• Parsa Pezeshknejad installs a traffic camera on a utility pole. The camera gathers information at mid-block crosswalks to understand pedestrian, cyclists, and driver behavior to improve safety. This is part of the ongoing “Effectiveness of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) at Mid-Block Crossings” project

  • Sierra Espeland won the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship (DDETFP) Achievement Award for the 2021 Top Ranked Master’s Fellowship Fellow for her research, "Travel Burdens in Rural U.S. Households" at the 2021 Transportation Research Board's Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

  • Brittany Antończak presents her research on the effects of paved transportation infrastructure on urban heat micro-environments

  • Julia Clarke, Erica Quallen, Parsa Pezeshknejad, and Sierra Espeland at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Transportation Board in Washington DC

  • Erica Quallen presents her research, "A Comparative Analysis of Opportunities and Barriers for Changing Travel Behavior and Reducing GHG Emissions in Small and Rural Communities" during a poster session at the 2021 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC

  • Clare Nelson presents her senior honors defense, "An evaluation of the sustainability and equity of mileage-based user fees versus the gas tax in Vermont"

 

2023-2024 TRC Students

Narges Ahmadnia

Narges Ahmadnia is a Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. student from Iran. She holds an BS in Civil Engineering and a MS Transportation Engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology where she studied factors that influence transportation mode choice. Her Ph.D. research with Dr. Greg Rowangould focuses on understanding how carbon reduction policies and advanced vehicle technologies influence travel behavior in small cities and rural communities. 

Brittany Antonczak

Brittany Antonczak is a Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. student from Kenilworth, NJ. She holds BS in Civil Engineering from The University of New Mexico. Brittany’s current research with Dr. Greg Rowangould is focused on developing a national scale mobile source emission exposure and equity assessment using novel exposure surrogates. Additionaly, her work with Dr. Greg Rowangould and Dr. Elizabeth Doran, investigates the relationship between paved surfaces and urban heat. This research aims to highlight the relationship between transportation infrastructure and warmer city temperatures in order to provide state DOTs and municipal transportation agencies with new information for mitigating undesirable heat impacts from transportation projects, improving the health and welfare of those experiencing excess heat.

Emma Dreyer

Emma Dreyer is an Environmental Engineering BS student from Iowa City, IA. She is currently researching the effectiveness of Metropolitan Planning Organizations in their ability to meet sustainable transportation goals with Dr. Greg Rowangould. This research focuses on identifying gaps in data and forecasting techniques used to evaluate the greenhouse gas mitigation potential of strategies and infrastructure investments in long range regional transportation plans.

Parker King

Parker King (he/him) is a Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD student from Kansas City, MO. He holds an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Missouri Kansas City, and a Masters in Biostatistics from the ICAHN School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His PhD research Dr. Greg Rowangould and Dr. Elizabeth Doran focuses on how transportation infrastructure creates micro-climates that contribute to the urban heat island effect and negative health outcomes. He is interested to see how this applies in non-urban and rural areas in Vermont, as most research to date has been done in large metropolitan areas. He is also studying the effectivness of Electric Vehicle incentive programs in Vermont. 

Clare Nelson

Clare Nelson (she/her) is a Civil and Environmental Engineering MS student from the shoreline of Connecticut. She received her BS degree in Civil Engineering from UVM, where her honors thesis focused on the equity and public support for alternatives to the gas tax. Her MS research with Dr. Greg Rowangould is focused on better understanding public perceptions of, and pathways towards equitable and economically viable transportation funding policies. Her other research focuses on large scale land use and travel behavior, examining the relationship between the built environment and household VMT using longitudinal data. She hopes to provide more concrete guidance for local and regional transportation GHG-reduction policies. 

Max Olechna 

Max Olechna is a Civil Engineering BS student from Hamilton, VA. His current research with Dr. Greg Rowangould and Clare Nelson focuses on the impact of the local built environment on public support for gas tax alternatives. Additionally, he is working with Jim Sullivan to create a data dashboardto help state DOTs optimize their winter snow and ice control strategies. Aligning with current projects, Max has interests in data analytics and analysis to support more sustainble transportation systems.

