It was another successful year for UCLA faculty and students at the 95th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board. For the conference, which is held every January in Washington, D.C., students, faculty, and research staff made the trip out to mingle with other transportation experts, get up to speed on the most cutting-edge research in the field, and reconnect with UCLA alumni from around the country. A generous gift from Larry Sauve MA UP ’78 provided travel support to 19 Master’s and PhD students.

The research presented by UCLA was extensive and diverse.

The five-person team of Brian Taylor, Evelyn Blumenberg, Kelcie Ralph, Carole Turley Voulgaris, and Anne Brown presented two examples of their recent groundbreaking research on travel behavior: One on the causes and consequences of declining driving among the Millennial Generation, and one on neighborhood character and U.S. travel patterns since 2000.

ITS and Lewis Center Associate Director Madeline Brozen presented a flurry of work on Complete Streets and road safety around the country. “Towards Best Practice Collision Analysis for Vision Zero programs,” a paper co-authored with Daniel Shockley, brought together findings on bike and pedestrian safety from several cities around the country, and stressed the importance of better data collection as a way to safer streets.

ITS and Lewis Center Research Associate Herbie Huff presented her work, co-authored with Robin Liggett, on the Highway Capacity Manual’s Bicycle Level-of-Service (LOS) method. The white paper Huff and Liggett wrote on bicycle and pedestrian LOS in the Highway Capacity Manual was the main discussion item for this year’s meeting of the Highway Capacity Quality of Service Committee, Pedestrians and Bicycles Subcommittee. 

The link between transportation and economic inequality was also a major topic in several of this year’s UCLA presentations. ITS Faculty Member Evelyn Blumenberg and UCLA doctoral student Trevor Thomas presented their poster “Spatial Analysis of Housing and Transportation Affordability in Los Angeles County,” which mapped out the respective costs of housing and transportation in various neighborhoods around Los Angeles. Anne Brown’s poster “Changing Economy, Changing Roles?” looked at how American travel patterns changed during the Great Recession, with a particular focus on unpaid “household labor.”

Trevor Thomas and Brian Taylor, along with ITS postdoctoral researcher Taner Osman, gave TRB attendees an overview of their major new study, “Congested Development,” which studies the roots and effects of traffic congestion and makes the novel argument that far from being a sign of dysfunction, it often indicates a city with high social mobility and economic opportunity.

Finally, Faculty Fellow and “parking guru” Donald Shoup was there to present some of his newest findings on parking and land use. Shoup, Anne Brown, and Vinit Mukhija looked at the use of backyard garages as accessory dwelling units in Los Angeles — a practice that’s currently illegal but that they argue could help ease the city’s housing crisis. The key question, they said, was whether we want our cities to be full of “garages and cars, or houses and people.”

In short, it was another successful conference for UCLA scholars, with nearly 20 presentations and an array of fascinating topics. Want more proof? The @ucla_its Twitter feed has real-time responses, quotes, and photos — and we look forward to being back at TRB next year.