Gary Segura Named UCLA Luskin Dean A faculty member at Stanford since 2008, Segura is the Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor of Public Policy and professor of political science and Chicana/o studies

By George Foulsham

Gary Segura, the Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor of Public Policy and professor of political science at Stanford University, has been named new dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

“Chancellor [Gene] Block and I are confident that Gary will provide outstanding leadership as dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs,” Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh said in an announcement.

Segura’s anticipated start date is Jan. 1, 2017. He will succeed Lois Takahashi, who has served as interim dean since August 2015.

“I am honored and excited to be selected as dean of the Luskin School of Public Affairs, and to come to UCLA,” Segura said. “The Luskin School and its distinguished faculty represent an outstanding intellectual community whose work makes important contributions in addressing human problems at the individual, community, national and global levels. The three nationally prominent departments and the affiliated centers are asking and answering critical questions about the challenges — personal and structural — that real people face every day.  It will be my privilege to join them and do whatever I can to broaden and deepen their impact in Los Angeles, across California and beyond.”

A member of the Stanford faculty since 2008, Segura is also a professor and former chair of Chicana/o-Latina/o studies. Additionally, he is a faculty affiliate of African and African American studies; American studies; feminist, gender and sexuality studies; Latin American studies; and urban studies. In addition, he is the director of the Center for American Democracy and the director of the Institute on the Politics of Inequality, Race and Ethnicity at Stanford.

In 2010, Segura was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining Stanford, he was a member of the faculty at the University of Washington, the University of Iowa, Claremont Graduate University and UC Davis.

Segura received a bachelor of arts magna cum laude in political science from Loyola University of the South, and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on issues of political representation and social cleavages, the domestic politics of wartime public opinion and the politics of America’s growing Latino minority.

Segura has published more than 55 articles and chapters, and he is a co-editor of “Diversity in Democracy: Minority Representation in the United States” and a co-author of four books: “Latino America: How America’s Most Dynamic Population is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation”; “Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior, and Policy Preferences”; “The Future is Ours: Minority Politics, Political Behavior, and the Multiracial Era of American Politics”; and “Latino Lives in America: Making It Home.”

Active in professional service, Segura is a past president of the Western Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association and Latino Caucus in Political Science. From 2009 to 2015, he was the co-principal investigator of the American National Election Studies. Segura has also briefed members of Congress and senior administration officials on issues related to Latinos, served as an expert witness in three marriage equality cases heard by the Supreme Court, and has filed amicus curiae briefs on subjects as diverse as voting rights, marriage equality and affirmative action.

“I am thrilled that Gary Segura is taking the helm as the next dean of the Luskin School,” Takahashi said. “He is the perfect leader to bring the Luskin School into its next phase of growth. I look forward to working with him on what I know will be a smooth transition.”

In his announcement, Waugh praised Takahashi and the search committee.

“I want to thank search/advisory committee members for assembling an outstanding pool of candidates and for their roles in recruiting Gary,” Waugh said. “I also want to recognize and thank Lois Takahashi for her distinguished leadership of the school as interim dean during the past year.”

The search committee was chaired by Linda Sarna, interim dean, UCLA School of Nursing; professor and Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Endowed Chair in Nursing. Other members were: Rosina Becerra, professor of social welfare; Evelyn Blumenberg, professor and chair, Department of Urban Planning; Michael Chwe, professor of political science; Todd Franke, professor and chair, Department of Social Welfare; Vickie Mays, professor of psychology, and of health policy and management; Mark Peterson, professor and chair, Department of Public Policy, and professor of political science and of law; Susan Rice, chair, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Board of Advisors, and senior consulting associate, Brakeley Briscoe Inc.; Daniel Solorzano, professor of social sciences and comparative education, GSE&IS; and Abel Valenzuela Jr., professor and chair, César Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies, and professor of urban planning.

Spring Issue Of ACCESS Magazine Now Available This issue of ACCESS Magazine covers all kinds of transportation: airplanes, cars, public transit, and running. There’s even a nod to ice-skating.

ACCESS Magazine is edited by Donald Shoup, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning, Emeritus, at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

SPRING 2016 Contents:

Going the Extra Mile: Intelligent Energy Management of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Kanok Boriboonsomsin, Guoyuan Wu, and Matthew Barth

If you were a hybrid vehicle owner and you were driving down the freeway, would you know the best time to use gas and the best time to use the battery? Probably not, and most hybrid cars don’t know either. In fact, most plug-in hybrids just deplete their battery completely before switching to gas, which is actually an inefficient use of energy.

