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UVM REACH grants to fund innovative transportation research
- By TRC Staff
Two TRC Faculty Associates, David Novak (Business Adm) and Luis Vivanco (Anthropology) were recently recognized as recipients of UVM REACH grants through the Graduate College, a new initiative that seeks to identify and promote promising research, scholarship and creative arts in all areas of the University and to encourage faculty members to envision ambitious, long-term projects that will have a substantial impact. Novak, working with TRC research analyst Jim Sullivan, will work to further develop an accessibility measure for rural areas identifying transportation network links that are most important in facilitating system-wide access to essential services. Vivanco will be advancing research to examine the intersections of culture, politics of sustainability and bicycle transportation in Bogota, Columbia, looking at the conditions under which cities can redevelop transportation systems around the principles of equity and sustainability.
This is the first year of the REACH competitive grant program. It was designed to foster conditions of possibility in which more ambitious projects, like those proposed by Vivanco and Novak, can grow with the University providing seed money, exploratory funding, leveraging capability, and similar options. It seeks to advance research with broad societal, scholarly and/or creative impact that extends beyond UVM into the community and the world.
Photos: David Novak (left) and Jim Sullivan
Novak and Sullivan’s proposal “Evaluating how Disruptions in the Roadway System Affect Accessibility to Essential Services in Vermont” builds on previous research related to rural accessibility and seeks to develop and implement a link-based accessibility measure called critical closeness accessibility (CCA). CCA is derived from concepts in network science, location science, and transportation accessibility and is used to identify the roadway links in a transportation network that are the most important in facilitating system-wide access to essential services such as hospitals and fire/rescue services. The approach is implemented using geographic information system (GIS) mapping and travel-demand modeling software and the state of Vermont’s road network. The specific areas of the state that are highly vulnerable to disruptions in the network due to events such as heavy rain, flooding, snow/ice, traffic accidents, and roadway maintenance projects are identified. Vulnerable areas include regions of the state and the surrounding populations that are at risk of becoming isolated from essential services as the result of a disruptive event.
Vivanco's research, “Culture, Politics and Sustainability of Bicycle Transportation in Bogota, Colombia,” Photo: Luis Vivanco
advances understanding of the conditions under which cities can redevelop transportation systems around principles of equity and sustainability. REACH funding leverages a Fulbright Teaching/Research Award that Vivanco secured, which will take place January-April 2014, supporting a period of initial fieldwork during summer 2013 and the ability to stay beyond the Fulbright to continue fieldwork. The work is set in Bogotá, a city recognized globally for its investments in accessible and environmentally-sustainable urban transportation initiatives, urban bicycle advocates, and everyday cyclists. The goal of this project is to track in qualitative terms how deeply, in what ways, and for whom bicycles have been woven into the fabric of everyday life; to detail how everyday bicycle use and car-free events shape individuals’ perceptions of their city and urban mobility; and to understand the role that a new political actor- the civil society bicycle advocacy group- is playing in city politics.
Visit the UVM REACH Grant webpage here