Parsa Pezeshknejad

Parsa Pezeshknejad is a Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD student from Tehran, Iran, Parsa’s interests in transportation include evaluation of public transportation systems, data science, urban transportation planning, sustainable and transit-oriented development, and pedestrian accessibility. He is most passionate about sustainability and accessibility as they pertain to pedestrian and public transportation. Parsa’s current PhD research at the TRC wiht Dr. Dana Rowangould evaluates the pedestrian safety of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) in Vermont. He is evaluating the effectiveness of RRFBs in Vermont using a longitudinal controlled experimental design. The overall goal of his research is to ensure that investments in RRFBs in Vermont and other rural contexts improve safety outcomes in order to inform the design of pedestrian crossings in the future.

Harry Schukei

Harry Schukei is a Civil and Environmental Engineering MS student from Fairfax, VT. His research with Dr. Dana Rowangould focuses on how travel differs in urban and rural communities, particularly how the built environment affects how people travel. Harry wants to use his knowledge to improve transportation policy and planning in communities of all sizes and types. He hopes his research improves decision making in rural communities so that they can travel more sustainably and effectively.

Meg Fay

Meg Fay is a Civil and Environmental Engineering MS student from Plymouth, MA. They hold undergraduate degrees in Environmental Science and Chemistry from Brown University, where they focused on data analysis and exploring spatial inequities in air pollution exposure. Their current research with Dr. Greg Rowangould focuses on how transportation and air quality legislation can be translated into environmental justice and public health impacts. Meg is motivated to explore this nexus of transportation, public health, and justice in their research at the TRC.

Aviral Chawla

Aviral (Avi) Chawla (he/him) is a Complex Systems and Data Science MS student from Gurugram, India. Avi received an BA in Philosophy and History of Mathematics & Sciences from St. John's College in Santa Fe, NM prior to joining UVM. His work with Dr. Greg Rowangould at TRC includes building interactive visualizations of complex travel and emission exposure data and conducting research mobile source emission exposure and eqiuty in the United States. He also conducts research on the problem of node importance in social and civil networks with the Vermont Complex Systems Center.

Maisie Melican

Maisie Melican (she/her) is a Geography undergraduate from Detroit, MI. She has been working with Dr. Dana Rowangould’s research team to look at how carless Vermonters in rural areas are meeting their transportation needs. She is excited to work for the TRC because of her interest in urban planning and passion for transportation equity. She is also an outreach intern for the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, where she advocates for sustainable transportation and petroleum reduction in the Green Mountain State. She is grateful to have the opportunity to use these two positions to examine how the social and environmental impacts of transportation intersect.

Niki Tier

Niki Tier (she/her) is an Environmental Engineering BS and UVM Honors College student from Conshohocken, PA. She is currently working with Dr. Greg Rowangould on her honors college thesis evaluting new methods to evaluate the health impacts of near-roadway vehicle emisisons exposure. 

Zoe Ebner

Zoe Ebner is an undergraduate community-centered design major from Rochester, New York. She is interested in equity within communities through access and transportation. Zoe assists with maintaining the website, distributes content for the social media accounts, and conducts outreach for TRC. 

Owen Palcsik

Owen Palcsik is an undergraduate Geography Student from Middlebury, VT. He is interested in bringing the social justice themes of geography to the field of transportation. Owen is curious about the social and spatial implications of the transition to green transportation. Within that theme, Owen is working with Dr. Dana Rowangould to study the equity impacts of electric vehicle subsidies in Vermont.

Adam Morenberg

Adam Morenberg is an  Civil Engineering BS student from New City, NY. His research with Dr. Dana Rowangould and Parsa Pezeshknejad aims to gauge the number of Burlington homes that can be fitted with EV charging capabilities. Adam has closely followed the development & adoption of EVs in the past decade and will use his knowledge to provide insight throughout this project. Additionally, having seen the contrast between the car-centric neighborhood he grew up in and the transit-focused cities in his mother’s birthplace, the Czech Republic, Adam has become an advocate for sustainable public transit and walkable/bikeable cities.

 

Recent Graduates

Alex Greer

Alex Greer graduated with a BS in Environmental Engineering from UVM in 2023. Through a Barrett Scholarship, she worked with Dr. Elizabeth Doran and Dr. Greg Rowangould collecting heat and temperature data around Burlington from an e-bike instrumented with sensors as part of a larger TRC study looking at the effects of transportation infrastructure and land use on micro-climates in urban and rural communities across Vermont.

Viewing engineering as a way to improve the environment, Alex is excited to combine what she’s learning about transportation systems at the TRC with her interests in renewable energy and water accessibility.

