• 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"


2021-2022 TRC Students

Narges Ahmadnia

 Narges Ahmadnia stands in front of open water with mountains in the background

Narges Ahmadnia is a Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. student from Iran. She holds an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology, as well as her Masters in transportation engineering, where she focused on factors that influence transportation mode choice. Her Ph.D. research with Dr. Greg Rowangould focuses on how or whether changes in fuel prices influence travel behavior in small cities and rural communities. She looks forward to the opportunity to connect people’s thought and behavior processes with her civil engineering background.   

Brittany Antończak

Brittany Antończak  from the shoulders up. She is smiling and wearing glasses

Brittany Antończak is a Graduate Research Assistant from Kenilworth, NJ. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Transportation Engineering. She holds an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from The University of New Mexico. Through her work, Brittany is motivated to improve transit access, active travel opportunities, accessible transportation design and transportation policy.

Brittany’s current research 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.

Julia Clarke

Headshot of Julia Clarke, who is smiling

Julia Clarke is an undergraduate Civil Engineering student from Darien, CT. As a Barrett Scholar, she has been working with Dr. Greg Rowangould on a study examining how pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle travel behavior changed in Vermont during and after the Covid-19 stay-at-home period. As an REU student, Julia is also working on a TRC research team studying factors that influence travel behavior and how it can change in different types of small and rural communities. 

Her work with the TRC has developed her interest in accessible and sustainable transportation planning.

Connie Douthwaite

A headshot photo of Connie Douthwaite. She is standing in front of a blurred foliage and smiling

Connie Douthwaite (she/her) is an undergraduate Environmental Engineering student from Newtown Square, PA. When she took the CE133 Transportation Systems class with Dr. Greg Rowangould, she became interested in using GIS spatial data to study transportation systems.

She is excited to continue improving her skills using this tool as she works 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.

Danica Dytioco

Danica Dytioco (she/her) is an undergraduate Environmental Engineering student from Seattle Washington. Her strong desire to do good in the world, for both community and the environment, led her to environmental engineering where she sees opportunities to conserve, restore, and improve our environment.

Through her work with Dr. Dana Rowangould and Kristen Underwood, Danica is gaining a lot of general experience conducting literature reviews, research, and field work working on a project focusing on floodplain restoration in the Lake Champlain Basin. The project examines how to prioritize different objectives, such as floodplain reconnection, opportunity costs, conservation and restoration benefits when planning floodplain restoration and conservation projects, as well as incorporating public insights about the value of floodplains. 

Sierra Espeland

Headshot of Sierra Espeland, who is smiling

Sierra Espeland is a Civil Engineering Masters student from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her research with Dr. Dana Rowangould looks 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.

Alex Greer

Headshot of Alex Greer, who is smiling, and standing outside in front of trees

Alex Greer (she/her) is an undergraduate Environmental Engineering student from Charlottesville, VA. Through a Barrett Scholarship, she is working 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.

Parker King

Headshot of Parker King, who has his arms crossed and is smiling

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 with Dr. Elizabeth Doran and Dr. Greg Rowangould 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.

Stephen Montaño

Headshot of Stephen Montaño, who is wearing glasses and smiling

Joining the TRC from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Stephen Montaño (he/him) is pursuing a M.S. in Civil Engineering, with a focus on transportation. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engingeering from the University of New Mexico. Stephen’s research with Dr. Greg Rowangould investigates how e-bikes impact a user’s route choice, sense of safety, and the differences between e-bikers and traditional bicyclists.

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.

Clare Nelson

Headshot of Clare Nelson, who is smiling and has a nose ring. She is outside on the UVM campus

Clare Nelson (she/her) is a Civil Engineering undergraduate student from Madison, CT. When she took a close on sustainable transportation systems with Dr. Greg Rowangould, she switched from Environmental Engineering to Civil Engineering as it more closely allowed her to understand social and behavioral motivations around transportation systems and decision-making, as well as to connect the design of systems and spaces with community needs. Her honors thesis with Dr. Greg Rowangould will examine how a mileage-based fee, instead of the gas tax, could affect different communities, as well as public perceptions of the mileage-based fee.

Hazel O'Brien

Headshot of Hazel O'Brien. She is smiling and stands in front of a brick wall

Hazel O’Brien (she/her) is a Civil Engineering undergraduate student from Minneapolis, MN. One of her interests lies in the differences between transportation systems in metropolitan areas and smaller cities. One of her areas of focus is implementing sustainable transportation planning equitably in all communities. 

Hazel is part of a TRC research team examining how the cost of fuel impacts travel behavior in small and rural communities.

Parsa Pezeshknejad

Headshot of Parsa Pezeshknejad wearing winter clothes standing outside in front of clouds

Parsa Pezeshknejad is a Graduate Research Assistant at the TRC, pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Joining the TRC 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 research at the TRC evaluates the pedestrian safety of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) in Vermont. He will analyze the effectiveness of RRFBs in Vermont through experimental design, data collection, and statistical analysis. The overall goal of his research is to ensure that investments in RRFBs in Vermont improve safety outcomes in order to inform the design of pedestrian crossings in the future.

Erica Quallen

Erica Quallen sits with her arms crossed on a table and smiles. There is a cup of coffee in front of her

Erica Quallen (she/her) is a Graduate Research Assistant from Pittsfield, MA, pursuing a M.S. in Civil Engineering. She has worked in several transportation planning roles since receiving her B.S. in Civil Engineering from UVM in 2016. Through these roles, Erica developed an appreciation for public engagement and policy development.

Erica’s research draws on the social sciences as she seeks to understand how people in rural places get around, what kind of rural spaces they’re from, and what it might take for individuals in rural places to change their travel behaviors in ways that address climate change. Specifically, this research examines how Vermont’s rural population may respond to market-based policies and change travel behavior to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She is working with Dr. Gregory Rowangould.



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