In “Going the Extra Mile: Intelligent Energy Management of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles,” Kanok Boriboonsomsin, Guoyuan Wu, and Matthew Barth explore how hybrids can better manage battery use to get an extra five to ten miles out of each gallon of gas. By incorporating real-time information on where a car is, where it’s going, traffic levels, incline, and a host of other variables, an intelligent management strategy can save fuel and reduce emissions by 10 to 12 percent.

Manage Flight Demand or Build Airport Capacity? 

Megan S. Ryerson and Amber Woodburn

Imagine you’re at the airport and the security checkpoint is crowded. You finally reach your gate but your flight is delayed because the runway is full. “Why don’t they build more runways?” you ask, but maybe that’s not the right question.

In their article, “Manage Flight Demand or Build Airport Capacity?” Megan Ryerson and Amber Woodburn discuss two ways to manage air traffic congestion: adding runways or shifting flights through demand management. Often local governments and airport authorities think that airport expansion equates to economic development even though there is little research to back this theory. Meanwhile, demand management strategies, like congestion pricing, aren’t even considered as an option to reduce air traffic congestion. Why is this the case — and should our priorities change?

A Driving Factor in Moving to Opportunity
Evelyn Blumenberg and Gregory Pierce

Does living in a wealthier area mean you’ll get a better job? Or any job? The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) Program was an experiment that provided housing vouchers to low-income households, some of whom had to use the vouchers in wealthier neighborhoods. The research showed, however, that the location of the housing vouchers had no effect on employment. So what did affect employment?

In “A Driving Factor in Moving to Opportunity,” Evelyn Blumenberg and Gregory Pierce show that employment in the MTO program was affected most by access to transportation. They discovered that, while transit access was associated with maintaining employment, having a car was associated with maintaining and even gaining employment over time. The results suggest that policies to promote car access may be the best way to connect low-income workers with jobs.

Investing in Transportation while Preserving Fragile Environments

Martin Wachs and Jaimee Lederman

Have you ever seen a moose hitching a ride so that he could continue roaming several miles from where he started? Neither have I. But when governments approve transportation projects, they often offset the environmental costs by preserving dispersed tracts of land, sometimes hundreds of miles from each other. Instead of preserving several pieces of land in different areas, wouldn’t it be better to preserve large connected expanses?

In their recent article, “Investing in Transportation while Preserving Fragile Environments,” Martin Wachs and Jaimee Lederman discuss regional mitigation efforts through the use of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs). HCPs include a list of transportation projects, their potential biological impacts, and ways to mitigate such impacts on a broad scale. By bundling mitigation requirements, transportation projects can save time, money, and habitats. 

Cutting the Cost of Parking Requirements

Donald Shoup

How many parking spaces should be required for each house? Each restaurant? Each zoo? Most developers have to adhere to “minimum parking requirements,” but those requirements are often created without any research into what the market actually demands.

In his article, “Cutting the Cost of Parking Requirements,” Donald Shoup argues that we should remove minimum parking requirements because they’re creating vast expanses of empty parking lots instead of the walkable neighborhoods we all desire. And the cost of these parking spaces is shocking. A single parking space can cost more to build than the net worth of many American households, yet those households end up sharing the cost burden of parking requirements. It may not solve every injustice, but reducing or removing minimum parking requirements can be a step towards a more equitable society.

ALMANAC: Running to Work 

Robert Cervero

There’s a way to get to work that actually reduces your stress levels, has no traffic, and lets you skip the gym at the end of the day. We’re talking about the latest — and sweatiest — trend in commuting: the run commute.

In his article, “Running to Work,” Robert Cervero explores this new form of active travel that’s taking congested cities by storm. But what would make someone want to run all the way into work? In a survey of run commuters ¾ and by trying it himself ¾ Cervero finds that these vehicle-less travelers benefit most from being outdoors, reducing stress, cutting down on costs, and saving time by exercising during their commute. Of course, there are challenges as well, such as the logistics of getting clean clothes to the office. But if employers can help encourage run-commuting with some on-site showers and a free breakfast, their employees will be healthier for it.

Urban Planning Faculty Ranked Most Influential In new study, UCLA Luskin department listed as No. 1 in North America for scholarly citations

By Stan Paul

Topping Harvard, UC Berkeley, NYU, USC and MIT, the Department of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has once again been named the most influential planning school in North America, according to a recently published study.

