UCLA Luskin Faculty Among Top 2% in Scholarly Citations

Fifteen UCLA Luskin faculty members are among the top 2% for scholarly citations worldwide in their respective fields, according to an annual study co-produced by Stanford University researchers. The 2021 report, published by Elsevier BV and included in PLOS Biology, is a publicly available database of more than 100,000 top researchers and includes updates through citation year 2020. Separate data sets are available for career-long and single-year impact. The researchers are classified into 22 scientific fields and 176 subfields, with field- and subfield-specific percentiles provided for all researchers who have published at least five papers. Top-cited current and past UCLA Luskin scholars:

Laura Abrams

Ron Avi Astor

Evelyn Blumenberg

Randall Crane

Yeheskel Hasenfeld (deceased)

Aurora P. Jackson

Duncan Lindsey

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

Ananya Roy

Robert Schilling

Donald Shoup

Michael Storper

Brian Taylor

John Villasenor

Martin Wachs (deceased)

Blumenberg on Supporting Transit Rider Mobility

Urban Planning Professor Evelyn Blumenberg spoke to the Fresno Bee about the impact that car access has on socioeconomic mobility. “There’s a very robust connection between having a car and having a job,” Blumenberg said. In Fresno, the commute times for bus riders are nearly double the commute times for car owners, and this makes it difficult to plan a sequence of trips to be on time for class or work. Blumenberg said the challenge is compounded for women, and especially mothers, who often carry the burden of taking their children to child care, school or the doctor. Fresno is working to increase the frequency of transit services to decrease commute times, but these improvements in service can have a limited impact in sprawling regions like Fresno. Blumenberg suggested building a denser network of housing and jobs, close to existing transit lines. This can help shorten travel distances, making transit more efficient and comparable to driving.

ITS, Lewis Center Win Research Awards to Help Shape California’s Future UCLA Luskin-based centers join an ambitious initiative aimed at forging strategies for the state's long-term success

Two centers housed at UCLA Luskin have received research awards from California 100, an ambitious statewide initiative to envision and shape the long-term success of the state.

The Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies will evaluate current facts, origins and future trends in housing and community development, while the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies will look into transportation and urban planning. In total, researchers from four UCLA organizations will spearhead three of the 13 California 100 research areas.

The Lewis Center will summarize California’s housing market and outline a vision for how policy changes could lead to a brighter future for the state’s residents, with a particular focus on increased equity and housing production. Working alongside cityLAB UCLA and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, the Lewis Center team will also create a visualization of this future through creative techniques of diagramming, drawing and rendering to help readers picture the possibilities for California’s communities.

UCLA ITS will delve into transportation policy contradictions: California has invested substantially in public transit, while other public policies encourage driving and work against transit. As the state looks to meet its climate and equity goals, transportation systems — and the land use context surrounding them — will play a key role.

Research for both projects is slated to begin over the summer and be complete by December 2021, and will lead to a set of policy alternatives for the future of California. The policy alternatives will be developed in conjunction with research teams from the other California 100 issue areas.

The California 100 Commission is a multi-generational advisory body that will develop recommendations for the state’s future and test those recommendations across a broad set of policy areas by directly engaging Californians.

“From climate change to aging populations and rapid changes in industry, California will face enormous challenges in the years ahead,” said Kathrick Ramakrishnan, California 100 executive director. “We are fortunate to be able to draw on the deep talent of researchers in California to produce evidence and recommendations that will inform robust public engagement and set the state on a strong, long-term trajectory for success.”

About the California 100 Research Grants

California 100 is a new statewide initiative being incubated at the University of California and Stanford University focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable and equitable. The initiative will harness the talent of a diverse array of leaders through research, policy innovation, advanced technology and stakeholder engagement. As part of its research stream of work, California 100 is sponsoring 13 research projects focused on the following issue areas:

  • Advanced technology and basic research
  • Arts, culture and entertainment
  • Education and workforce, from cradle to career and retirement
  • Economic mobility and inequality
  • Energy, environment and natural resources
  • Federalism and foreign policy
  • Fiscal reform
  • Governance, media and civil society
  • Health and wellness
  • Housing and community development
  • Immigrant integration
  • Public safety and criminal justice reform
  • Transportation and urban planning

Study Identifies Regional Patterns in COVID-Related Food Insecurity

During the COVID-19 pandemic, disadvantaged households in the San Francisco Bay Area were at higher risk of food insufficiency compared with similar households in the Los Angeles and Inland Empire regions, according to new UCLA research published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. The study was conducted by Professor Evelyn Blumenberg, director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA Luskin; Professor May Wang of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and doctoral students Miriam Pinski and Lilly Nhan. The researchers evaluated U.S. Census Bureau survey data to understand regional differences in the determinants of food insufficiency, defined simply as not having enough food to eat. The team focused on three metropolitan areas: San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley; Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim; and Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario. Overall, the rate of food insufficiency was lowest in the Bay Area, one of the state’s most affluent regions. However, the Bay Area’s disadvantaged households fared worse than their counterparts in Southern California. “Income and educational levels are higher, but income inequality and cost of living are also higher” in the Bay Area, the researchers explained. The study pointed to Los Angeles as a region where an active food distribution network was already in place, enabling governments, schools and community organizations to respond more effectively to the sudden increases in food insecurity brought about by the pandemic. The study was designed to guide the development of economic relief programs and increase the reach of federal assistance programs to address widening health disparities.


