The Circulator

A blog featuring stories, research updates, student projects, news, and more from the campuses of the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center and beyond.

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UC Davis alum wins CUTC award for best dissertation

By | April 29, 2024 |

Amy Lee’s ground-breaking dissertation focused on the policy and politics of highway expansions

UNLV doctoral student in computer science recognized by PSR

By | April 3, 2024 |

Yazmin Martinez was named 2023 doctoral student of the year by the Pacific Southwest Region UTC in recognition of her unique research.

UCI’s Uriah Campos named PSR undergraduate student of the year

By | March 5, 2024 |

A senior majoring in urban studies was named undergraduate student of the year by the PSR UTC.

PSR master’s student of the year explores transportation planning through diverse global perspectives

By | February 27, 2024 |

Alejandra Rios Gutierrez, an urban planning and Latin American studies dual-degree student at UCLA, was named PSR master’s student of the year.

PSR student of the year augments professional data experience with planning knowledge

By | December 12, 2023 |

Monisha Reginald, a master’s student at UCLA studying transportation planning, was recognized by the Pacific Southwest Region UTC.

“Idaho stop” bill returns to California Legislature — will it pass this time?

By | May 24, 2023 |

Two years ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have decriminalized the so-called “Idaho stop,” which is defined as the act of a cyclist treating a stop sign as a yield sign. Newsom cited safety concerns for the veto, saying that the bill would decrease cyclist safety rather than increase it, as many advocates believe.

Transportation engineering Ph.D. student recognized by PSR

By | April 19, 2023 |

Qinhua Jiang, a Ph.D. student at UCLA, has been named the 2022 doctoral student of the year by the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center.

USC-led program awarded $15 million by U.S. Department of Transportation

By | March 7, 2023 |

Story highlights: USC’s METRANS Transportation Consortium has been awarded a grant from the USDOT to lead the US Region 9 research, education and technology transfer program. METRANS, a partnership be …

Three UCLA students win national recognition

By | January 25, 2023 |

UCLA students received three of the top national transportation research awards by the Council of University Transportation Centers. The CUTC was established in 1979 to represent transportation resear …

Parking Cash Out

By | October 3, 2022 |

Would you give up your work parking spot if you were paid for it?

San Francisco Housing Lotteries

By | September 26, 2022 |

People who live in dense, walkable, transit-rich neighborhoods tend to drive less. Why is that?

crowded freeway showing induced demand

What do we do about traffic congestion?

By | August 18, 2022 |

Induced demand happens when we expand the capacity of transportation systems. People respond to the added capacity by using it more.

How do we get more people on e-bikes?

By | August 15, 2022 |

E-bikes could be an excellent alternative to driving cars for many people, and they are more accessible for some than traditional bicycles. But not everyone considers them as an option.

PSR Research: Deep-learning traffic flow predictions

By | April 20, 2022 |

In the white paper “Deep-Learning Traffic Flow Prediction for Forecasting Performance Measurement of Public Transportation Systems,” USC researchers use the largest traffic sensor data warehouse in Southern California to better predict where and when this traffic occurs.

Meet the PSR Undergraduate Student of the Year

By | April 13, 2022 |

Jenny Benitez, who graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, was recently named the Pacific Southwestern Region Undergraduate Student of the Year.

PSR Research: Automating wildlife-vehicle conflict hotspots

By | March 16, 2022 |

It’s not good for anybody when a car strikes and kills a deer on a highway. The deer, of course, is dead; the driver is likely dealing with a traumatic experience, a severely damaged car, and even inj …

PSR Research: Long Beach Transit’s sustainability plan

By | March 2, 2022 |

As one of the largest transit operators in the state of California, Long Beach Transit has the capacity to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the surrounding region. The system, whic …

PSR Research: Improving access to the Davis Amtrak station

By | February 16, 2022 |

The Davis Amtrak station is too popular for its own good. Attracting the third-most riders of any station on the popular Capitol Corridor Amtrak line, the ridership from the station — prior to the pan …

UCLA doctoral student named PSR student of the year

By | February 9, 2022 |

Julene Paul, a PhD student in urban planning, was named the 2021 student of the year for the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center, a federally funded network of eight partner camp …

PSR Research: Automation, electrification, and shared mobility in freight

By | February 9, 2022 |

In America, people buy lots of stuff, and in order to get that stuff to the people who want it, a lot of fossil fuel must be burned. As a result, pollution pours into the air; noisy trucks disrupt peo …

PSR Research: Employment and education can predict daily travel patterns

By | January 26, 2022 |

Fragmentation is defined as the sequencing of multiple short activities and trips in a person’s daily schedule. Fragmentation is a normal aspect of travel behavior — people need to travel for a wide r …

PSR Research: Safety and public transit for Los Angeles university students

By | January 19, 2022 |

Sexual harassment in public spaces is an all-too-common feature of life in the United States, and public transportation is not exempt from this unfortunate reality. In “Public Transportation Safety Am …

PSR Research: Silicon Valley sacrifices productivity for more parking

By | November 17, 2021 |

Could productivity be even higher in low-density, high-performing regions?

