Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

A glimpse into the accessibility landscape of São Paulo

These maps show the proportion of jobs and elementary schools accessible by public transport in under one hour in São Paulo. These are some of the results of the Access to Opportunities Project I'll be presenting this week at the Brazilian Conference on Transport Research ANPET 2019. I hope to see some of you there.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

New paper out: Distributional effects of transport policies on inequalities in access to opportunities

Glad to share our paper on "Distributional effects of transport policies on inequalities in access to opportunities in Rio de Janeiro" is now out the Journal of Transport and Land Use. I summarize the paper findings and contributions in this short thread here, but please feel free to read the full paper. The journal is open access!

Pereira, R. H. M., Banister, D., Schwanen, T., & Wessel, N. (2019). Distributional effects of transport policies on inequalities in access to opportunities in Rio de Janeiro. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 12(1). doi:10.5198/jtlu.2019.1523

The evaluation of social impacts of transport policies has been attracting growing attention in recent years. Yet studies thus far have predominately focused on developed countries and overlooked whether equity assessment of transport projects is sensitive to the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP). This paper investigates how investments in public transport can reshape socio-spatial inequalities in access to opportunities, and it examines how MAUP can influence the distributional effects of transport project evaluations. The study looks at Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and the transformations carried out in the city in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, which involved substantial expansion in public transport infrastructure followed by cuts in service levels. The paper uses before-and-after comparison of Rio's transport network (2014-2017) and quasi-counterfactual analysis to examine how those policies affect access to schools and jobs for different income groups and whether the results are robust when the data is analyzed at different spatial scales and zoning schemes. Results show that subsequent cuts in service levels have offset the accessibility benefits of transport investments in a way that particularly penalizes the poor, and that those investments alone would still have generated larger accessibility gains for higher-income groups. These findings suggest that, contrary to Brazil’s official discourse of transport legacy, recent policies in Rio have exacerbated rather than reduced socio-spatial inequalities in access to opportunities. The study also shows that MAUP can influence the equity assessment of transport projects, suggesting that this issue should be addressed in future research.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Positive thinking

Induced demand and the Black Hole Theory of Highway Investment

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

City walkability and upward social mobility

Here is a recent paper with some interesting findings suggesting that more walkable cities can facilitate upward social mobility (Thanks Pedro Nery for the pointer). The results are rather consistent with the studies by Raj Chetty and colleagues at Opportunity Insights, but it extends previous research by exploring how walkability can have positive effects on social mobility via both accessibility and psychological channels.

Oishi, S., Koo, M., & Buttrick, N. R. (2018). The Socioecological Psychology of Upward Social Mobility. American Psychologist. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000422

Intergenerational upward economic mobility—the opportunity for children from poorer households to pull themselves up the economic ladder in adulthood—is a hallmark of a just society. In the United States, there are large regional differences in upward social mobility. The present research examined why it is easier to get ahead in some cities and harder in others. We identified the “walkability” of a city, how easy it is to get things done without a car, as a key factor in determining the upward social mobility of its residents. We 1st identified the relationship between walkability and upward mobility using tax data from approximately 10 million Americans born between 1980 and 1982. We found that this relationship is linked to both economic and psychological factors. Using data from the American Community Survey from over 3.66 million Americans, we showed that residents of walkable cities are less reliant on car ownership for employment and wages, significantly reducing 1 barrier to upward mobility. Additionally, in 2 studies, including 1 preregistered study (1,827 Americans; 1,466 Koreans), we found that people living in more walkable neighborhoods felt a greater sense of belonging to their communities, which is associated with actual changes in individual social class.

obs. image credit: Virginia Suburbs, by La Citta Vita

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The urban footprint of the largest urban areas of Brazil

All my procrastination energy led to me to create this nice little image comparing the footprint of the largest urban agglomeration in Brazil. I created this figure using R and geobr, a package that facilitates downloading official geospatial data of Brazil (a quick intro to geobr here). In our latest update, we included official data on the urban footprint of all Brazilian cities in 2005 and 2015.

[click on the image to enlarge]

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pushing regional studies beyond its borders

New paper hot off the press discussing 5 perspectives to push the bounderies of regional studies. Good read to catch up with the literature and to reflect on potential research projects, specially if you're considering a graduate degree or grant application.

Harrison, J., et al. Pushing regional studies beyond its borders. Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2019.1672146

This paper explores how to push the field of regional studies beyond its present institutional, conceptual and methodological borders. It does this from five perspectives: innovation and competitiveness; globalization and urbanization; social and environmental justice; local and regional development; and industrial policy. It argues that the future of regional studies requires approaches that, in combination, result in the pushing on (by creating), pushing off (by consolidating), pushing back (by critiquing) and pushing forward (by collectively constructing) the field.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Fully funded PhD scholarship at the Transport Studies Unit at Oxford

Heads up: The Transport Studies Unit (TSU) at the School of Geography and the Environment of the University of Oxford will have one fully funded, three-year Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil/PhD) scholarship available for a citizen from a country in Africa, South and South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean or small island states in the Pacific or Indian Ocean. More details here.

I'm certainly biased here, but this is a great opportunity to study along brilliant researchers in an incredibly vibrant department at one of the top universities in the world. This is a competitive scholarship, sure, but this should not stop you from applying. You only need one spot. ;)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Build-up of OpenStreetMap data in East Asia

Another neat dataviz from the ItoWorld team, this time visualizing all the edits to road networks in OpenStreetMap for East Asia since 2008.

OpenStreetMap Series: East Asia Build-up from ItoWorld on Vimeo.