The analysis was conducted by Thomas W. Sanchez of Virginia Tech, who measured citations of planning scholarship. Citations measure the number of times that publications by one author are referred to, or cited, by other authors. Citations are the most common measure of scholarly influence.

Using the median number of Google Scholar citations per faculty member, Sanchez, a professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech, compared the top 25 planning schools. For the second straight year, UCLA remained at the top. Others in the top 10 are Harvard, UC Berkeley, New York University, USC, Tufts University, University of Minnesota, MIT, University of Maryland and Rutgers.

Ranking faculty in terms of the median number of citations measures the scholarly influence of the typical faculty member in a program, which reflects the overall scholarly influence of an entire faculty.

“That Urban Planning at UCLA ranks first in the median number of citations among all North American planning programs reflects the impressive productivity and influence of our faculty across the board,” said Evelyn Blumenberg, professor and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning.

In addition to being broadly productive and influential as reflected by median citations, Urban Planning professor Michael Storper was the second-most-cited planning scholar out of nearly 900 evaluated in the analysis, with more than 28,000 citations. Sanchez, whose article appears in the “Journal of Planning Education and Research,” writes that his methodology (using Google Scholar data) includes citations “beyond traditional peer-reviewed publications.”

“Recent trends in bibliometrics suggest that including a wider variety of scholarship is especially applicable to the field of urban planning,” said Sanchez, adding that citation data analysis indicates programs that have “relatively high levels of scholarly activity, as well as identifying the planning academics that are generating citations.”

The full article, “Faculty Performance Evaluation Using Citation Analysis: An Update,” may be found at http://jpe.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/03/16/0739456X16633500.full.pdf+html.

In Memoriam: Jacqueline Leavitt (1939 – 2015), Professor Emerita of Urban Planning

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UCLA Urban Planning scholar, committed teacher and mentor, and community activist dedicated to social justice passes away following distinguished career.

By Stan Paul

The UCLA Urban Planning Department mourns the loss of Professor Emerita of Urban Planning Jacqueline “Jackie” Leavitt who passed away November 27 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 76.

Professor Leavitt’s research during her decades-long career focused on housing and community development policy, public housing, and the multiple meanings of home, among many other urban and social issues. As a founder of the American Planning Association (APA) Planning and Women Division she is considered a pioneer in research on gender and community development. Additionally, her work brought to light the ways in which low-resourced populations managed to live, work, and survive in cities and regions across the globe.

“I entered urban planning believing in its ability to support social movements through both rigorous research and ethical practice,” she said in a 2008 interview by Progressive Planning Magazine. “In a country where rights are being usurped, and where the government has an ability to demolish public housing…, I still hold to beliefs for social and economic justice, and have tried to develop ways to bring those themes into my classrooms, not as an afterthought but an integral and basic goal.”

“Jackie loved her students, cared for her friends, had passion for her work and community activism. She was as comfortable inspiring her students to change the world, or talking at international gatherings for the rights of the poor, as she was holding the hand of public housing tenants and bringing holiday gifts to their children. We will miss her greatly,” said UCLA Luskin Associate Dean Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris.

An award winning scholar, Professor Leavitt was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to study the privatization of rental housing in New Zealand and Los Angeles, and won first place in the “New American House” competition earlier in her career. She studied the impact of privatization on tenants living in public housing and led projects that helped community organizations reverse disinvestment in underprivileged urban areas. Most recently, she worked with UCLA Emeritus Law Professor Gary Blasi to study the working conditions of taxi drivers in Los Angeles, expanding this research to include women taxi drivers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.

Professor Leavitt held both master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Urban Planning from Columbia University, where she is recognized as one of the school’s outstanding practitioners and a central figure in the feminist movement within Urban Planning.

She came to UCLA in 1983 as a visiting lecturer after teaching posts in prestigious planning programs at Columbia University, New York University (NYU), Cornell and City University of New York, and taught continuously in the UCLA Urban Planning Department for the last 32 years. Throughout her career, Professor Leavitt was a committed teacher and mentor, serving as faculty director of the Urban Planning Department’s undergraduate Urban and Regional Studies minor and teaching undergraduate courses in Urban Planning and UCLA’s Undergraduate Honors Collegium. Since 1999, she served as the director of the UCLA Urban Planning Department’s Community Scholars Program, a joint program with the UCLA Labor Center (a unit of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, IRLE), bringing labor and community leaders together with urban planning graduate students to conduct applied research projects. Professor Leavitt’s work “embodied her deep commitment to participatory planning, and both brought the university into the community and brought the community into the university,” said Chris Tilly, IRLE Director and Professor of Urban Planning.

