October 27, 2023

Kari Watkins, Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, UC Davis


UC Davis as a Living-Learning Laboratory for Sustainable Transportation


1:40pm - 3:00pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


The College of Engineering at UC Davis has four pillars of their Next Level Research – Revolutionizing Energy Systems, Strengthening Climate Resilience, Advancing Human Health and Transforming Mobility. But we at ITS know that it is possible to transform mobility while also advancing health, minimizing climate impacts and reducing the need for energy! Individual transportation contributes to emissions, obesity risk, and injury risk through crashes, but more sustainable modes of transportation like cycling and transit can reduce these impacts. A team tied to ITS just won a mini-grant from the College of Engineering to use UC Davis and City of Davis as a model of sustainable transportation to attract students and researchers. As the PI, Dr. Watkins is focused particularly on cycling and transit, but Davis as a model of sustainable transportation could go well beyond these modes. Dr. Watkins will start this talk with her past research to use sensing to understand cycling and transit flows. She will then discuss how through instrumentation of intersections on campus, the team hopes to observe cyclist interactions to better understand design of infrastructure for safe cycling; and how by instrumenting the bus fleet, the team hopes to provide better information to riders and understand where the system becomes unreliable. The broader vision includes sharing this data and the uniquely sustainable transportation system here in Davis to show the world how a sustainable multimodal transportation system can work. Come prepared to share your own ideas of how Davis could be a living-learning laboratory.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Watkins is a recent addition to the University of California at Davis as an Associate Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering. She was previously the Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor at Georgia Tech, where her research and teaching interests focused on the use of technology and public space to encourage active and shared transportation modes. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Watkins worked for a decade as a senior transportation engineer. Dr. Watkins has published over 100 referred journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings, and has overseen more than $6.1 million in research as PI or co-PI. Dr. Watkins prides herself on the translation of research to practice. She has worked closely with public agencies throughout her career and proposed creative ways of presenting results to translate into practical findings. She served as the Director of the Transit-SCORE University Transportation Center from 2020 to 2023 and now serves as Co-Director of the ITS Davis Transit Center.

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