|Performance Measures and Big Data
Transportation agencies are turning to new tools, metrics, and data sources in order to make more informed decisions. Through his work at the State Smart Transportation Initiative, Chris has worked on developing methods, standards, and best practices for using these new technologies in Virginia; Madison, Wisconsin; and Sacramento, California. This work has focused on two key areas:
Accessibility measures: Metrics that describe how well the transportation system provides access to destinations, which allow for the better coordination of land use planning and multimodal infrastructure investments.
Passive travel data: Anonymous location data from cell phones and GPS devices may augment or supplant traditional surveys for calibrating travel demand models and answering detailed questions about where, when, and how people move around.
The Innovative DOT
The Innovative DOT handbook, produced by the State Smart Transportation Initiative and Smart Growth America, documents innovative state-level
strategies for meeting 21st century transportation needs. The handbook
covers funding, revenue allocation, planning, design, land use policies and organizational
Working with Smart Growth America and members of SSTI’s
professional network, Chris led the 2014 handbook update—adding new case studies
and strategies, case study updates, and a section focused on design policies and
The most current handbook is available for download on the SSTI website.
Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares
Chris joined the CNU Project for Transportation Reform in 2012 to coordinate a series of educational workshops focused on the Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares manual for transportation professionals throughout the state of Illinois and to assess obstacles to implementation of the manual.
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is the nation's leading professional organization committed to urban design for walkable areas.
Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares is recommended practice from the Institute of Transportation Engineers, co-authored by CNU and published in 2010.
Read coverage on the event from Better Cities & Towns.
Infrastructure, Built Environment, and Urban Travel Behavior
Chris' dissertation research focused on the cumulative impacts of transportation policies and design decisions in small American cities since 1960.
By compiling commuter travel data from the U.S. Census and by measuring changes in infrastructure and land use from historical aerial photographs, this work highlights the factors and impacts associated with rising automobile use in compact urban areas. Parking and land use are a key focus of this work.
For more information on this ongoing research, see Publications.
Transportation Sustainability Index
From 2008 to 2012, Chris belonged to an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Connecticut tasked with quantifying the impacts of transportation on sustainability. The resulting index accounts for environmental, social and economic impacts from transportation. It can be used to rate system performance and set long-term sustainability goals.
The index was tested using data from each of the fifty states. The figure to the right shows how each state ranks in terms of economic sustainability, as explained in Transportation Research Record 2242.
Read coverage about the project from UConn Today.
Transit Improvements in Nantucket, Massachusetts
In 2009, Remain Nantucket, a local non-profit, recruited a team of researchers from the Center for Transportation and Urban Planning (now CTLS) to study its transportation system and make recommendations for improving transit effectiveness.
Chris' team designed transit ridership and travel surveys, administered them on-site to more than 700 respondents and reported recommendations for system improvements. Those recommendations led to eventual rebranding and improved information for the transit system.
To learn more about the project, read the white paper.
Space Syntax for Bicycle Planning
Space syntax is an architectural tool developed at University College London to analyze different spatial configurations and model how space is used.
Chris' Master's thesis tested whether this method can be used to model the distribution of bicycles throughout an urban street network based on data from Cambridge, Massachusetts. This work revealed that, after accounting for the distribution of residents and employees, space syntax measures considerably improved estimates of bicycle volumes at key intersections.
This research is published in Transportation Research Record 2704.
Bicycle Planning in Avon, Connecticut
Faced with a rising number of bicycles and growing safety concerns, the Town of Avon sought assistance in outlining first steps for bicycle planning and identifying potential ideal projects for safety improvements.
Chris developed an inventory and assessment of existing conditions, which the Department of Planning and Community Development and the Department of Engineering relied on to identify initial improvements. Pilot projects are planned, pending available funds.
Read coverage from The Valley Press.