The impact of her research and practice was far reaching. She served as a consultant to nonprofit resident groups, the Swedish Council for Building Research, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the New York City Housing Preservation and Development Agency. She also served on the Nickerson Gardens Community Development Corporation, which was formed to assist one of the largest public housing projects in Los Angeles.

“Jackie Leavitt was a fierce and stalwart critic of the systems and forces that marginalized so many. She was strong willed and articulate, and creative and innovative. That combination of fierceness and creativity is how I will remember her. She was one in a million,” said Luskin Interim Dean Lois Takahashi.

“Jackie was a long time Urban Planning colleague whose passionate commitment to social justice touched every aspect of her research and teaching on housing, gender, labor, and community development. She will be greatly missed by many of us,” said Evelyn Blumenberg, Professor and Chair of the UCLA Department of Urban Planning.

Professor Leavitt is survived by her brother Howard Leavitt and his family. A celebration of her life will be held in Los Angeles and New York (locations to be determined), where her ashes will be distributed. The UCLA Department of Urban Planning will hold a gathering in celebration of her life on Sunday, March 6 at UCLA.

In Memoriam: Edward Soja (1940-2015), Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning Edward Soja, UCLA scholar and Urban Planning faculty member, passed away

By Stan Paul

Edward Soja, longtime UCLA scholar and Urban Planning faculty member, passed away Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015 in Los Angeles at the age of 75.

Dr. Soja was born in New York in 1940. He earned his Ph.D. in Geography from Syracuse University and began his career as a specialist on Africa at Northwestern University. After being recruited to UCLA in 1972, he began focusing his research on urban restructuring in Los Angeles, as well as the critical study of cities and regions. His interests were wide-ranging, including questions of regional development, planning and governance, and the spatiality of social life.

“Ed was a towering figure in the fields of urban planning and the social sciences and a strong force in the Department of Urban Planning for almost 40 years,” said Evelyn Blumenberg, Professor and Chair of Urban Planning. “His insight, wit and leadership will be greatly missed.”

His numerous publications, as writer, editor and collaborator — with fellow UCLA Urban Planning faculty, scholars from across the United States and around the world — include, Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places (1996), The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century (1996, co-edited with Allen J. Scott), Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions (2000), and Seeking Spatial Justice (2010).

His most recent book, My Los Angeles: From Urban Restructuring to Regional Urbanization (2014), covered more than four decades of urban development in Los Angeles as well as other urban regions. In his introduction, Soja wrote of Los Angeles:

“Its iconic imagery provokes exaggeration, fomenting emotionally excessive repulsion as well as unbridled attraction….Further complicating any understanding of the actual place, Los Angeles for the past century has been a fountainhead of imaginative fantasy, emitting a mesmerizing force that obscures reality by eroding the difference between the real and the imagined, fact and fiction.”

“Ed Soja was respected globally for his innovation in conceptualizing ‘the urban’ and his teaching and mentoring of scholars,” said Lois Takahashi, Interim Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. “But I will remember him most for his enthusiastic greetings, his incisive humor and his inspiring curiosity. I will miss him terribly.”

During his long and distinguished career as a scholar at UCLA, Dr. Soja also devoted himself to teaching both graduate and undergraduate students and serving as doctoral academic advisor to numerous Ph.D. candidates from the Department of Urban Planning. In addition to courses on regional and international development, he also taught courses in urban political economy and planning theory. He was also a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, in The Cities Program, an international center for architects, engineers, city planners, social scientists, community groups, public servants and leaders in the private sector.

Most recently, Dr. Soja received the Vautrin-Lud International Prize for Geography for 2015. This award, often known as the ‘Nobel Prize of Geography’, was announced during the 26th International Festival of Geography. This prize honors the career of a distinguished geographer whose work has been very influential within and beyond the discipline. Unfortunately, Dr. Soja was unable to be present at the event in Saint-Dié, France and could not deliver the customary plenary lecture. Instead, his work was explored in an effective round table discussion between many of his international peers.

