Travel Decisions & Their Implications for Urban Transportation: From Campus Transportation to Statewide Modeling

Friday, May 1, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT
Gulsah Akar, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University
Free and open to the public

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Where: Room 204 of the Distance Learning Center Wing of the Urban Center at PSU

The ability to forecast future transportation patterns under a particular land-use scenario or urban form is key to making informed decisions at the local and regional levels.

Although several researchers have explored the links between the built environment, socio-demographics and travel behavior, a consensus is not reached.

This talk highlights two recent projects. The first project focuses on individuals’ attitudes towards transportation, neighborhood characteristics and their effects on campus commuters’ transit use, and addresses the question whether attitudes, the built environment or a combination of both explains the resulting transit use better.

The second part presents the Regional Land Use Allocation Decision Analysis Tool developed for The Ohio Department of Transportation, which enables decision makers to quantify the impacts of population and employment distribution in terms of the resulting VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled). This tool forecasts the impacts of future land-use policies in Ohio, based on alternative assumptions of highway and mass transit corridor development, zoning and environmental constraints, regional growth or decline projections, and changes in travel associated with auto trip generation rates and trip distances.

Dr. Gulsah Akar is an assistant professor at Ohio State University. Her research centers on transportation with a focus on travel demand forecasting, travel behavior and links between land use and transportation. She develops models to forecast the use of different travel modes and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) under changing socio-economic, land-use and built environment scenarios. Her research enables decision makers to develop informed transportation policies and infrastructure decisions, and the results from unique datasets are contributions to the literature. Dr. Akar received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (2009), with a focus in Transportation. She received her B.Sc. (2002) and M.Sc. (2004) degrees both from the Civil Engineering Department, METU (Turkey).