Winter 2023 ITS DAVIS Newsletter

The new issue of the newsletter covers some of the activity here at ITS-Davis: multiple outreach events, research publications, and conferences and announcements involving our newest centers and programs on transit, EV policy in India and California, and environmental justice. We expect 2023 to be equally busywith gatherings in Brussels and California, leading the renewed National Center for Sustainable Transportation, and our usual involvement in teaching, research, and interacting with policy makers and planners. Thank you for your support and interest in our work!

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European Transport and Energy Research Centre (ETERC)

Mar 15-16, 2023, Brussels, Belgium

More info here.

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Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS+) Spring Symposium

May 17-18, 2023, UC Davis, Davis, CA

More info here

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International Conference on Ecology and Transportation (ICOET)

June 4-8, 2023, Burlington, Vermont

More info here.

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Asilomar Biennial Conference on Transportation and Energy

July 11-14, 2023, Pacific Grove, CA

More info here.

UC Davis Secures a $20-million Grant Renewal to Lead the National Center for Sustainable Transportation


The renewed 5-year grant, from the US Department of Transportation, will allow researchers at UC Davis and other universities in the National Center for Sustainable Transportation to work towards equitable decarbonization of transportation. More information here.

Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting

January 8-12, 2023

Transportation Research Board program and UC Davis hat

Many faculty, researchers, staff, postdocs, and students participated in the meeting this year. For a complete list of our participants and their presentation titles, click here.

STEPS Fall Symposium

December 7-8, 2022

large conference room with many people seated watching presenter

Over 130 experts from industry, government, academia, and NGOs convened for the symposium on topics including: the role of road transportation in reaching carbon neutrality in California and the US by 2045, Low Carbon Fuel Standard 2030 modeling targets and credit quantification, transitioning to sustainable freight and decarbonizing last-mile distribution; and EV development projections for China.

Future Mobility, Automation, and Transit Research Workshop

November 7-8, 2022

Giovanni Circella and presenter at Future Mobility Conference

3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program in collaboration with the Transit Research Center hosted a two-day workshop highlighting their latest research on VMT reduction, changing activity patterns, transit innovations, AV technology, and more.There were over 90 attendees from government agencies, private companies, NGOs, and academia.

Graduation Event for the Inaugural Class of Environmental Justice Fellows

October 13, 2022

Graduation picture of 2022 EJ Fellows

This event honored the work of the inaugural class of the Environmental Justice Leaders in Residence Program, which aims to improve dialogue and collaboration between environmental justice leaders, researchers, ITS-Davis, and the UC Davis Policy Institute. The first class included ten fellows and one senior fellow, who came with decades of expertise and helped develop the program. Presentations at the celebratory event covered topics including: making bicycling more accessible to all, efforts towards a community-based approach to lithium extraction in the Imperial Valley, and using community-organizing and legislation to improve air quality in low-income areas of the US.  

Announcement of New California-India Partnership

September 21, 2022

illustration of India and California flags with electric vehicle in the middle

At the 13th Clean Energy Ministerial and Global Clean Energy Action Forum held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ITS-Davis announced the partnership, which aims to advance research and policy implementation aimed at transportation decarbonization in India and California.

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Students Present Their Research at TRB

Aakansha TRB Student Poster
Hossain TRB Student Poster
Aditya TRB Student Poster
James TRB Student Poster

Nearly two dozen graduate students in the Transportation Technology and Policy Program or otherwise affiliated with ITS-Davis presented their research at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC in January. In their 31 poster presentations, topics included modeling induced travel, feebate policy designs, the impact of scooters on transit use, lifecycle analysis of hydrogen pathways, and transportation priorities for persons with disabilities.

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A Review of Policies to Support Vehicle Electrification as Key to Reducing Climate Change

A policy brief for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

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How Automation Affects Jobs in the Freight Industry and What to Do About It

This study found that job displacement may be mitigated by attrition, and new job development is possible, but current retraining programs are limited. Suggested policy strategies to address changes from automation include: bringing all stakeholders to the table; using current automation technologies to improve worker safety; and expanding existing social safety nets for the workforce.

automated sensor for cyclist and pedestrian safety illustration

Intelligent Vehicle Technologies Can Improve the Safety of Bicyclists and Pedestrians at Signalized Intersections 

Among various new safety technologies examined here, the most effective for reducing accidents are bicycle/pedestrian-to-vehicle communications and systems at intersections that identify approaching vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians and then provide safety guidance. Report; Policy Brief

Plans and Policies for Production and Delivery of Hydrogen

blue miocar electric vehicle

An Electric Vehicle Carshare Service Designed for Rural, Low-Income Households Is Linked to Increase Vehicle Household Travel and Reduced Personal Vehicle Use

This survey of carshare users of Míocar in the San Joaquin Valley suggests how the service is being used and serving residents. Full report; Policy Brief 

Future Shared Autonomous Electric Vehicles Could Greatly Reduce GHG Emissions

Emissions from these vehicles under the California power grid would have 1/5th the carbon intensity of current internal combustion engine vehicles, and their economic and environmental impact will be determined by how much their charging schedules are aligned with renewable generation.

