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Summer 2020 Newsletter
Congratulations to NCST Dissertation & Fellowship Awardees!
Congratulations to our UC Riverside and UC Davis dissertation grant and graduate fellowship recipients for the 2020-2021 cycle! Our recent awardees are contributing to research on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, pavement performance, highway traffic management, ridehailing, and disaster modeling!
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Ayla Moretti | UC Riverside
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Yun Xue | UC Riverside
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Sahar Ghadimi |
UC Riverside
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Sarah Grajdura | UC Davis

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Priyanka Singh |
UC Riverside
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Shenyang Chen | UC Davis

A record number of NCST Undergrad Summer Research Fellows!

Congratulations to our 19 UC Davis summer 2020 undergraduate research fellowship recipients—a record for the program! The NCST research fellowship program supports the undergraduate students for an eight-week period during the summer to participate in transportation research projects. The fellows will be working on a variety of sustainable transportation projects from multimodal travel and sustainable land use, to environmentally responsible infrastructure and operations, to institutional change. 

We look forward to seeing their results at the end of summer!

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Student Spotlight: Sierra Espeland
Meet Sierra Espeland, one of the NCST and the University of Vermont’s outstanding undergraduate students! Espeland is entering her senior year as a civil engineering major with minors in statistics and pure mathematics, and has recently been accepted into UVM’s graduate college to pursue her Master of Science degree in civil engineering.
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Espeland has conducted research related to constrained travel (situations in which users are forced to travel by modes other than their preferred modes) and bicycle and pedestrian route safety, and she hopes to help create more equitable and accessible transportation systems.

Outside of the classroom and laboratory, Espeland brings her skills to the pitch as a member of the UVM Women’s Varsity Field Hockey team, competing at the Division I level. Her involvement in athletics has allowed her to connect with aspiring female high school student athletes interested in studying engineering. Espeland recalls, “When I was going through my own college search process, it seemed impossible to be both an engineering student and a member of an athletics team. The gender distribution in STEM only compounded that anxiety. As a prospective student and athlete, I would have loved to meet someone who could say, ‘Yes, it’s possible because I’m doing it.’ Hopefully, I can be that person for someone and help give them the confidence to pursue both athletics and a STEM field.”

Congratulations and great work, Sierra!

Upcoming Webinar
Cost-Sharing Mechanisms for Ride-Sharing
Thursday, October 22 at 12pm PDT
Speaker: Maged M. Dessouky | Professor, University of Southern California

In this webinar, Dr. Dessouky will identify the desirable properties of a good cost-sharing mechanism and propose specific mechanisms for the static scenario where all information for the passengers is known in advance. Dr. Dessouky will also analyze their advantages and disadvantages so that transportation planners can select according to their different needs.

Recorded Webinars to Watch Now
The Many Benefits of Reducing Car Dependence
Susan Handy |  Professor, University of California, Davis
Jeanie Ward-Waller | Deputy Director for Planning & Modal Programs, California Department of Transportation
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Many Americans live in communities in which driving is a virtual necessity for getting to most destinations. But while cars provide an unparalleled level of mobility, they also have many negative financial, public health, environmental, and social impacts. This synthesized existing research on the many household- and community-level benefits of reducing car dependence.
The COVID-19 Pandemic: What Does it Mean for Transportation and Mobility?

Giovanni Circella | Director, 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program, UC Davis
Lisa Snapp |  Center Director, Transportation and Climate Division, US EPA
Dan Sperling |  Founding Director, ITS-Davis
Moderator: Mollie D’Agostino |  Policy Director, 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program, UC Davis