“Ed Soja’s passing is a great loss to the Urban Planning department,” said Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Professor of Urban Planning and Associate Dean of the School of Public Affairs. “He was a giant in the field of social sciences, someone whose work has inspired and will continue to inspire us for generations. His recent award of the Vautrin Lud Prize or ‘Geography’s Nobel Prize’ underlined the enormity of his contributions to our field.”

As his friend and former UCLA graduate student, Costis Hadjimichalis, recently said, “Edward Soja has now gone to his own personal ‘Third Space.’”

A gathering in celebration of his life will be held Monday, January 25 from 4:00PM-6:00PM at the UCLA Faculty Center, Sequoia Room.

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs will establish the Edward Soja Memorial Fellowship in his memory.

Evelyn Blumenberg

Evelyn Blumenberg’s research examines the effects of urban structure — the spatial location of residents, employment, and services — on economic outcomes for low-wage workers, and on the role of planning and policy in shaping the spatial structure of cities.

Her recent projects include analyses of the residential location and travel behavior of young adults, the travel behavior of immigrants, the relationship between automobile ownership and employment outcomes among the poor, and predatory auto lending.

Professor Blumenberg was honored in 2014 as a White House Champion of Change for her research on the links between transportation access, employment, and poverty.

Professor Blumenberg holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.

She teaches courses on planning history and theory, research design, poverty and inequality, transportation and poverty, and urban policy.

LinkedIn profile

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

A Driving Factor in Mobility? Transportation’s Role in Connecting Subsidized Housing and Employment Outcomes in the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) Program
Forthcoming in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Brother Can you Spare a Ride? Carpooling in Immigrant Neighborhoods
Published in Urban Studies, 51(9), 2014.

Civil Liberties and the Regulation of Public Space: The Case of Sidewalks in Las Vegas
Blumenberg, Evelyn and Renia Ehrenfeucht (2008). “Civil Liberties and the Regulation of Public Space: The Case of Sidewalks in Las Vegas,” Environment and Planning A, 40(2): 303-322.

There’s a Brand New Vocabulary on the Streets, Says NYC Planning Rock Star UCLA Regents’ Lecturer Janette Sadik-Khan Discusses Designing the 21st-Century City.

By Stan Paul

New York has long been known for its colorful language, distinctive regional accents and even its own definition of time: the proverbial “New York minute.”

But, while New Yorkers are still in a hurry, “There’s a brand new vocabulary on the streets,” said UCLA Regents’ lecturer and former commissioner of New York City Department of Transportation, Janette Sadik-Khan, who spoke to a full house Wednesday evening at UCLA. The event was part of the UCLA Luskin Welcome Week.

Sadik-Khan, who was appointed in 2007 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ran the department until 2013 and is currently a principal with Bloomberg Associates.

“You will see that there is a sea-change in what the streets of New York look like. There’s a brand new vocabulary on the street that didn’t used to be there,” she said. Throughout the evening, Sadik-Khan provided case studies and data about the many innovations and improvements that have occurred in recent years. These included transforming Times Square – “a crossroads of the world” —  into a pedestrian friendly place, expansion of bus service routes, the creation of the largest bike share program in U.S. and the addition of 400 miles of bicycle lanes, to name just a few.

“New Yorkers now talk about traffic calming. New Yorkers now talk about bike sharing. New Yorkers now talk about way-finding, said Sadik-Khan, adding, “There is just a completely different set of transportation options and designs on the streets of New York. Once known as the ‘mean streets’ I think they’ve really changed.” She noted that younger people today are looking for choices that include not taking on the burden of car ownership. This is important because “The choices we make today about how we prioritize our streets…has worldwide implications for generations to come.”

Sadik-Khan is acclaimed for her work to transform the transportation system in New York City. The crowd that filled the hall was made up of students, alumni, faculty and city and community leaders who work in the field. At the start of the evening, Sadik-Khan was introduced to the podium by Evelyn Blumenberg, chair of the UCLA Department of Urban Planning at the Luskin School of Public Affairs, who acknowledged Sadik-Khan’s renown in the transportation world.

“So often we hear about the many urban problems facing large urban areas…bankruptcy, poverty, poor urban design, traffic congestion, pollution and on,” said Blumenberg. “It’s awesome when someone in my own line of work achieves rock star status and tremendous visibility for helping to address some of these problems.”

“I’m really honored to be here with you as the Regents’ Lecturer at the Luskin School. I think the work is extraordinary, what you are doing here,” said Sadik-Khan.