PSR Research: Can California meet its carbon emissions goals?

By | October 20, 2021 |

By 2050, California must reduce its carbon emissions by 80% or greater in order to meet its climate goals. Is this realistic?

Transfers Magazine wins APA award

By | September 29, 2021 |

At a virtual ceremony Sept. 15, the California chapter of the American Planning Association validated this work by presenting Transfers with the Communications Initiative Award of Merit.

PSR Celebrates Students of the Year

By | July 2, 2021 |

The Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center honors exceptional students from member institutions for their promise in the transportation field.

Remembering our dear senior editor, Marty Wachs

By | April 16, 2021 |

On April 11, we lost a giant in the transportation planning field with a career spanning seven decades.

UCLA professors use art and technology to increase bike commuting in L.A.

By | April 2, 2021 |

A project by three UCLA faculty members aims to change the frustrating nature of bike commuting through “flows” that produce real-time digital art exhibitions throughout the city.

METRANS students produce award-winning traffic safety video

By | March 8, 2021 |

The METRANS student team’s transportation safety video won second place in the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s 2020 Student Video Contest.

Showing our love for transportation this Valentine’s Day

By | February 14, 2021 |

If there’s one thing that unites Transfers readers, it’s a love for transportation — in multiple forms.

Q&A: How a professional downhill skateboarder became an urban planner

By | February 3, 2021 |

Max Dubler is a Los Angeles-based photographer, writer, videographer, designer, downhill skateboarder — and now, urban planning master’s student at UCLA.

Outdoor Dining Designs: Benefits and Drawbacks

By | August 4, 2020 |

Outdoor dining has become more popular as cities look for ways to respond to COVID-19. But what does this mean for the future of cities and their residents?

National Bike Month: Maintaining Momentum after COVID-19

By | May 14, 2020 |

How can cities around the world respond to the rising numbers of cyclists on the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Transit Ridership at Bay: Reflections on the UCLA ITS Bay Area Transit Use Study

By | May 4, 2020 |

UCLA ITS recently conducted a study of ridership across the Bay Area to determine trends leading to its recent decline

Lessons Learned from the California Road Pricing Field Test

By | February 10, 2020 |

Why the state of California is considering implementing road charges to finance its transportation infrastructure and how it can win approval to do so

Q&A: Getting to know our new editor-in-chief

By | February 5, 2020 |

We asked our new editor-in-chief about his plans for the magazine, the state of transportation today, and why he loves our previous piece about skateboarding

ITS helps build student coding, data skills

By | December 10, 2019 |

Data camps, hack nights expand student data visualization portfolios

A Scoot, Skip, and a JUMP Away: Learning from Shared Micromobility Systems in San Francisco

By | October 29, 2019 |

How electric scooters and bikeshare programs in San Francisco have impacted transit usage, vehicles miles traveled, and equal access to transit.

Designing for the Future of AVs

By | October 14, 2019 |

A UCLA lecture on the unintended consequences of autonomous vehicles leads to considerations for designing pedestrian-AV interactions. 

Do more EVs mean less transportation funding? Not so, says new study

By | August 1, 2019 |

In California, the push for more electric cars could mean fewer drivers paying fuel taxes.

25 years later, ‘Speed’ plot more plausible at 9 mph

By | June 10, 2019 |

Bus speeds — and ridership — have been declining for years. What can be done to reverse the trend?

Generational dilemma: Buy avocados or finance a car?

By | May 6, 2019 |

The decision to own or lease a car when money is tight is a big one — and we should think of it as such.

Are ride-hail fees fair?

By | April 22, 2019 |

A tax on ride-hailing to reduce congestion may appear logical at first glance. But will it actually work — and is it fair?

April Fool’s: Exploring intangible concepts with maps

| April 1, 2019 |

One does not simply walk into Mordor… Sure, but can you take transit instead? For April Fool’s Day, we take a look at some unique maps.

The little bus lane that could

By | April 1, 2019 |

They might look like ordinary bus-only lanes, but Tactical Transit Lanes represent a new approach in tackling an old problem: how to speed up buses that get stuck in traffic.

Palms Station Metro Bike

Metro Bike expands on the Westside with new dockless “smart bikes”

By | March 21, 2019 |

Metro expands its Westside Metro Bike bikeshare with a move from traditional dock-based bikeshare to hub-based “smart bikes.”

Q&A: Prioritizing equity in a rapidly changing transit system

| March 4, 2019 |

Los Angeles County is rapidly expanding its public transit system. How does equity factor in these changes?

Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable: TRB 2019 recap

By | January 25, 2019 |

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. Here are a few highlights.

Transferring to 2019: The year in review

By | December 18, 2018 |

2018 was a big year for Transfers Magazine and The Circulator. From LeBron James, to scooters, to the #MeToo movement, here are some of our favorite posts from our inaugural year.