More publications can be found by searching the ITS-Davis publications database.

Outreach and Engagement

Legislation and Planning that Applied or Cited Our Research

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LA Metro) used our induced travel calculator in estimating induced travel from its investments and cited the calculator in their Climate Emissions Analysis report. Jamey Volker and Susan Handy of ITS-Davis and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST) developed and continue to upgrade the calculator. 

Caltrans’ Complete Streets Action Plan includes an action to develop an Active Transportation Benefit-Cost Tool, which will support Caltrans’ efforts to include complete streets elements in transportation projects around the state. Dillon Fitch and Susan Handy of ITS-Davis and NCST developed the tool.

Briefings in Washington DC and Sacramento

While in Washington DC for the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (Jan 8–12, 2023), ITS-Davis and the Policy Institute held a public briefing on improving sustainable mobility in rural communities and participated in private meetings with multiple congress persons and their staff, including Representatives Matsui, Tonko, Gramaendi, and Thompson, and Senators Feinstein, Padilla, and Duckworth.

Groups from ITS-Davis and the Policy Institute also had meetings with California legislators in February 2023: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry and Chris Holden, and Senators Josh Becker, Dave Min, and Ben Allen.

Caltrans Workshop to Facilitate An Active Transportation Census Program

This workshop (on 7/25/22) addressed needs, plans, and strategies for a statewide census program to gather and use data on bicycle and pedestrian travel. The census program is intended to help guide infrastructure investments, evaluate programs and projects, and track progress towards increasing active transport. Video recording 

Australia-California Forum on Electric Vehicle Policy

At this meeting (11/22/22), Australian policymakers, CARB, and CEC exchanged information, ideas, and challenges on vehicle electrification strategies and policies in California and Australia.

Effects of Managed Lanes on Vehicle Miles Traveled

This workshop (9/29/22) with Caltrans addressed the following questions: 1) Under what conditions can Caltrans be confident that tolling will reduce VMT? 2) How can Caltrans measure that effect? Workshop Slide Presentations 

Exploring the Impacts of e-Commerce on Urban Transportation, Land Use, and Shopping Behavior

This webinar (12/1/22) explored the potential transportation-related effects from the shift to e-shopping, and correlations between e-shopper characteristics and the frequency and types of purchases. Video and Slides 

Inaugural SACOG & ITS-Davis Partnership Meeting

In this meeting (12/9/22) to identify how ITS-Davis research can better serve SACOG and affiliated planners, people from ITS-Davis and the Policy Institute gave updates on relevant research and SACOG staff discussed important research questions, current projects, and priorities.

California’s Hydrogen Strategy – Where Do We Go From Here?

This webinar (9/22/22) explored the potential of hydrogen in decarbonizing California’s economy with a focus on applications in transportation. Video recording and more information

California’s Public Transit Finance Woes and Prospects for Ridership Recovery

This webinar (11/9/22) was hosted by UC ITS and moderated by ITS-Davis’s Mollie D’Agostino, highlighting research from UCLA by Jacob Wasserman, Fariba Siddiq, and John Gahbauer. Video recording

Additional webinars available here.

awards and achievements
Sacramento Business Journal 2022 40 under 40 Priya

Debapriya Chakraborty Women of the Year from the 3rd Congressional District and “40 Under 40”

Dr. Chakraborty was named one of the 2022 Women of the Year from the 3rd Congressional District by John Garamendi (D-Yolo). The award went to 58 women for their demonstration of “clear commitment to their community through their leadership and dedication to public service.” She also received a “40 Under 40” award, from the Sacramento Business Journal, which recognizes local professionals under the age of 40 who are excelling in their careers and contributing to the community. Her research focuses on the impact of policies and market-based strategies to encourage adoption of electric vehicles and maximize the impact of vehicle electrification on California’s climate goals.

Justin Flynn TTP Grad Student

Justin Flynn, PhD Student , Eisenhower Fellowship

Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program provides funding for students to pursue advanced degrees in transportation-related disciplines. Mr. Flynn’s research concerns transportation-related matters important to people with disabilities. 

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Hossain Mohiuddin, Dillon Fitch-Polse, and Susan Handy, 2023 Equity Topics in Bicycle Transportation Paper Award

At the Transportation Research Board 2023 Annual Meeting, this research team received an award for their study entitled “Examining Market Segmentation to Increase Bikeshare Use and Enhance Equity: The Case of the Greater Sacramento Region.” Mr. Mohiuddin is a PhD candidate whose research focuses on micromobility; Dr. Fitch-Polse is a faculty researcher and co-director of the BicyclingPlus Research Collaborative; and Dr. Handy is the director of the Transportation Technology and Policy graduate program and professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy.

Weijing Wang

Weijing Wang, PhD Student, California Transportation Foundation, Endowed Caroline Alain Rodman Memorial Scholarship ($3000)

Ms. Wang’s research focuses on transportation justice and equity. This scholarship will enable her to attend this year’s World Conference on Transport Research in Montreal, Canada, where she will present a study on mobility and socioeconomic injustice facing people of color and carless households in rural America, and she will share related policy recommendations for equity-centered clean transportation.