During her lecture, Sadik-Khan outlined how increasing the safety and sustainability of a city is not just a single strategy, but “a panoply” that includes creating plazas and walkways and even creating places for people to just sit, putting “new life into old spaces.”

“Streets are our most valuable asset in cities and yet our street designs haven’t taken into account the ways people want to use them,” she said. “This dysfunction has somehow become accepted. We’ve become used to our streets as being out of balance.”

Sadik-Khan concluded the lecture with a word of caution and advice. Recounting the ways the media reported negatively on the changes she implemented in New York City, she explained that, “when you push the status quo, it can push back.” She added: “We are simply not going to create healthier, safer, more sustainable cities with the strategies that we followed up till now, that ignore all the other ways that a street is used.”

Her recommendation to the diverse audience of planners, academics, citizens and those who work daily in city government on these problems was this: “All sorts of new options are taking hold and planners need to adapt to these new changes and understand the way people want to get around. And we’re really just starting to glimpse what this shared economy means for transportation and cities.”

Following her presentation, transportation planning expert and Urban Planning Professor Emeritus Martin Wachs led a lively and informative question and answer session.

In addition to her Regents’ Lecture, Sadik-Khan was a guest speaker at an Urban Planning graduate course at the Luskin School on Thursday.

 

Blumenberg Named White House ‘Champion of Change’

White House Honors “Champions of Change” for Transportation

WASHINGTON, DC – Tomorrow, the White House will honor eleven local heroes who are “Champions of Change” for their exemplary leadership to ensure that transportation facilities, services, and jobs help individuals and their communities connect to 21st century opportunities. These individuals are leading the charge across the country building connectivity, strengthening transportation career pathways, and making connections between transportation and economic growth.

Across the Federal government, the Administration has been dedicated to providing “ladders of opportunity” for all Americans, by investing in connecting communities to centers of employment, education, and services, and is calling for greater emphasis on those initiatives supporting this outcome. Recent research has found that social mobility varies by geography, and poor transportation access is a factor preventing lower income Americans from gaining higher income levels than their parents. Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity through connectivity, job creation, and economic growth. Recognizing social mobility as a defining trait of America’s promise, access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation is critical.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live at 10:00 am EST on May 13, 2014. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.

Dr. Evelyn Blumenberg Ph.D. UP ’90, Professor and Chair of Urban Planning, UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs 
Los Angeles, CA

Professor Evelyn Blumenberg’s research examines the effects of urban structure—the spatial location of residents, employment, and services—on economic outcomes for low-wage workers, and on the role of planning and policy in shaping the spatial structure of cities. Evelyn has investigated the travel behavior of special population groups including low-income adults, immigrants, and youth; the effects of the economy on the travel behavior and transportation assets in low-income communities; and the relationship between residential location, automobile ownership, and employment outcomes among the poor. Evelyn is recommended for Ladders of Opportunity because her current research examines (1) travel behavior of low-income adults; (2) the transportation expenditure burden; and (3) the relationship between transportation and the economic outcomes of low-income families.

Josh Baker, General Manager, Radford Transit, New River Valley Community Services
Blacksburg, VA

Josh is the leader of a major investment in the development of a brand new Public Transit system in the City of Radford, Virginia. He pioneered the concept and worked with community leaders, local university administration, state officials and the Federal Transit Administration to garner support for a much needed community service. Josh dedicated his work and time over the course of three years to help make the new service a reality. It’s the first time in over 30 years there has been any transit available to the City of Radford, and it was badly needed. Radford Transit has grown rapidly providing over 325,000 passenger trips annually, even providing transfer connections throughout the entire region. Now residents can move effortlessly and reach their destinations within and between the communities of Radford, Pulaski County, Montgomery County and the Towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

Dan Burden, Director of Innovation and Inspiration, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
Port Townsend, WA

Dan Burden is the Director of Innovation and Inspiration for the nonprofit Walkable and Livable Communities Institute. For more than 35 years he has worked to inspire leaders in 3500 cities on ways to design cities for people first; still accommodating the auto. His work helps define the future of transportation; and is now celebrated with thousands of new innovations giving full support to walking, bicycling, transit, and living in place; driving less, enjoying life more. Dan has proven his ability to energize leaders of towns and cities to help them frame and focus on their assets, get beyond their barriers, raise the bar in design of place. He has an ability to help them focus on their values and become believers in their future, achieving their hopes and dreams, and once momentum is gained, expand to the rebuilding of their entire community.

