The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is proud to introduce our newest Dissertation Fellow, Nicholas Puczkowskyj of Portland State University, who was awarded $15,000 for his doctoral research project: Expanding Transmobilities: An Art-Informed Methodology For Genderdiverse Travel Behavior.

"My dissertation focuses on understanding how genderdiverse individuals' gender identity influences their travel behavior and travel decisions. I use an art-based methodology by operationalizing collage and mental maps to delicately capture these data. I believe this work will support mobility justice research and the greater social justice movement by further solidifying the field of transmobilities. Additionally, this research seeks to push the boundaries of transportation research by illustrating the power of art as a modality for travel behavior research," Puczkowskyj said.

There is a significant gendered travel behavior research gap in the transportation literature. A plethora of transportation literature identifying and contrasting cisgender disparities exists, but more inclusive approaches to genderdiverse identities remain scarce. The burgeoning field of transmobilities investigates transgender mobility and evolved from the nexus of mobility justice and gender studies by studying transgender experiences on public transit.

Nick's dissertation expands...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is proud to introduce our newest Dissertation Fellow, Austin Drukker of the University of Arizona, who was awarded $15,000 for his doctoral research project: How Essential is Essential Air Service? A Welfare Analysis of Airport Access for Remote Communities

Mr. Drukker will study the welfare implications of Essential Air Service (EAS), a federal government program that provides subsidies to airlines that provide commercial service from remote communities. Congress established EAS after the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, which gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which domestic markets to serve and which fares to charge, fearing that the newly deregulated airlines would shift their operations to serve large, profitable markets, leaving remote communities without access to the national passenger airline network and the markets and opportunities that come along with such access. By combining novel data containing information on airline passengers’ home location with cutting-edge econometric techniques, Mr. Drukker will study the value that EAS community members place on having access to their community airport as revealed by their actual choices. Mr. Drukker’s preliminary findings suggest that passengers who live in communities with subsidized service have a plethora of choices available to them and many if not...

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We're proud to announce the publication of a new NITC dissertation: "Free Movement: Enhancing Open Data To Facilitate Independent Travel For Persons With Disabilities," by Shiloh Deitz of the University of Oregon.

"In this project, I found that across the United States there is a lack of both data for accessible pedestrian routing and tools for filling in those data. AI methods have contributed to filling in missing data for applications like autonomous vehicles but much less often to intervene in quality of life improvements. Critical geoAI, that is, bringing a critical geographic lens to artificial intelligence applications, has the potential to contribute to the amelioration of these data and analytic gaps," Deitz said.

Nearly 40 million Americans report a disability, and of this population, 70 percent travel less because of the challenges they face. When they do travel, those with limited mobility are more likely to be pedestrians or public transit users. Today, free commercial routing applications such as Google Maps offer a robust suite of tools for the able-bodied public to walk, ride bikes, take public transportation, or hail a taxi. Yet, such tools for persons with limited mobility to determine a safe and perhaps even pleasant urban route are experimental, limited, and only available in select cities (e.g....

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We're proud to announce the publication of a new NITC dissertation: "Identifying and Measuring Transportation Challenges for Survivors in Intimate Partner Violence Shelters," by Sarah Leat of the University of Texas at Arlington; now an assistant professor of social work at the University of Memphis.

"My dissertation sought to identify environmental factors within the built environment which impact survivors of intimate partner violence residing in domestic violence shelters. The findings indicate that environmental factors within the interior and exterior space as well as the location of the shelter significantly impact the mental health of residents. Particularly, the location of the shelter can impact residents’ mobility. Shelters placed in areas lacking public transportation or resources such as places of employment and health care significantly impact residents’ ability to regain economic independence. Future research is necessary to identify the ideal design and location of domestic violence shelters in order to create healing spaces for survivors of intimate partner violence," Leat said.

Environmental stressors within the built environment can greatly impact health. Environmental stressors, such as noise levels, crowding, and housing quality have been shown to impact physical healing as well as mental health. Although environmental stressors have been examined within...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is proud to introduce a new dissertation fellow: Kelly Rodgers of Portland State University. Four other NITC dissertation fellows were announced in summer 2020. Our NITC Dissertation fellowships applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

Kelly’s dissertation project will focus on "The use and influence of health indicators in transportation decision-making."

Research on health and transport has increased significantly in the past 20 years, both across health and transportation fields. Researchers and practitioners have called for the use of health indicators in transportation, which come amidst the growing emphasis on the use of indicators for transportation plans and projects in general. The underlying hope is that new procedural arrangements, such as measuring and tracking indicators, can turn policy goals into practice. This research project will explore the use and influence of health indicators in transportation using a mixed methods approach.

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View of North MLK Boulevard in Portland, Oregon with a pedestrian crossing near a mural.
MLK Boulevard in Portland, OR. Photo by Cait McCusker
Steven Howland, Portland State University

The historically Black district of Albina in Portland, Oregon, due to racist real estate practices, faced multiple displacement events between 1960 and 1990 with the construction of Interstate 5 through the heart of the neighborhood as well as wholesale destruction of hundreds of homes to make room for the Memorial Coliseum and various other urban renewal projects. Gentrification in Portland saw a mass displacement of Black households from Albina, largely to East Portland, a suburban area that was unincorporated...

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A bus coming up to a bus stop with a pedestrian nearby

The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is proud to introduce our four Summer 2020 Dissertation Fellows, together awarded $60,000 in total funding. Read about their projects below, or learn how to apply for funding through the NITC Dissertation Fellowship Grant


Travis Glick, Portland State University

Travis Glick is a PhD student, graduate teaching and research assistant in civil & environmental engineering at Portland State University. He served for two years as president of Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), Portland State University's transportation student group. Travis is a NITC scholar and three-time Eisenhower fellow, and his ongoing research examines dwell times, bus-bike conflicts, and transit modeling. Travis's doctoral work tackles a new class of problem that... Read more
Robert Hibberd (headshot) alongside a photo of affordable housing near a transit station

Robert Hibberd is a Ph.D. student and Graduate Research Assistant in the University of Arizona's College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture. His research emphasis is on urban and transportation planning, demographics, Smart Growth and New Urbanism, housing affordability issues, and sustainable development. He has worked on multiple NITC projects including LRT/BRT/SCT/CRT Development Outcomes FINAL PHASE and Updating and Expanding LRT/BRT/SCT/CRT Data and Analysis with his advisor, Dr. Arthur C. Nelson. He is a 2020 NITC dissertation fellow.

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Tell us about yourself?

Robert E. Hibberd grew up in Syracuse, Utah, north of Salt Lake City. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Utah, and a Master’s degree in Historical Resources Management,...

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An older woman helps an older man out of a car into a wheelchair
Photo by kali9
Vivian J. Miller, University of Texas at Arlington

Older adults who live in nursing homes are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety, and research has shown that social...

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A light rail train on tracks
Photo by jferrer

Torrey Lyons, University of Utah


Transit agencies often focus on ridership as a primary measure of performance: If enough people are riding transit, then the system is a success. But who are those riders, and why is volume the benchmark?

This viewpoint can skip over an important aspect of a transit agency’s function; that is, providing opportunity to...

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