October 19, 2012


Flash in the Pan: Transportation and the 2010 Buzz Word “Livability”


1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m


1065 Kemper Hall


One might define transportation systems that create “livability” as systems that work with land use to give everyone multiple travel choices for meeting their daily mobility needs
affordably, safely, conveniently, and efficiently. This does not represent a particularly innovative thought for academics in many transportation-related disciplines. But it does represent a major
change in how most agencies have viewed and managed their transportation programs in the United States. In 2009, the US DOT presented livability principles as a foundation for a new vision and
direction for federal transportation policy. By 2010, the hype within the transportation community was at its peak and many were grappling with defining the latest buzz word. Are sustainability and
livability the same or different concepts? Is safety part of livability? Who has data on livability and how do we measure this? Livability was a particularly short-lived buzz word in the transportation world, practically
disappearing early in 2011. There are numerous hypotheses for this short life. Ultimately, even if the hype has slowed, it is a good idea for researchers and educators to consider it a bit longer.
Although transportation for livability is admittedly very complex, related efforts continue and a widespread focus will return at a future time in the form of some other buzz word. Next time, we
must have a better answer for how new, novel, and comprehensive approaches will advance us beyond our current transportation system.

Biographical Sketch

Lisa Aultman-Hall Ph.D. is a Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Vermont. From 2006-2011, Lisa served as the founding director of the UVM Transportation Research Center. Lisa’s research group studies travel behavior with real world data including accessibility, bicycle travel, tailpipe emissions, EV adoption, roundabouts and long distance travel. Lisa focuses on innovative travel data collection with on-board GPS, unconventional video applications, and recently web-based surveys.
In October 2010, Dr. Aultman-Hall chaired the Transportation Research Board – USDOT UTC Spotlight Conference on Transportation Systems for Livable Communities. She is currently serving on the TRB Task Force for New Directions for the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). Lisa was previously an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut and Director of the Connecticut Transportation Institute. She is at UC Davis ITS on research leave for the 2012-2013 academic year.

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