Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable: TRB 2019 recap


January 25, 2019

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Many of us on the Transfers team started 2019 at the 98th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, the Super Bowl of transportation research. The theme of this year’s conference was “Transportation for a Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable Future,” a natural fit for the research taking place at UCLA’s Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS). ITS researchers and students braved the snow in Washington, D.C., to present their work and hear from other transportation leaders. Here are a few highlights:

Posters galore
ITS students, researchers, and alumni presented their work at poster sessions throughout the conference. Building off ITS research on declining transit ridership in Southern California, Jacob Wasserman, a graduate student in the urban planning program, presented his findings on changes in transit ridership in the Bay Area.

Jacob Wasserman, Madeline Brozen, and Ryland Lu present their posters at TRB.

Madeline Brozen presented on gender and open streets events in California, and Ryland Lu, a recent graduate of the urban planning program, presented his capstone project on transportation network companies (TNCs) and curb management.

Voter support for local option sales tax (LOST) measures
Building off previous ITS research on LOSTs, a popular method to finance transportation projects in California, Jaimee Lederman presented research findings on factors that influence voter support for LOST measures. One big takeaway: Support for LOSTs is typically concentrated in urban areas and near proposed projects.

“Why can’t abuela take Lyft to the doctor?”
Madeline Brozen highlighted some of the transportation challenges faced by older adults in LA’s Koreatown. TNCs like Uber and Lyft present an opportunity to increase access, but there are lots of barriers to older adults using these services, from smartphone access, to cost, to unease with putting credit card information online.

Working and transportation among older adults
Andrew Schouten presented findings on the role of transportation access in the increasing participation of older adults in the labor market. Car ownership is positively related to employment rates among older adults, and older adults living in neighborhoods with good transit access to jobs also have higher employment rates than those living in neighborhoods with poor transit access to jobs.

Until next year…
If you couldn’t make it out to the conference, or didn’t get your fill of transportation research at TRB, consider joining ITS at its 12th Annual UCLA Downtown Los Angeles Forum on Transportation, Land Use, and the Environment on March 1, 2019. This year’s theme, “From Public Transit to Public Mobility,” will look at the public sector’s response to new mobility services and declining public transit ridership. We’ll explore implementation of the strategies discussed at the October 2018 Arrowhead Symposium, too. Hope to see you there!


Ryan Yowell

Ryan is an alumnus of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He was previously the assistant editor of Transfers and the communications fellow at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies.