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Jason Cao / University of Minnesota

Gui Auditorium / Knowlton Hall
November 1, 2017 - 5:30pm

Jason Cao will present a lecture titled "Compact Development and Driving Reduction: Where to Densify in Oslo?" in Knowlton Hall’s Gui Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1. The talk is free and open to the public. Cao is an Associate Professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and specializes in the interactions between land use and transportation, the effects of ICT on travel behavior and environmental correlates of life satisfaction. He is internationally known for his research on residential self-selection in the relationships between the built environment and travel behavior.

Cao is heavily engaged in collaborative international research. He works closely with scholars from the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Australia, Japan, South Korea and China. Cao promotes urban planning scholarship in China by collaborating with Chinese researchers, uniting Chinese scholars, bridging Chinese and international scholars, and organizing international conferences and workshops.

Cao contributes to the planning and transportation societies by organizing special issues. He is a guest editor for six journals, including Journal of Regional Science, Journal of Transport and Land Use, Transport Policy, Transportation Letters, Transportation Research Part D and Travel Behavior and Society. Cao is currently an associate editor of Transportation Research Part D and a member of editorial advisory board for three journals.

Cao received an M.S. in statistics and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering with a specialization on transportation planning from the University of California, Davis. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. In 2006, he received the Wootan Award from the U.S. Council of University Transportation Centers for the best transportation policy/planning dissertation in the United States.

About the lecture

Auto dependence has produced significant social costs such as congestion and air pollutions. To reduce auto dependence, urban planners are interested in the following questions: Where should new residents be accommodated in a region?  How dense should development be to reduce driving distances?  Does polycentric development contribute to driving reduction? Using an innovative method to model the choice of travelers, we examine the differential effects of the environmental attributes on the distance people drive in Oslo, Norway.   We find that the collective influence of some attributes of the built environment is actually larger than that of travelers’ demographics.  We also demonstrate that the impacts of the built environment --both on the weekend and during the week—are non-linear.  That is, built environment attributes influence travelers’ driving distance at different magnitudes across the range of these attributes.  The study highlights that sub-centers of activity play an important role in reducing driving distance, and suggests that population densification should occur within 12 km from the city center.