October 8, 2021

Scott Kelley, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Nevada


The Geographic Relationships between Stations and Places that Matter: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Adoption and Implications for Planning Future Networks


1:40pm - 3:00pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


Over 11,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) have been sold or leased in the U.S. since 2015, 2,500 of which have occurred since the first of this year. As vehicle numbers grow and other regions evaluate prospective FCV rollout, stakeholders overwhelmingly agree that successful FCV diffusion must necessarily include locating refueling stations in such a way to overcome the primary barrier to FCV adoption: the lack of a convenient refueling infrastructure. There is not agreement, though, on how best to geographically arrange stations in order to do so. Long before FCVs came to market, a range of modeling and planning approaches were developed to inform the decision of how to best locate stations, and each incorporated and prioritized geographic criteria differently. With FCV adopters now driving and refueling at stations in California, there is an opportunity to empirically evaluate this critical relationship between where early adopters live, work, and travel and the initial network of hydrogen stations in California. This research primarily focuses on how prospective adopters and key stakeholders evaluate the geographic arrangement of stations at the time they are weighing FCV adoption, which carries significant implications for future station planning efforts.

A mixed methods approach helps address this priority topic, including: 1) stated and revealed preference surveys, with subsequent spatial statistical and analysis, 2) qualitative ethnographic approaches that analyze how early adopters navigate the decision to get an FCV, and 3) a participatory planning “Geodesign” workshop that leveraged collaborative local stakeholder knowledge to plan a network of stations. This research finds that early adopters decided to get their FCV for a variety of reasons, express a wide range of what they consider to be geographically “convenient” stations, and satisfy subjective and objective geographic convenience requirements in a diversity of ways. Stakeholders collaboratively plan for an initial network of stations in ways that diverge from more prescriptive modeling approaches. This suggests that station location methods should carefully consider how to balance these geographic criteria while planning future networks of stations.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Scott Kelley is a transportation geographer whose research emphasizes the spatial dimensions of the adoption and diffusion of emerging transportation technologies and services, and the resultant impacts on cities and regions.

He has analyzed the driving and refueling behavior of early adopters of different types of alternative fuel vehicles in different geographic regions, with an emphasis on integrating these findings with future infrastructure planning methods. Other areas of active research include how and where people consider use of driverless vehicles under certain scenarios, and how early adopters of different bicycle sharing programs travel in urban areas. His research includes the development and use of GIS methods combined with spatial and statistical analysis, with an emphasis on the collection of primary data.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Wyoming, and completed both his Master’s degree and Ph.D. in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University. He was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute prior to beginning his current position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2017. He is currently serving as vice-chair of the Transportation Geography Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers.

Thank you for your interest in the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Subscribe today to keep up with the latest ITS news and happenings.

Join Our Mailing List