Blumenberg on Lack of Equity in Transportation Sector

Evelyn Blumenberg, urban planning professor and director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, was cited in a Bloomberg Government article about President Biden’s efforts to promote equity in his administration. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has pledged to consider the needs of minority communities when evaluating old projects or considering new ones, but he has also acknowledged the hurdles that exist — including in the Transportation Department itself. The department’s employees are 74% male and 70% white, and these demographic trends have been consistent for at least 20 years, if not longer. Many transportation projects have negatively impacted lower-income people and communities of color, an issue that has been exacerbated by the lack of diversity in transportation policy officials. Blumenberg commented that the transportation needs of low-income communities have only been “sporadically addressed” on the national level. 

Opportunities and Obstacles for Rental Housing Registries

Rental housing registries require landlords to register and report basic information about their units, assisting with building inspections and enforcement of tenant protections. Roughly a dozen California cities already have rental housing registries, including Los Angeles, and the state legislature has considered establishing a statewide registry each of the past two years. On January 20, join a slate of panelists including Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, author of recent bills to expand registries statewide, to discuss the role of rental housing registries, obstacles to their adoption, and their potential to improve our understanding of the housing market and better protect California’s renter households.


  1. What are rental housing registries being used for today? Who benefits from them?
  2. What do opponents have to say about these registries, or what other hurdles exist to their creation? In particular, how are privacy concerns being addressed?
  3. What untapped potential do rental housing registries have? What could they do that they’re not currently being used for?


  • Assembly member Buffy Wicks, California Assembly District 15
  • Catherine Bracy, Executive Director, TechEquity Collaborative

Blumenberg on Pandemic’s Impact on Transit Riders

Urban Planning Professor Evelyn Blumenberg spoke to Time about mass transit systems across the country that are floundering amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sinking ridership has fueled extreme budget shortfalls, forcing transit authorities to slash routes and delay scheduled expansions, the article said. Blumenberg, director of UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, said diminished transit services will severely impact Americans on the bottom rung of the income ladder. “Transit ridership has always been disproportionately low-income, non-white riders, immigrant riders,” Blumenberg said. “That composition is even more disproportionately poor, non-white and immigrants during the pandemic.” Congress is considering a new coronavirus relief package that is likely to include limited assistance for U.S. transit systems, the article noted, but it added that additional investments are needed to spur economic recovery and address inequality. 

Blumenberg Discusses Inequity of Flat Rate Auto Insurance

Evelyn Blumenberg, director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and professor of urban planning, answers a question on WalletHub about the different types of rates charged to California drivers. She notes that lower-income drivers tend to benefit from pay-per-mile auto insurance because they travel fewer miles, on average. But, when charged a flat rate for insurance, “their rates are significantly higher per mile than those of higher-income drivers.” Blumenberg has also answered questions previously on the consumer-oriented website.


Blumenberg and Brozen on Inaccessibility of COVID Testing Locations

Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies Director Evelyn Blumenberg and Deputy Director Madeline Brozen co-authored an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times about the accessibility of Los Angeles’ COVID-19 testing sites, most of which are drive-through locations. Public health officials have stressed the importance of testing to combat the pandemic’s spread, but the locations of testing sites are inaccessible for many Angelenos who don’t own cars. Many neighborhoods do not have a walk-in location within walking distance, and borrowing a car or taking public transit to a testing location increases risk of exposure. “If you live in a household without a car in Los Angeles County, you are much more likely to be poor, 65 or older, Black, a recent immigrant, living with a disability or uninsured,” they explained. “These same households also face higher risks of contracting COVID-19, so making sure they have access to testing is paramount.”

Low-Income Workers Still Rely on Public Transit, Blumenberg Says

Urban Planning Professor Evelyn Blumenberg spoke to USA Today about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on low-income households and workers. While transit ridership has dropped across the country since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, millions of Americans must continue riding public buses and trains to commute to work, go to the grocery store or visit the doctor. Experts say most of the people who have stopped riding public transit are white-collar workers who can work from home and who tend to be white; those who still rely on public transit, possibly putting themselves and those they encounter at risk, include many of the country’s poorest workers. “As always, higher-income households have more choices,” said Blumenberg, director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. “For low-income workers who have to take transit, they’re in a confined place, in close proximity to other people. Their problems are compounded. They have no other option.”