Faculty & Student Research and Engagement (Rodriguez)
Ever wonder what projects you could be working on as a DCRP student? We asked a couple of Daniel Rodriguez's students.
Faculty and students at DCRP carry out an extensive body of research and engage in a variety of projects working with local communities and clients. Research is carried out at our own research centers as well as through partnerships with academic, governmental, business, and non-profit organizations. Students in the department are also active participants in community-based planning workshop courses in which they engage directly with local community groups. In addition to faculty and doctoral research projects, Master’s students also engage in research and engagement through their Master’s Projects.
Faculty focus: Dr. Daniel Rodriguez
My research focuses on the relationship between transportation and land development. I examine this relationship at various scales. At the individual level, I have studied that land value impacts of transit investments and the impacts of urban form on travel behavior and physical activity. At the regional scale, I study the relationship between regional policies and travel patterns, and how plans can be used to strengthen the reciprocal connection between transportation and land use. The work I do is driven by practical problems and aims to inform planners and policy-makers.
I am a first-year master's student at DCRP specializing in transportation, with a particular interest in bicycle and pedestrian planning. I am working with Dr. Rodriguez to study how land use impacts the spread of traffic-related air pollution. Before starting at DCRP, I did GIS mapping and analysis for the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization.
I am a first year master's student specializing in transportation with a particular focus on economic development. My current interest especially lies in making economic arguments for infrastructure which supports active living. My background in environmental health and life sciences economic development enhances my study and research in this area. Both as a master's student and even an undergraduate at UNC I have had the distinct opportunity to participate in research with Dr. Rodriguez and his colleague in the Department of Epidemiology Dr. Kelly Evenson. Research areas to which I've been exposed include: physical activity in parks both in North Carolina and New York; interviews of local residents surrounding park infrastructure; and case studies of transit-oriented development in international contexts of Copenhagen and Vancouver.
I am a third year dual-degree student, with concentrations in Environmental Sciences and Engineering in the Gillings School of Public health as well as transportation planning at DCRP. My research involves the interaction and behavior of transportation networks (particularly mass transit and aviation), air quality, and the built environment. To accomplish this, I use modeling and analysis tools such as atmospheric chemical transport models, land use regressions, parallel computing and geostatistics. With Dr. Rodriguez, I am working to develop a model to link fine-scale land use and transportation data with measurements collected from local air quality monitors. Prior to enrolling at UNC, I worked as a data analyst for an affordable housing nonprofit specializing in transit-oriented development.
Alexander H. Kado
I am a first year master’s student at DCRP with a keen interest in sustainable transportation and infrastructure: mass transit, bicycle, and pedestrian. My post-graduate aspirations are to work for a transportation-consulting firm and manage projects focused on the implementation of sustainable transportation infrastructure. To enhance my curriculum-based studies, I aspire to aid in research that focuses on reducing private automobile reliance within city centers. I am a 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where I received bachelors in mechanical engineering. After graduation, I spent five years working for Accenture in their technology and management consulting practice.
Lindsay K. Maurer Braun
I completed my Master's degree at DCRP (with Dr. Rodriguez as an advisor) and worked as a transportation planning consultant for two years before returning to DCRP for my PhD. I am now a second year doctoral student with research interests in the connections between the built environment, active transportation, and public health. I am currently working with Dr. Rodriguez on several research initiatives that address these relationships. For one of these studies, we are using data from a travel survey in Barcelona to determine whether bicycle commuting is influenced by built environment characteristics, transportation demand management incentives, and the city's bicycle sharing program. For another study, we developed a neighborhood walkability index based on population density, land use mix, street connectivity, and parks; we are now assessing whether individuals who move residential locations (and thus experience a change in the neighborhood walkability index) also experience changes in walking, body mass index, and cardiometabolic health. Across all projects, my work explores ways to integrate health considerations into transportation planning processes and to assess the relative effectiveness of different strategies for promoting active travel and healthy communities.