Planning Professors Gulsah Akar and Steve Gordon Awarded ODOT Grant


City and Regional Planning faculty members Gulsah Akar and Steve Gordon have been awarded a research grant of $151,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for their project “Linking Land Use, Transportation and Travel Behavior in Ohio: Incorporating Decline and Vehicle Choice Components.” The total project budget is $220,000 with cost-shares from the OSU Graduate School, Ohio Supercomputer Center and the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning Section.

Professors Akar and Gordon developed a statewide Regional Land Use Allocation Decision Analysis Tool as part of their previous research project with ODOT. This tool forecasts the impacts of future land use policies in Ohio, based on alternative assumptions of highway and mass transit corridor development, zoning and environmental constraints, and changes in individual/household travel behavior associated with trip generation and trip lengths.

In their new research study, Akar and Gordon will add two crucial components to their tool: vehicle choice and a better understanding of the impacts of declines in population and employment.  Vehicle choice will be greatly influenced by the cost of fuel in an era of increasing demand for fossil fuels.  That, in turn, will impact not only travel behavior but also the revenues from gasoline taxes that are used to pay for roadway maintenance.  Equally important are the population and employment trends in the past decades that have seen significant declines in most of Ohio’s metropolitan areas.  Even within counties with net declines, there have been growth areas.  By modeling those changes in greater detail, the researchers will be able to provide insights not only to their impacts on travel and revenues but will also inform efforts at economic development that could reverse the trends.

The project will be accomplished by a collaborative effort made by the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning Section and the Ohio Supercomputer Center.


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