transportation access for people experiencing homelessness. Ebonie earned her BA in psychology from Baldwin Wallace University, and plans to become a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) working with vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

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My name is Ebonie Kinney and I recently graduated with my Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington with a concentration in Direct Practice with Children and Families. I am particularly passionate about advocating for marginalized and underserved populations. During my time at UTA, I served as a graduate research assistant; coauthoring a research publication that highlighted the healthcare disparities for persons of color in long-term care facilities. I also served as a graduate student leader in which I acted as a liaison on behalf of students; helping them navigate through the Master of Social Work program.

What (or who) has influenced...

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Transportation can have a significant impact on vulnerable ecologies, especially in rapidly urbanizing regions such as Dallas/Fort Worth. In order for future professionals to balance the needs of sensitive environments with the mobility of people and goods, they must have the proper tools – among other things, a good grounding in regional mapping technologies.

To introduce high school students to geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial reasoning skills, researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) developed a four-week training workshop in ArcGIS and other emerging regional mapping technologies. The workshop was incorporated into an existing high school course focused on the transportation network and environmental justice issues in the communities along the Trinity River. 

Led by the research team from UTA's College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (Joowon Im, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Alan Klein, Director at Institute of Urban Studies, Amruta Sakalker, Graduate Assistant in Planning), they partnered with CityLab High School in the Dallas Independent School District to pilot this workshop. The curriculum, which can be replicated for use by other teachers, introduces students...

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In order to make sure bicyclists' needs are considered when improving a transportation system, planners and engineers need to know how many people are biking, and where. 

Traditional bicycle counters can provide data for limited sections of the bike network, often these counters are installed at important locations like trails or bridges. While limited in location, they count everyone who bikes by. Meanwhile, GPS & mobile data cover the entire transportation network, but that data only represents those travelers who are using smartphones or GPS. Combining the traditional location-based data sources with this new, crowdsourced data could offer better accuracy than any could provide alone. 

"Knowing how many people are bicycling on a street is really important for a number of reasons. As just a few examples, bicycle volumes give you a way to understand safety data and determine crash rates. They provide insight into where and how bicycle trips are taking place, which can help plan for new or improved facilities," said Nathan McNeil of Portland State University.

Supported by a pooled fund grant administered by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), Dr. Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University led a research project aimed at fusing traditional and...

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NITC researchers Anne Nordberg, Jaya Davis, Stephen Mattingly, Sarah Leat and Mansi Patel of the University of Texas at Arlington have published two new journal articles related to their NITC project, Optimizing Housing and Service Locations to Provide Mobility to Meet the Mandated Obligations for Former Offenders to Improve Community Health and Safety. Read about the original study here, which focused on helping former offenders overcome transportation challenges to reintegrate into society.

The two articles, published in Mobilities and the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, disseminate the NITC study among different audiences and disciplines; highlighting the need to address transportation and complex social issues through more than one lens.

In the November 2021 issue of Mobilities, "Towards a Reentry Mobilities Assemblage: An Exploration of Transportation and Obligation Among Returning Citizens," the authors investigated the mobility needs of returning citizens from the perspective of service providers and employers in Dallas, Texas. They interviewed 17 participants who directly served returning citizens in their professional...

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Dr. Jandel Crutchfield and NITC scholar Erin Findley of the University of Texas at Arlington have published an article in the January 2022 issue of Child & Family Social Work: "Accessibility of transportation to child-welfare involved parents and the related impact on court-ordered service participation.

The article explores the impact of transportation access on child welfare-involved families' service participation. 

Families involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) face daunting steps to meet their service plan goals in the effort to achieve reunification with their children. Families who lack transportation access face additional barriers. This study explored Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, volunteers' perspectives of these barriers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine CASA volunteers, with questions regarding volunteers' experiences of transportation access for parents and children. Primary emphasis was placed on families' access to services. Three primary themes emerged in the data analysis:

  1. challenges are wide-ranging, exacerbated by transportation issues;
  2. transportation linked to court-ordered services success; and
  3. practical...
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Christine Highfill is a PhD student and graduate research assistant in social work at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). She retired as a military spouse in 2014. She has since earned her master's in social work from UTA in 2019, and a master's of arts in human services counseling with a focus on military resilience from Liberty University in 2016. Her primary research interests are social determinants of health and military-connected spousal abuse.

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My name is Christine Highfill. I’m a third-year social work doctoral student at the University of Texas at Arlington. My main research emphasis is social determinants of health across the lifespan; within that, I’m most interested in policy related to military-connected domestic abuse. Social work research is my second career. During most of my adult life I was a military spouse raising a large family during the Global War on Terror. I see my research as a way to give back to the Military and its families.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

I had not considered transportation as a research path until I began my graduate research assistantship with Dr. Noelle Fields. Although I have personally experienced latent transportation demand in the past...

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Imagine you've just been released from prison. You don't have a phone yet, or a car, but through your reentry service, you are set up for now with a place to stay. They also got you a job interview for next Monday, but it's across town. You also have mandatory mental health, medical health, and parole-related appointments to make it to this week, so right now— transportation is your biggest problem. You have three complementary bus tickets, and you need to figure out the best way to use them.

"I can't imagine trying to navigate my way through a city, tackle the bus system and find my way around without a smartphone - in a community that I haven't been in for ten, twenty, however many years," said Dr. Stephen Mattingly. 

That's the scenario facing roughly 2,000 former inmates who return to communities every day in the U.S. 

To help them to reintegrate into society, researchers Anne Nordberg, Jaya Davis and Stephen Mattingly of the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) leveraged funding from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) on ...

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The 101st annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is coming up January 9 - 13, 2022, and has returned to an in-person gathering in Washington, D.C. Supported by funding from the U.S. DOT, research from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities will be featured at this annual gathering.

Below we've rounded up some highlights of research being presented by transportation experts from our participating NITC-funded campuses: Portland State University (PSU), University of Oregon (UO), University of Utah (UU), University of Arizona (UA), and University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Please check out our full NITC guide for all of the sessions:

*Due to the evolving status of speaker attendance and TRB programming for next week, please check your TRB schedule for the most current information in the event...

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As we get older, transportation provides a vital link between home and community. Without reliable and easy ways to get around, many older adults (especially those who live alone) have limited access to essentials like groceries and medicine, let alone social interaction. A new report from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), Developing Strategies To Enhance Mobility And Accessibility For Community-Dwelling Older Adults, looked at the mobility challenges, barriers, and gaps that older adults experience, with an eye toward developing forms of assistance or educational strategies to fill those gaps.

Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) with additional support from The Senior Source, the interdisciplinary research team from the University of Texas at Arlington included Kate Hyun, Caroline Krejci and ...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is happy to welcome some new faces into our six-university consortium, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Latest NITC Faculty and Researchers to Join their Universities

Nelson Gomez-Torres, University of Texas at Arlington

Dr. Nelson Gomez-Torres joins the faculty of the University of Texas at Arlington as an assistant professor of instruction in civil engineering. Before coming to UTA he was the Director of Civil and Industrial Engineering Programs at Universidad Ana G. Mendez in Puerto Rico. Nelson has worked in engineering design, construction management, and traffic studies, but he found his passion in helping to develop the next generation of... Read more

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