ITS students are among the most honored in academic planning — and 2018 was no exception. Once again, graduate students and doctoral candidates at ITS took home a number of the country's most prestigious awards for transportation scholarship. Anne E. Brown, who completed her Ph.D. this spring, was the third ITS scholar in the past four years to receive the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning’s Barclay Gibbs Jones Award for best dissertation in planning for her project Ridehail Revolution: Ridehail Travel and Equity in Los Angeles (read the policy briefs here and here). The project also earned Dr. Brown the Council of University Transportation Centers’ Charley V. Wooten award for outstanding doctoral thesis in transportation policy and planning, and she was named the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center’s student of the year. She is now an assistant professor at the University of Oregon. Melissa D. Sather, a 2018 graduate of the UCLA Luskin Master's in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program, was also recognized by the Council of University Transportation Centers, winning the Neville A. Parker Award for outstanding master’s project in the field of policy and planning, and science and technology for her capstone report A New Model for Transit: Transit/TNC Partnerships [...]
Anne E. Brown completed her doctoral dissertation, a groundbreaking study of discrimination and travel patterns in ridehailing, at UCLA ITS in June. Before she starts as an assistant professor at the University of Oregon in the fall, she completed a brief but busy postdoctoral tenure putting her research into action. Dr. Brown spent the summer presenting her findings to influential local groups and in the media, culminating in a Sunday op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. "I found that when it comes to timeliness, technology and — most troublingly — racial discrimination, taxis lag significantly behind their flashy new competitors," Dr. Brown wrote, outlining her first-of-its-kind "equity audit" of Lyft, Uber, and taxis in Los Angeles. "Taxi service, while poor, was pretty much the same for white, Asian and Latino riders. It was only noticeably different — and noticeably worse — for black riders, providing robust evidence of discrimination." The equity audit found that black riders were 73 percent more likely to have a taxi driver cancel on them compared to white riders, a racial gap that shrank to just 4 percent for Lyft and Uber, among other findings detailed in Dr. Brown's column. The stark evidence of discrimination was covered [...]
Ridehail Revolution: Groundbreaking ITS dissertation examines discrimination and travel patterns for Lyft, Uber, and taxis
Ridehail services such as Uber and Lyft have revolutionized how people access cars. But research into where they travel and who they serve has been limited. For the past three years, ITS doctoral student Anne E. Brown worked to fill that gap in research by conducting a first-of-its-kind analysis of ridehail travel patterns, equity, and rider discrimination. Her dissertation has now been accepted and published, providing a groundbreaking look at ridehail use in Los Angeles. The newly minted Dr. Brown is the first scholar in the nation to access Lyft’s trip-level data — data that is not available to policymakers or the public — and analyzed rider travel and use patterns from more than 6.3 million trips taken in LA in 2016. She also conducted LA’s first audit study of Lyft, Uber, and taxi services, based on more than 1,700 rides, to measure how wait times and ride request cancellations varied across races, ethnicities, and genders. Her main findings include: Discrimination in the taxi industry results in higher cancellation rates and longer wait times for black riders. While taxi service overall was remarkably poor — 10 percent of taxis did not arrive within one hour — it was worst [...]
ITS and Global Public Affairs at UCLA Luskin co-hosted a lecture by Antoine Cormount, cities and digital technology chair at the Sciences Po in Paris, as part of the spring transportation speaker series. Courmont’s discussion, “Big Data and Re-composition of Urban Governance in the Digital Era: The Case of the Waze App,” focused primarily on the potential for conflict between public and private goals when firms and governments use different data sets.
Watch the full presentation: