For the third time in the past four years, an ITS scholar has received the Barclay Gibbs Jones Award for Best Dissertation in Planning. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) has honored Anne E. Brown for her groundbreaking dissertation on racial discrimination and travel patterns in ridehailing. Anne completed her doctorate at ITS this spring and spent the summer putting her research into action as an ITS postdoctoral fellow before departing to join the faculty at the University of Oregon. Her work was covered extensively in the media, including in an op-ed Anne wrote for the Los Angeles Times. The award selection committee released the following statement about Anne's dissertation: "The committee was especially impressed by Anne's comprehensive and cautious treatment of an important, contemporary, and understudied topic in transportation planning, her deft use of novel data sources, solid grasp of data analysis, and clear and engaging prose. Anne's ability to link the analysis of the original quantitative data she collected with a thorough review of secondary sources and relevant policies was especially impressive. Her research on racial and economic equity in the use of ride-hail services is already making headlines, and we look forward to seeing Anne's contributions to [...]
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:
The ITS spring speaker series kicked off with one of the world’s most influential urbanists, Gil Penalosa, an advocate for public spaces and sustainable mobility. Cities must meet the challenges of the 21st century through public policy and design that improves the quality of life for all residents, Penalosa argued. “We need to decide how we want to live,” he told a large crowd of Luskin School students, staff, faculty and community partners. Penalosa, a graduate of the MBA program at the UCLA Anderson School, is the founder and chair of 8 80 Cities, a nonprofit organization based in Toronto and dedicated to the idea that urban spaces should benefit an 8-year-old or an 80-year-old equally. He also chairs the board of World Urban Parks, an international association in favor of open space and recreation, after getting his start by transforming parks programs as a commissioner in Bogotá. The groundbreaking programs overseen by Penalosa in Colombia included a weekly event to turn city streets into activity centers for walking, biking, and other activities, which has served as a model for CicLAvia in Los Angeles and similar programs worldwide. Penalosa said that after streets turn into “the world’s largest pop-up park,” people begin to think about how much of [...]
Who designed our transportation system? Who does it work for — and who does it leave out? The gender imbalance of transportation planning — a field traditionally dominated by men who designed a system that caters to men rather than women and families — was the subject of the second installment of the ongoing ITS discussion series Transportation is a Women's Issue on March 7. Policymakers, practitioners, scholars, and students gathered at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Downtown Los Angeles for a panel featuring Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) general manager and ITS advisory board member Seleta Reynolds, LA Metro deputy CEO Stephanie Wiggins, and UCLA Luskin urban planning professor and ITS faculty fellow Evelyn Blumenberg, moderated by Investing in Place deputy director Naomi Iwasaki. Watch the full panel: The panelists agreed that the transportation system is fundamentally designed to accommodate the 9-to-5 work schedule traditionally associated with higher-income men. Even as women's participation in the labor market has surged, that system continues to ignore the needs of travelers at off-peak hours and those with complex trip-making patterns, who are much likelier to be women, especially lower-income women. Despite the fact that women and men travel similarly in terms of mode, Dr. Blumenberg said that [...]
There are more cars on California roads than ever before, threatening the state's air quality. And landmark new investments in transit and transportation infrastructure could endanger wildlife habitats and sensitive environments. Researchers with the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies — a network of faculty, students, and staff with branches at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, and here at UCLA — have produced three research briefs to understand how efforts around the state are mitigating the impact of transportation on California's environment. The briefs examine what lessons these programs can offer policymakers. Can Smog Repairs Create Social Justice? The Tune In & Tune Up Smog Repair Program in the San Joaquin Valley Gregory Pierce and Rachel Connolly Pierce, an assistant professor at UCLA Luskin and senior researcher at the Luskin Center for Innovation, and Connolly, a graduate student researcher at the Luskin Center, studied an emission testing and smog repair program aimed at combating environmental injustice in one of the state's most disadvantaged regions (mapped above). In places like the San Joaquin Valley, where the lack of density makes robust public transit options unrealistic, can a smog repair program achieve the emissions reductions necessary to improve air quality and benefit car-dependent, [...]
Many California communities are banking on more transit use to address problems of congestion and climate change. Yet despite heavy investments in public transportation over the past 15 years, transit ridership is declining — from 2012 to 2016, California lost 62.2 million annual transit rides, and the six-county Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region lost 72 million annual rides, 120 percent of the state's total losses. With such political support and policy stakes invested in transit, why is ridership falling? Three UCLA ITS scholars have authored a new report for SCAG in order to better understand this trend and help inform planners and policymakers on how to address declining ridership. The full report, by assistant professor of urban planning and ITS faculty fellow Michael Manville, professor of urban planning and ITS director Brian D. Taylor, and professor of urban planning and ITS faculty fellow Evelyn Blumenberg, includes several key findings: Increased car ownership can likely explain much of the transit ridership decline in Southern California. Between 2000 and 2015, private vehicle ownership dramatically increased among households in the SCAG region, from 1.7 to 2.4 vehicles per household. During the 1990s, the region grew by 1.8 million people and 456,000 [...]
2017 was another rewarding year for ITS scholars. Professor Donald Shoup and former doctoral student Carole Turley Voulgaris both earned top awards from the Association of Collegiate Schools and Planning (ACSP), the highest honors in academic planning. Professor Shoup, an ITS faculty fellow and distinguished research professor of urban planning, received the ACSP Distinguished Educator Award (read his acceptance remarks here). During his tenure of more than 40 years at UCLA, Professor Shoup has built an international reputation as a premiere authority on parking policy, influencing generations of students who have gone on to implement his ideas in cities throughout the United States and the world. He spoke about his esteemed career in a recent UCLA Luskin video: ASCP selects recipients of the Distinguished Educator Award every two years based on their scholarly contributions, teaching excellence, public service, and professional practice. Professor Shoup is the second ITS faculty fellow to win this prestigious award, joining Professor Martin Wachs, who won in 2006 while at UC Berkeley. Carole Turley Voulgaris, who was recently named an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, won the prestigious Best Dissertation in Planning award for her work on transit ridership [...]
Struggling to reaching for a strap on a crowded bus. Stepping into a packed train car and looking for a small space of refuge. Waiting by yourself at a dark bus stop. Trying to run household serving errands on a public transit schedule that’s been designed for rush hour. These are all-too-common experiences for women in transit — and illustrate why the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault must influence public transportation procedures, designs, and policies. Kicking off the new ITS lunchtime discussion series "Transportation is a Women's Issue," ITS associate director Madeline Brozen spoke with Dr. Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, a professor of urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School and ITS faculty fellow, about women’s transportation needs, how transit agencies are and are not meeting these needs, and the role of sexual harassment in public space and public transit. Watch the full discussion in the video below, and stay tuned for information about the next installment in the ongoing series.