Modeling Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Exposure with Location-Based Service Data

Overview: Non-motorized transportation modes, such as walking and biking, have gained increased popularity due to the benefits of physical activity, health, psychological well-being, leisure, and improved environmental quality. Walking and biking can be facilitated or constrained by the physical form of communities in general as well as transportation system in particular. Therefore the development of walkable and bikeable environment is one effective way to encourage active living and healthy community. Increasingly, local governments are considering how community design and transportation system will impact residents’ active and healthy life style. The motivation of the research is to enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety with emerging active travel data. The main objective of the project is to develop a reliable methodology for measuring pedestrian and bicyclist exposure and analyzing associated risks.

PI and Co-PIsYunwoo Nam (PI, UNL Community and Regional Planning), Jason Hawkins (co-PI, UNL Civil and Environmental Engineering), and Don Butler (co-PI, Nebraska DOT)

Sponsor: Nebraska DOT

Duration: July 2022 - May 2024

Products: TBD

Electric Vehicle Market Analysis

Overview: The transportation sector is among the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. A key pathway to decarbonization for the sector is electrification of the private vehicle stock. This pathway is particularly important in rural areas, where transit and land use planning are less feasible options. Rural residents generally drive further than their urban counterparts, while facing a relative deficit in infrastructure investments.

Many households remain hesitant to purchase an EV due to "range anxiety" and a lack of available charging infrastructure. On the other hand, both public and private sector actors are reticent to invest in infrastructure without a known demand source. The problem is often termed a "chicken and egg" scenario because EV purchases and charging infrastructure are co-dependent. This project has several research thrusts.

1. EV & EVSE relationship - using an historical database of vehicle purchases by county for the United States, we are examing the causal relationship between EV purchases and charging infrastructure investments.

2. Electric pickup truck adoption - much of the current vehicle US fleet comprises large vehicles, including pickup trucks. These vehicle owners are unlikely to downsize their vehicle in order to own an EV. Many pickup truck owners, particularly outside large metro areas, also have utilitarian requirements for their personal vehicles. We are developing surveys, and associated discrete choice models, to ascertain the effect of these needs on the propensity to own an EV and associated range considerations.

3. Rural EV adoption - Related to the second research thrust, we are taking a deeper dive into the needs of rural residents for EV adoption. This work focuses on activity pattern analysis and public engagement.

PI and Co-PIs: Jason Hawkins (PI)

Sponsor: University of Nebraska-Lincoln (start-up) / National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Duration: February 2022 - February 2024

Products: TBD

Sustainable Resource Consumption Systems

Overview: There is a growing consensus that the prevalent neoliberalism political-economic system fails to appropriately situate the human economy within biosphere constraints. The dominant engineering narrative that ingenuity will be sufficient to overcome Nature's scarcity has also faced critism, notably in "The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review". Fundamentally, engineering design seeks to satisfy the consumptive needs and desires of a globally increasingly affluent society. We use the tools of engineering policy analysis (i.e., computational modeling and environmental impact analysis) to develop novel analytic methods for sustainable resource consumption. This research combines network science and microeconomic consumer choice theory to represent resource constrained consumption patterns.

PI and Co-PIs: Jason Hawkins (PI)

Sponsor: University of Nebraska

Duration: July 2022 - May 2024

Products: TBD

Modal Accessibility Equity in San Francisco

Overview: Transportation provides access to social and economic opportunity. Unfortunately, transportation access is not eqitably distributed across the population, with low income and minority households tending to experience lower accessibility. This research develops hierarchical (i.e., mixed) logit models using Bayesian inferential methods. Heterogeneity is explicitly captured in the model through contextual variables and specification in willingness-to-pay space. Travel survey data from the San Francisco Bay Area.

PI and Co-PIs: Sami Hasnine (PI, Howard University) and Jason Hawkins (Co-PI-, UNL)

Sponsor: None

Duration: November 2021 - September 2022

Products: TBD