April 29, 2016


Road Ecology and Transformative Change in Sustainable Transportation


1:40 pm - 3:00 pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


The life-cycle and use of transportation systems have a wide range of impacts to natural and human systems. Many of these have been studied and have led to the rise of “road ecology” as an interdisciplinary way to capture new knowledge about both impacts and solutions. Impacts include: air and water quality degradation, habitat fragmentation and degradation, reduction and loss of wildlife communities, genetic impacts on plants and wildlife species, barriers to ecological and social flows, enhanced rates of extraction from natural and social systems, and lost opportunities for protection and restoration of natural systems. The Road Ecology Center has recently included impacts of natural systems ON transportation as part of its portfolio of interests, primarily through investigation of sea level rise adaptation for coastal infrastructure. Road ecology can provide part of the platform upon which sustainable transportation must be planned, implemented, and studied.

Biographical Sketch

Biographical sketch:   Dr. Shilling has 3 main areas of research: transportation ecology, sustainability and indicator systems, and social/environmental justice issues associated with water quality policy. Of the three, transportation-related research is his primary area, strongly-related to his role as co-Director of the Road Ecology Center. The Center focuses on the educational, research, and convening roles of the University in the context of transportation system effects on natural and human systems. The Center has an international presence, with regular participation in the Infra Eco-Network Europe (IENE), International Conference on Environment and Transportation (ICOET), and Transportation Research Board (TRB) conferences, as well as membership in committees for these 3 bodies. Besides his research with the Road Ecology Center, Dr. Shilling has also developed indicator systems at various scales for different agencies in California. Supported by the Department of Water Resources, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highways Administration, and CalFire, he developed a single systematic approach to assessing sustainability in California at multiple geographic scales.

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