New technologies require new norms

By | December 5, 2018 |

Providing safe infrastructure for dockless scooters and bikes will will only go so far in addressing community concerns: we need to establish new norms.

Q&A: Planning for the worst

By | November 27, 2018 |

Unfortunately, many cities don’t plan for disasters, especially if they haven’t experienced them before. But disaster planning shouldn’t happen in a vacuum: Disaster planning should be seen in the terms of creating more resilient cities.

Why parking spaces are perishable goods

By | November 1, 2018 |

Like airlines and hotels, effective parking management requires charging variable demand-based prices, improving access, traffic, and the environment one parking space at a time.

Experts talk disruption, mobility, and public transit

By | October 24, 2018 |

Videos with speakers from the 2018 UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium show a range of perspectives on where public and private transportation are headed — and how to resolve their conflicts.

LA shows off its new bike infrastructure

By | October 9, 2018 |

The recent NACTO Designing Cities conference was chance for LA to highlight some much-needed downtown street safety improvements. Take a GIF tour with us.

Why scooters are the future of transportation

By | October 2, 2018 |

The e-mobility revolution has begun, with scooters and dockless bikes likely the first of many sustainable vehicles that can replace short car trips. Planners and policymakers should get on board.

How will LA’s new complete street measure up?

By | September 21, 2018 |

The six-mile redesign of Figueroa Avenue was the first of its kind in LA and is a potential model for future projects. But going forward, how will the city measure its success?

Dreams of utopia: The future of AVs

By | September 14, 2018 |

Self-driving cars are at once tangible and distant. A Los Angeles conference brought industry leaders together to think about autonomous vehicles across axes of technology and equity.

The federal government is derailing transit projects

By | August 28, 2018 |

Trump administration officials have been slow-walking nearly $1.4 billion in funding for new projects in several cities, and delaying implementation of crucial policies to improve old systems.

Infusing equity in LA’s transit and parks funding

By | August 21, 2018 |

Two new funding measures will reshape LA neighborhoods. A few key principles can guide implementation to close historical gaps in services and avoid exacerbating inequality.

Scooter backlash threatens competition and innovation

By | August 15, 2018 |

Santa Monica’s proposal to ban new microtransit services in favor of exclusive contracts for Uber and Lyft raises red flags about market consolidation and stifling mobility choice.

What can we learn from ridehail data?

By | August 6, 2018 |

Despite intense interest in the impact of ridehailing on the broader transportation landscape, companies have not shared their user data publicly. A first look at Lyft reveals key insights.

Donald Shoup’s three parking reforms

By | July 19, 2018 |

Parking requirements subsidize cars, encourage sprawl, raise housing costs, and much more. The author of “The High Cost of Free Parking” and “Parking and the City” offers three solutions for cities.

Are ridehail partnerships a new model for transit?

By | July 11, 2018 |

Subsidizing Lyft or Uber trips rather than operating low-performing transit service can save agencies money and offer riders more flexible, on-demand, door-to-door trips.

Will LeBron bring LA a title — and more bike lanes?

By | July 3, 2018 |

King James is an avid cyclist and bike advocate. But his upcoming commute to Downtown Los Angeles faces some significant safety and infrastructure challenges.

Could AVs improve visits to national parks?

By , , , | July 2, 2018 |

Transportation in parks must provide visitor access and mobility while avoiding or mitigating environmental impacts. Autonomous technology could help meet those goals.

How do people perceive transit in LA?

By , | June 25, 2018 |

To solve the problem of declining transit ridership in Los Angeles, we must first understand why so many people feel like driving is a superior option. So we asked — and got some telling reactions.

Q&A: #MeToo and making transit safer for women

By | June 6, 2018 |

USC graduate student Quinn Graham Wallace wrote an award-winning paper about how transit agencies can get with the times and take steps to reduce sexual harassment.

Could California set better speed limits?

By | May 30, 2018 |

Why did updating speed limits for safety result in some speed increases? Blame California’s “85th percentile” methodology based on driver behavior rather than local needs.

Does bundled parking influence travel behavior?

By | May 24, 2018 |

People who live in buildings with bundled parking are more likely to own cars. By hiding the true cost of car ownership, does bundled parking also make people drive more and use public transit less?

Q&A: How San Francisco improved its garages

By | May 16, 2018 |

Ensuring that cities get the most out of their parking garage spaces requires making them profitable yet available, and reliably so, through pricing that balances different needs.

Video: Students speak on campus skateboard travel

By | May 8, 2018 |

Campus safety regulations, often created in response to recreational skateboarding rather than skateboard commuting, can put a damper on students’ rides.

Are millennials killing traditional transportation?

By | May 8, 2018 |

Millennials are constantly told that we’re a ruthless generation, out to kill the tried and true staples of American life. And when it comes to transportation, we’re apparently just as merciless.

What is Transfers?

By | May 8, 2018 |

With this publication, we hope to help transfer the knowledge of experts into policy actions that improve people’s lives.