Anthony Chiarello, President and CEO, TOTE
Princeton, NJ

Anthony has led TOTE to build the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered container ships in the world; TOTE is the first maritime company in the U.S. to convert its entire fleet to natural gas. As a result of his vision and leadership, natural gas suppliers are now creating distribution networks in major U.S. ports, making gas available to all transportation modes in those markets. Natural gas powered ships will achieve emissions reductions far below even the world’s most stringent regulatory standards. These emissions reductions will have long-lasting and far-reaching positive effects on the health and safety of citizens along the U.S. coastline, particularly in Washington, Alaska, Florida, and Puerto Rico where TOTE ships are part of the critical domestic supply chain. As the adoption of natural gas fuel spreads, air emissions will be lowered along the coastline as part of the North American Emissions Control Area, and additional environmental benefits will accrue in ports, on roads, and rail lines.

Greer Gillis, Area Manager of Parsons Brinckerhoff
Washington, DC

Greer Gillis is the Washington, D.C. Area Manager of Parsons Brinckerhoff, where she oversees transportation services staff in managing various infrastructure, planning, and design projects as well as leading client relations management, business development, and financial oversight for activities in the metropolitan Washington DC area.     She is the Vice President of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Washington, DC chapter and serves as National Chair of its “Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation” Awards Committee.  She is also a past President of the Women’s Transportation Seminar International’s Washington, D.C. Chapter. Throughout her career, she has served as a role model and advocate for building a diverse transportation workforce.

Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
Berkeley, CA

For over 25 years, Marilyn Golden has led national system-change efforts that broaden the rights of people with disabilities to transportation. Marilyn has played a key role in federal policy development in the interconnected areas of transportation and architectural barriers. She has been a strong advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) throughout all the stages of its proposal, passage, and implementation, as well as a forceful watchdog through its many stages of regulatory interpretation and the regular challenges to its strong mandates. Her advocacy has been focused on a broad range of transportation issues—including fixed route buses, all forms of passenger rail systems, ADA complementary paratransit, privately-funded over-the-road buses, taxis, airport shuttles, as well as air travel. As a national transportation advocate, she has led the struggle for many of the policy victories during and since the ADA to provide better public transportation for people with disabilities. Marilyn served on the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board from 1996-2005 as a very strong and effective advocate for the interests of people with disabilities.

Daphne Izer, Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT)
Lisbon, ME

Daphne Izer founded the nonprofit safety organization Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) after losing her son Jeff in a fatigue related truck crash that killed three other teenagers and seriously injured a fourth. Daphne has worked tirelessly to advance truck safety in order to help prevent other families from suffering a similar, devastating loss. PATT has focused its efforts on reducing truck driver fatigue, seeking a requirement for the use of technology to accurately record truck driver hours behind the wheel and reduce falsification of driving logs, and to promoting safe trucking. Recently, PATT took another step toward realizing its goal of requiring electronic logging devices (ELDs) in commercial trucks when the FMCSA released the NPRM for the ELD rule. This May, as PATT marks its twentieth anniversary, Daphne is recognized for her instrumental work in bringing attention to the urgent need for change in truck safety policy and programs, with a focus on reducing truck driver fatigue.

Flavio Leo, Deputy Director, Aviation Planning and Strategy, Massachusetts Port Authority
Newton, MA

Flavio has played a key role applying innovative transportation technology to enhance airport safety, security and equitable access at MassPort Airport in Boston. This includes the implementation of aircraft related noise mitigation strategies for the surrounding urban communities and the greater Boston region , leading to an enhanced quality of life. Through his leadership, transparency and enhanced public participation, he has established a relationship with over 30 diverse communities, which have had a long history of engagement with Massport and the FAA. He has been the leader and “face of Massport” on an innovative program to address airport noise and other safety and technology improvements, which can be applied nationwide.  Flavio was selected for his leadership and coordination for the implementation of a set of noise reduction strategies created with extensive community participation and implemented that will reduce aircraft noise impacts to the greater Boston area including to nearby disadvantaged communities.

