Our research addresses local, state and national needs
The TRC’s current research portfolio covers a wide range of transportation topics while focusing on sustainability and equity. Our research is made possible with funding from federal, state and local governments, NGOs, and private gifts.


Project preview:

Uncovering Barriers to Low-Carbon Travel to Strengthen Transportation Infrastructure in Rural Communities

Principal Investigators: Dana Rowangould, Gregory Rowangould, and Elizabeth Doran
Project Sponsor: National Science Foundation

This project fills a critical gap in knowledge about rural travel behavior by creating a novel spatially detailed panel dataset. The dataset tracks changes in travel behavior over time, supporting an analysis of peoples’ responses to changes in transportation and land use systems. This research will help small and rural communities achieve deep reductions in GHG emissions by providing insights into how to leverage transportation infrastructure investments, technology, and policies to reduce GHGs while supporting economic vitality, mobility, and equity.

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National Assessment of Near Roadway Vehicle Traffic Emissions Exposure Risk

Principal Investigator: Gregory Rowangould
Project Sponsor: Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

This research will conduct a national scale study to evaluate exposure risk to air pollution from on-road vehicle traffic in every community. The project will identify exposure risk to emissions from different types of vehicle traffic, including passenger vehicles and trucks and evaluate how exposure risk varies with the socioeconomic composition of communities.

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Evaluating Transit Use in the Post-Pandemic Era

Principal Investigators: Parsa Pezeshknejad and Dana Rowangould
Project Sponsor: National Center for Sustainable Transportation

This project will evaluate the reasons that public transit riders return (or do not return) to transit in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has decimated public transit use across the US. As automobile travel has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, transit ridership has remained substantially reduced. This project uses a survey that follows up with current and former transit users that were surveyed in Fall 2020 about their transit use. The follow up survey and analysis will evaluate factors that contribute to a return to transit with an emphasis on policy-relevant insights. The results of this work will be useful for transit agencies and policy makers seeking to plan for and expand future transit use in the post-pandemic era.

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Evaluating Support for Mileage Based User Fees in Diverse Communities and the Value of Providing Contextual Information 

Principal Investigators: Gregory Rowangould and Clare Nelson
Project Sponsor: National Center for Sustainable Transportation

Mileage based user fees (MBUFs) have been promoted as a more efficient alternative to gasoline excise taxes for over a decade. MBUFs are also seen as increasingly necessary to maintain highway funding programs as electric vehicle adoption increases and to mitigate GHG emissions by enabling congestion charging. Despite the many benefits of MBUFs, public support is deeply lacking. Some research suggests that raising the gas tax has more support than implementing a MBUF. Concerns over privacy, user costs, equity and disincentivizing the use of more efficient and electric vehicles are often cited. Several recent studies suggest that education about the purpose and implementation of MBUF programs can significantly increase support. This study aims to first evaluate support for various MBUF programs in a diverse range of community types, including small and rural communities that have not been the focus of prior research. The research team thinks the greater automobile dependence and differences in attitudes and beliefs in smaller and rural communities impact MBUF support. Then, the team will evaluate how providing individualized and place-based contextual information about the impacts of a MBUF programs modifies support. The researchers aim to identify opportunities to increase support in different community contexts through more effective public awareness campaigns.

Related Working Papers

Nelson, Clare and Rowangould, Gregory Ph.D, "The Role of Information and Education on Modifying Support for Gas Tax Alternatives using an Informed Choice Questionnaire" (2023). Transportation Research Center Research Reports. 273.

Nelson, Clare and Rowangould, Gregory Ph.D, "A Data Driven Analysis of Rural Equity and Cost Concerns for Mileage-Based User Fees in Vermont" (2022). Transportation Research Center Research Reports. 274.

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A New Method of Determining Payment for In-Place Concrete with Double-Bounded Compressive Strength Pay Factors 

Principal Investigator: James Sullivan
Co-investigators: David Novak, and Eric Hernandez
Project Sponsor: Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center

The goal of this project is to develop a new method of enforcing pay factors for payment of in-place CCS that does not rely on the Gaussian distribution and allows for the use of asymmetrical set of pay factors.

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