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been hugely disruptive, and will likely have lingering impacts on how we get around in the future. This webinar provides insights from the analysis of recently collected data from new research at UC Davis, highlighting a large data collection effort with 10,000 survey respondents, reporting on how COVID-19 
affected their travel behaviors, work activities and household organization. The research provides information on changes in mode choice, vehicle purchase intentions, adoption of telecommuting, e-shopping and delivery services. The discussion focuses on the implications for the climate and for communities.
Wildlife Behavior in Response to Traffic Disturbance
Fraser Shilling | Co-Director, UC Davis Road Ecology Center
Sheik Moinuddin
| Senior Transportation Engineer, California Department of Transportation
Rebecca Fris
Assistant Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Board
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Traffic impacts on wildlife behavior are largely unknown, but may be the primary determinant of wildlife distribution in response to fragmentation from roads. This webinar presented findings from 3 years of research by the UC Davis Road Ecology Center, Davis on the distribution of wildlife 
relative to highways and their behavior in
response to instantaneous traffic disturbance. Recent findings have led researchers to begin designing crossings to meet the behavioral needs of wildlife.
NCST in the News
One small silver lining in the world of transportation amidst this tragic COVID pandemic is a resurgence in bicycling. News outlets are reporting booming sales of bicycles, with bike shops scrambling to keep up with demand. In the latest ITS-Davis Transportation and Climate Blog, Dr. Handy discusses how the resurgence of bicycling during the pandemic is just one example of how this flexible, self-propelled mode of transportation has the potential to contribute to the resiliency of our cities.
Impacts of E-Commerce: Dr. Miguel Jaller breaks down consequences of changing shopping trends
In a recent article for The New York Times, Dr. Miguel Jaller discussed the impacts recent changes in shopping trends may have on vehicle emissions related to package deliveries. As suppliers like Amazon have reduced rush orders (due to COVID-19), they have been able to maximize delivery efficiency. Dr. Jaller suspects that per-package emissions may have decreased as a result.
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Dr. Jaller also discussed the community-level impacts of the growth of e-commerce in a recent blog post. In a recent study, Dr. Jaller and fellow researchers found evidence that faster and more frequent deliveries were shifting warehouses and truck trips closer to city and town centers, bringing pollution and traffic congestion into new communities. Unfortunately, the communities absorbing these impacts tend to be low-income communities and communities of color.
Why going electric makes sense for ride-hailing: Dr. Alan Jenn weighs in with findings from recent research
In a recent paper published by Nature EnergyDr. Alan Jenn discussed the emissions benefits of electric vehicles in Uber and Lyft Services. In an Axios article on the paper, author Ben Geman cited a major finding from Dr. Jenn's work: the emissions benefits of electrifying a vehicle in a
transportation network company fleet are nearly three times greater than the benefits from electrifying a privately-owned vehicle. Dr. Jenn also found that concerns about the ability for electric vehicles to provide the same level of service as gasoline vehicles has been overstated, and his investigation found no statistical difference between the two technologies for services provided to ride-hailing companies.
Failing to account for induced traffic, even when the public demands it
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A new paper by Dr. Jamey Volker, Amy Lee, and Dr. Susan Handy examines the environmental documents from five major highway projects to see how they addressed induced traffic. This work follows Dr. Volker and Dr. Handy's recent development of an induced travel calculator. A recent Planetizen article discusses their work and discusses the failure of environmental documents to address induced traffic except when prompted by public comment.
New Publications
Exploring the Role of Attitude in the Acceptance of Self-driving Shuttles
Yan Xing, Susan Handy, Giovanni Circella, Yunshi Wang, & Farzad Alemi | UC Davis
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UC Davis researchers surveyed residents and employees in the West Village area of campus during the three-month pilot deployment of a self-driving, electric shuttle to understand attitudes toward self-driving technology. The researchers then applied existing theories of technology adoption to model how attitudes of residents and employees influenced their acceptance of the shuttle service.
The Impacts of Automated Vehicles on Center City Parking Demand
Huajun Chai, Caroline Rodier, Jeffery Song,  Michael Zhang, &
 Miguel Jaller UC Davis
The potential for automated vehicles (AVs) to reduce parking in city centers has generated much excitement among urban planners. This study used a microscopic road traffic model with local travel activity data to simulate personal AV parking scenarios in San Francisco's downtown central business district.
Fostering the Use of Zero and Near Zero Emission Vehicles in Freight Operations
Miguel Jaller, Leticia Pineda, & Farzad Alemi UC Davis;  Yasar Gueldas | Daimler; 
Irem Otay | Istanbul Bilgi University 
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California is in the midst of improving its freight system. Although there are multiple strategies and approaches to help achieve these goals, this study focused on analyzing the factors to foster the adoption of zero- and near-zero emission vehiclesThis research considered compressed (renewable) natural gas, hybrid electric, battery electric and fuel-cell hydrogen vehicles.

Improving Transportation Information Resilience: Error Estimation for Networked Sensor Data

Yueyue Fan, Han Yang, Saurabh Maheshwari, & Yudi Yang UC Davis
This project focused on the problem of error detection and data recovery of partially malfunctioning sensors that could provide valuable information. By integrating a sensor measurement error model and a transportation network model, the authors propose a Generalized Method of Moments based estimation approach to determine the parameters of systematic and random errors of traffic sensors in a road network.

Congestion Reduction Through Efficient Empty Container Movement Under Stochastic Demand

Maged Dessouky, Santiago Carvajal, & Siyuan Yao University of Southern California
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The problem of coordinating the container movement to reuse empty containers and lower truck miles is called the “Empty Container Problem”. In this work, the authors developed a scheduling assignment for loaded and empty containers that builds on earlier models but incorporates stochastic (random) future demand.

Electric Fleet Adoption Strategies – Addressing Storage and Infrastructure Needs
Arun Raju &  Alexander Vu | UC Riverside

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Significant electrification of the transportation sector is necessary for California to achieve several important greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy targets. The State’s electricity generation and transmission capabilities must increase in order to meet the demand generated by increasing levels of fleet electrification. This project evaluated the mid- to long-term energy storage needs of the electric grid for select fleet electrification scenarios.

Freight Load Balancing and Efficiencies in Alternative Fuel Freight Modes

Petros Ioannou, Genevieve Giuliano, Maged Dessouky, Pengfei Chen, &  Sue Dexter  | University of Southern California
The current freight transportation network is highly unbalanced as routing decisions are made by individual users without coordination. This project developed a centrally coordinated load balancing system that considers all user demands and generates individual routes that balance freight loads across the network by minimizing cost.
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New Policy Briefs

High Percentages of Reclaimed Asphalt Affect the Performance of Asphalt Binder

John Harvey, David Jones, & Ali A. Butt |  UC Davis

Using Genetic Tools to Identify Populations Within Species Could Ease Infrastructure Mitigation

Nicole Adams, Lisa A. Tell, Ruta R. Bandivadekar, & Rachael Bay |  UC Davis
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The National Center for Sustainable Transportation is a consortium of leading universities committed to advancing an environmentally sustainable transportation system through cutting-edge research, direct policy engagement, and education of our future leaders. Consortium members: University of California, Davis; University of California, Riverside; University of Southern California; California State University, Long Beach; Georgia Institute of Technology; and the University of Vermont.
 Lauren Iacobucci
Senior Program Manager
Mike Sintetos
Policy Director
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