Sierra Espeland 

Sierra Espeland graduated with a MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering form UVM in 2023. Her research with Dr. Dana Rowangould looked at how people in rural communities are meeting their transportation needs. She seeks to understand what constraints people face in regards to vehicle access, ability to make trips, financial burdens and trip duration.

One of Sierra's goals is to improve people's lives by increasing access to sustainable travel options through a better understanding of how policy decisions and the built environment impact marginalized communities.

Holly Foster

Holly Foster is from Mystic, CT and graduated from UVM with a BS in Community and International Development in 2023. Holly was a part of a rural transportation equity project with Dr. Dana Rowangould that focused on gathering and analyzing personal stories from rural Vermonters and migrant workers on their transportation experiences.

Holly is interested in the effect that transportation access has on food security and physical and mental health. One of the goals of the project is to address the social isolation among rural Vermonters and migrant workers through more accessible and sustainable transportation so that basic needs and community ties can be built.

Julia Lanz-Duret

Julia LanzDuret-Hernandez is from Rochester, New York and earned a BS in Community and International Development from UVM in 2023. Their research with Dr. Dana Rowangould focused on the transportation experiences of rural Vermonters in the Northeast Kingdom and of migrant workers in the state of Vermont.

Julia is interested in continuing to learn of new ways to improve communities by making them more equitable and sustainable for their residents. Julia aims to amplify rural Vermonter’s needs regarding transportation so that agencies and services can make adequate changes.

Connie Douthwaite

Connie Douthwaite, coming to UVM from Newtown Square, PA  graduated with a BS Environmental Engineering in 2023. Her iterests in spatial analysis and transportation led to a research position with the TRC. She worked with Dr. Greg Rowangould to evaluate factors explaining differences in Vermonter’s patterns of vehicle use, vehicle preferences, and vehicular GHG emissions by looking for correlations with other spatial factors.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke earned a BS in Civil Engineering from UVM in 2022. Julia worked with Dr. Greg Rowangould as a Barret Scholar and research assistant studing how pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle travel behavior changed in Vermont during and after the Covid-19 stay-at-home period.

Julia is now a Transportation Planner at Arup in the Boston office!

Erica Quallen

Erica Quallen graduated from UVM with a MS in Civil and Environmetnal Engineering in 2022 where she studied challanges to reducing vehicle dependance and reducing GHG emissions in small and rural communities wiht Dr. Greg Rowangould. After graduating, Erica began working in the City of South Burlington as their Deputy Director of Capital Projects in the Department of Public Works. Erica's role involves managing bicycle and pedestrian facility scoping, design, and construction projects. So far these have included projects like the bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-89, closing gaps in our shared use path network on Dorset Street and Spear Street, and working with our bicycle and pedestrian committee. The other part of her role has been at the long-range planning and policy level working with departments from across the City to develop their 10-year capital improvement plans for all types of projects. 

Erica’s time with UVM and the TRC has helped me become more comfortable working in the policy realm and bridge the gap between engineers or project managers and the policy makers like our City Manager and City Council. 

Stephen Montaño

Joining the TRC from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Stephen Montaño (he/him) earned a MS. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, with a focus on transportation. He holds a BS. in Civil Engingeering from the University of New Mexico. Stephen’s research with Dr. Greg Rowangould investigated how e-bikes impact a user’s route choice, sense of safety, and the differences between e-bikers and traditional bicyclists infrastructure preferences. One goal of Stephen’s e-bike research is to help communities in Vermont identify opportunities to improve conditions for bicycling. Citing the health, economic, environmental, and accessibility benefits that come with using e-bikes, Stephen sees his research as an outlet for making positive contributions to the environment and the community. Stephen is currently a Senior Engineering Designer at Lee Engineering in Albuquerque, NM.

 

The UVM Transportation Research Center seeks outstanding graduate and undergraduate students interested in conducting research and outreach on critical transportation issues.

The TRC currently has open positions for graduate research assistants.

Contact us for more information

Current Projects

The TRC’s current research portfolio covers a wide range of transportation topics while focusing on sustainability and equity. Undergraduate and graduate students are key contributors and leads in much of our work.

Alternative and Multi-Modal Transportation

Energy, Emissions and the Environment

Equity and Travel Behavior

Safety, Infrastructure and Maintenance

Sustainable Rural Communities