Nov 13, 2020


Case Studies of Travel Demand Analysis on Transport Disadvantaged Communities


1:40pm - 3:00pm


Remote instruction


Travel Demand Models are the backbone decision-making for public transportation infrastructure investment. Yet, critiques of these models with respect to their usefulness for representing travel demand for transport disadvantage communities are rare in the academic literature. With the objective of promoting travel demand models that are better equipped for assessing transportation impacts for underrepresented communities, this presentation highlights lessons learned from two case studies of applying travel demand analysis to understand the transportation accessibility of low income, elderly, and transit dependent communities. The case studies take place in two Michigan cities, Benton Harbor and Detroit. Overall, the case study findings show the importance of advancing data collection and curation approaches, as well as more carefully considering the ramifications of mis-specifying travel model structures, particularly for minority travel populations.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Tierra Bills is an Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Wayne State university. She has recently joined Wayne State (in Summer 2019) after spending 3 years as a Michigan Society Fellow and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. Prior to her fellowship at UMich, Dr. Bills worked as a Research Scientist at IBM Research Africa for 3 year, in Nairobi Kenya. 

Much of Dr. Bills’ current research focuses on investigating the social impacts of transportation projects. She develops activity-based travel-demand models to investigate individual and household-level transportation-equity effects, for the purpose of designing transportation systems that will provide more equitable returns to society. Her latest project aims to understand the potential for next generation transit systems to affect transportation equity outcomes. Her general areas of interest include Transportation equity analysis, emerging data sources for travel demand modeling, and transit design and reliability.

Dr. Bills research interests generally include discrete choice analysis and behavioral modeling, transportation planning, and emerging data sources in transportation modeling. Dr. Bills holds a B.S in Civil Engineering Technology from Florida A&M University (‘08), and M.S (’09) and PhD (’13) degrees in Transportation Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

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