Susan Park Rani, President, Rani Engineering
Minneapolis, MN

Susan Park Rani is an inspiration and a role model for women, minorities, immigrants, and virtually anyone with a desire to pursue the American Dream and start their own business. As a leader in the transportation field, she has demonstrated that opportunities in this industry are widespread and growing—and open to all who wish to acquire the necessary skills and participate. Rani, born in South Korea, moved with her family to the United States as a child, speaking no English. She ultimately obtained a degree in civil engineering, and in 1993, at the age of 34, founded one of the first woman-and-minority-owned engineering firms in Minnesota where she grew up, with just two employees. Over the years, the company has been involved in a number of high-profile transportation projects, and today, Rani Engineering employs 50 people, the company grosses over $5 million a year, and anticipates doubling in size within the next five years. In 2012, Rani Engineering was named the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Contractor of the Year by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Big John Smith, Transportation Director, Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes, Joint Business Council
Fort Washakie, WY

For the past 25 years, “Big John Smith” has served as the Transportation Director for the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes’ Joint Business Council on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming.  Big John is also the Rocky Mountain Regional Representative on the Tribal Transportation Committee, and the Executive Director of the Intertribal Transportation Association. Big John has succeeded in improving the reservation’s transportation infrastructure (highways and bridges), has led the effort to dramatically cut alcohol-involved crashes and fatalities on the Wind River Reservation.  He has worked with tribal leaders to toughen tribal laws to enhance seat belt compliance, and has led the effort to use positive messaging to educate drivers of all ages about the dangers of drinking and driving.  His love for the people of Wind River has been instrumental in building relationships with tribal, local, county, state and federal partners to save lives.

Wanda Vazquez, Regional Traffic Safety Liaison, Rincon Family Services
Chicago, IL

Wanda Vazquez has been an active mentor and trainer for Hispanic advocates in the Chicago area helping them become certified child passenger safety technicians. As a motivational instructor, she teaches students how to correctly install car seats and help families understand the importance of safe transportation for their children. Once the training is completed, the students become nationally certified and are able to staff car seat inspection stations or participate in community events. Statistics show that Hispanic children are at a greater risk than non-Hispanic children for injuries and death in traffic crashes because their restraint use is low. Often times this is because their parents are from home countries where car seat use is not the norm. By training Hispanic advocates on how to correctly install car seats and the value of occupant protection, they can in turn go into the Hispanic community where they are welcomed and are able to teach families the importance of keeping their children and themselves safety secured whenever they travel. Ms. Vazquez also served as the Diversity Representative on the National Child Passenger Safety Board and was instrumental in translating materials into Spanish and ensuring that the concerns of the Hispanic community were heard. Wanda is a recommended Champion for her active role as a mentor and trainer for Hispanic advocates in the Chicago.

 

Study Shows Access to Cars Important for the Poor

A new study co-authored by professor and chair of Urban Planning Evelyn Blumenberg is getting some play in the media for its unique, and possibly controversial, findings concerning automobile access for low-income households.

The Washington Post’s Emily Badger writes: “In many circles – among advocates for cleaner air, safer streets, less congestion and public transit – it’s a major policy goal to get people out of cars. Reduce car use, and you reduce pollution. Reduce car use, and we’ll need fewer costly roads and parking garages. Reduce car use and shift more people onto bikes and trains, and maybe we’ll all spend less of our lives idling in traffic.”

“This line of thinking, however, seldom considers a group of people for whom more car use might actually be a very good thing: the poor.”

The study, titled “Driving to Opportunity: Understanding the Links among Transportation Access, Residential Outcomes, and Economic Opportunity for Housing Voucher Recipients” examined low-income families in 10 cities who participated in two federal housing voucher programs. According to the study, housing voucher recipients with cars lived and remained in higher-opportunity neighborhoods. Data from participants in the Moving to Opportunity housing voucher program showed that those with cars were twice as likely to find a job and four times as likely to stay employed. The study notes that this is not necessarily because cars are better than mass transit, but because public transit systems are usually slower or insufficient in metropolitan areas.

In a blog post reprinted in Atlantic Cities, the study’s co-author Rolf Pendall of the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center explains that more research is needed to determine if the relationship between cars and improved neighborhood and employment outcomes is causal or associative. However, he notes that the current findings are “enough to raise important questions.”

Badger says: “All of these findings are as much a reflection on the value of cars as the relatively poor state of public transit. The underlying issue also isn’t so much that cars create opportunity. Rather, it’s that we’ve created many places where you can’t access opportunity without a car. Which also means that we’ve created places that punish people who don’t have one (or can’t afford to get one). That’s a much larger critique.”