Dan Sperling, Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award

The UC Davis Academic Senate and Academic Federation recently made their selections for the campus’s most prestigious academic awards for 2023, and Dan Sperling will be one of 17 members honored at a spring reception for exceptional research, teaching and mentoring, and public service.

Lauren Iacobucci

Lauren Iacobucci, Award for Administrative Leadership for the Council of University Transportation Centers

(See the next section, In The Spotlight)

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Lauren Iacobucci - circle

Lauren Iacobucci, the manager of multiple centers and programs at ITS-Davis, is hard-working, insightful, and quick to acknowledge the contributions of faculty and staff. After only 5 years at UC Davis, she was recognized twice in December 2022 for her achievements and evident dedication to facilitating research on sustainable transportation and communication with policy makers, stakeholders, and the public. 

Ms. Iacobucci received the annual Award for Administrative Leadership from the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC), a national association of 80+ university transportation research institutes. The award is given for outstanding administrative leadership contributions to the transportation field. The award letter stated that Ms. Iacobucci’s “contributions as a program manager responsible for three research programs, including the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST), [her] leadership role within ITS‐Davis, as well as efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion in education, show [her] unwavering commitment and passion to contribute to our transportation community.”

In addition, Ms. Iacobucci was selected to fill the new position of assistant director of ITS-Davis, while continuing to manage several programs. As a program manager, Ms. Iacobucci says there has been no ‘day-to-day’ routine, but the position encompasses “managing a broad portfolio of research projects and keeping tabs on everything from the conception of a project to its completion.” As assistant director, she also expects there to be no typical ‘day-to-day’ routine, but aims to support all of the Institute’s centers and operations to ensure a cohesive and collaborative overall program.

Many faculty and staff at ITS-Davis can bear witness to Ms. Iacobucci’s thoroughness and diligence. When asked what motivates her, she pointed to a sense of responsibility and ownership for these programs that Susan Handy (the director of NCST) provides: “Susan trusts our team to do what we do best, and it has allowed us to make the programs our own. We’re given the opportunity to explore new initiatives, but if something is not working, we also have to learn how to fix it.”

Perhaps one of Ms. Iacobucci’s most lasting and personally satisfying contributions to ITS-Davis has been helping to create positions and hire effective people who are crucial to running the research programs. Her insight and action in this area stems from “looking at the center and program budgets and taking the initiative to carve out funding for these positions; being a voice at the table, along with others, to say, ‘If you want this to be a successful program, you need incredible people to run it and to translate it to our stakeholders.’”

At ITS-Davis we look forward to Ms. Iacobucci bringing this kind of perception and energy to her new position as assistant director, and we congratulate her on the appointment and the prestigious CUTC award.

ITS In the News Header

The Conversation: How California’s ambitious new climate plan could help speed energy transformation around the world

California is embarking on an audacious new climate plan that aims to eliminate the state’s greenhouse gas footprint by 2045, and in the process, slash emissions far beyond its borders. The blueprint calls for massive transformations in industry, energy and transportation, as well as changes in institutions and human behaviors.

CalMatters: Jump-starting electric car batteries: Will supply problems stall California’s mandate?

Automakers face global challenges obtaining battery materials, including China’s stranglehold on the industry and mining in Africa. Will they have everything they need to ramp up electric car production — and at what cost to the economy and the environment?

KPCC AirTalk: As Companies Feel Pressure To Make A Speedy Shift To Electric Vehicles, What's Their Path To Future Infrastructure?

California’s mandate for the sale of only new electric vehicles has set a standard for how car manufacturing companies are working within one of the largest economies in the world, and although the impact isn’t clear, it does show a trend that the automotive industry is coming to terms with. So what does the current corporate investment in EVs look like and what’s the timeline for its necessary expansion? (Scroll to the third item on this web page)

NY Times: Widening Highways Doesn’t Fix Traffic. So Why Do We Keep Doing It?

With billions of dollars available to improve transportation infrastructure, states have a chance to try new strategies for addressing congestion. But some habits are hard to break.

LA Times: California is turning mountain lions into roadkill faster than they can reproduce

In the last eight years there have been 535 mountain lions reported killed on California highways — a steady toll of one to two each week that scientists suggest may exceed the reproductive rate of increasingly isolated and inbred puma clans.

dot.LA: Electrification Alone Won’t Save the Planet

In a sprawling new report, researchers from the University of California Davis asked what would would it take for the United States to electrify its entire passenger vehicle market by 2050. Their answer? The country would have to use three times more lithium each year than is currently mined globally.

Transport Energy Strategies Podcast: Reforming Transportation Through Electrification, Ride Sharing and Automation

Dr. Daniel Sperling literally wrote the book on the future of transportation and we’re delighted to have him talk with us about his book, The Three Revolutions. In this interview, we’ll talk about how policies, incentives and the private sector will prompt the U.S. and the world to migrate to a day when transportation will be electric, shared and automated.