Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Schrödinger Professor

This permanent/temporary position is also indicated in the author's profile on Google Scholar (I saw this on Twitter via the brilliant Drunkeynesian).

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New paper out: Future accessibility impacts of transport policy scenarios: equity and sensitivity to travel time thresholds

I'm glad to share that the 3rd paper of my thesis is now published. The study (1) illustrates how one can measure the future accessibility impacts of transport project scenarios; (2) discusses how accessibility analyses can be influenced by the little-known issue of the modifiable temporal unit problem (MTUP); and (3) shows that equity assessments of transport policies based on cumulative opportunity metrics depend on the time threshold chosen for accessibility analysis. One thing in particular I like about this paper is that its findings demonstrate that the most common practice adopted by academic studies and transport agencies when evaluating the accessibility impacts of transportation projects can lead to misleading or partial conclusions if this methodological choice is made uncritically.

The paper will remain open access for the next 40 days or so. Downloaded it here [ungated preprint]. The R scripts used to write this paper and my PhD thesis are available in this GitHub repo.

The accessibility impacts of transport projects ex-post implementation are generally evaluated using cumulative opportunity measures based on a single travel time threshold. Fewer studies have explored how accessibility appraisal of transport plans can be used to evaluate policy scenarios and their impacts for different social groups or examined whether the results of project appraisals are sensitive to the time threshold of choice. This paper analyzes how different scenarios of full and partial implementation of the TransBrasil BRT project in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) will likely impact the number of jobs accessible to the population of different income levels. The analysis is conducted under various travel time thresholds of 30, 60, 90 and 120 min to test whether the results are sensitive to the boundary effect of the modifiable temporal unit problem (MTUP). Compared to a partial operation scenario, the full implementation of TransBrasil that extends this corridor into the city center would lead to higher accessibility gains due to network effects of connecting this BRT to other transport modes. Nonetheless, the size of the accessibility impacts of the proposed BRT as well as its distribution across income classes would significantly change depending on the time threshold chosen for the accessibility analysis. Considering cut-off times of 30 or 60 min, both scenarios of TransBrasil would lead to higher accessibility impacts in general and particularly for low-income groups, moving Rio towards a more equitable transportation system. However, under longer thresholds of 90 and 120 min, an evaluation of this project would find much smaller accessibility gains more evenly distributed by income levels. The paper highlights how time threshold choice in cumulative opportunity measures can have important but overlooked implications for policy evaluation and it calls for further research on the MTUP in future transport and mobility studies.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Call for a research assistant in the Access to Opportunities Project at Ipea, Brazil

This is just a reminder that I am hiring a research assistant for the Access to Opportunities Project, at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea). The researcher will be based in Brasilia (Brazil). We are looking for someone with advanced skills in R. Applications will be open until the 20th of January 2019. More details can be found here (info in Portuguese only). Please, help spread us the word.

More info about the Access to Opportunities Project: The aim of the project is to estimate accessibility to employment opportunities as well as education and health services in the largest urban areas in Brazil. The project focuses on how social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities relate to urban transportation, housing and land use policies. We are estimating accessibility by public transport, walking and cycling at a high spatial resolution for all of the Brazilian major cities. The project will generate a massive amount of data each year. My plan is to make the data outputs and results publicly available to policy makers and researchers, with whom we will be able to collaborate in the future to analzye particular case studies in Brazil but also to conduct comparative studies involving cities in Brazil and other countries.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A 195 gigapixel Urban Picture of Shanghai

On this link you can browse around an incredible bird's-eye panorama of Shanghai. The picture has an incredible resolution of 195 gigapixels, which captures tiny details such as people's faces or car plates (ht Lionel Page).

image credit: Billion Pixel Studio

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Fresh new start

That uplifting feeling that every new year/project is an opportunity to have a fresh new start.

image credit: MonkeyUser