You are in section Faculty and Staff, in section Faculty Directory, on page Amber Woodburn McNair.

Amber Woodburn McNair, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning Section
278 Knowlton Hall

Amber Woodburn McNair, Ph.D., joined The Ohio State University in Fall 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the City and Regional Planning section of the Knowlton School. She also holds a joint appointment with the Center for Aviation Studies. Broadly, her work aims to understand the link between the built environment and social systems, and the resulting influence on urban outcomes. Her research and teaching topics encompass infrastructure planning, data analytics, environmental impacts of transportation, and air transportation.

Her education background includes a BS (UC Berkeley, 2009) and MS (UT Knoxville, 2013) in Civil Engineering and a PhD (University of Pennsylvania, 2016) in City and Regional Planning, all with an emphasis on transportation systems. Notably, Dr. Woodburn McNair received a $100,000 Eisenhower fellowship from the US Department of Transportation and was selected as an Eno Transportation fellow while completing her graduate studies.

Her professional background includes 2 years (2009-2011) as an engineer with the Federal Highway Administration in the US Department of Transportation. As a Civil Engineer, Dr. Woodburn McNair contributed to the design and construction of federal roads and assisted with federal and environmental oversight during project delivery. During this experience, she partnered and collaborated with state and local transportation agencies at multiple locations throughout the United States.

Dr. Woodburn McNair's research activity includes transportation behavior surveys, spatial-statistical analysis of transportation systems, and qualitative analysis of planning documents. Specifically, she is interested in investigating socio-economic outcomes for airport-adjacent communities, equity and inclusion outcomes of disruptive transportation technologies, and project evaluation methods for global aviation infrastructure planning.


CRPLAN 4110: Transportation and Land Use Planning 
CRPLAN 5300: Airport Planning, Design and Development 
CRPLAN 5320: Transportation Data Analytics for Planners 
CRPLAN 6600: Spatial Models and Project Evaluation 

Recent Work

Manage Flight Demand or Build Airport Capacity?

Dr. Woodburn McNair’s research contributes to a body of work that evaluates modern airports in an urban context to provide insight on how the next century of airport development can sustainably integrate with urban regions. Her work offers a basis for inquiries into the relationship between airport infrastructure, airport-adjacent communities, and airport-centric activity centers. The featured publication in UC Connect’s ACCESS magazine is adapted from an article published in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Selected Publications

Woodburn, A. (2017). Investigating neighborhood change in airport-adjacent communities in multiairport regions from 1970 to 2010. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2626, 1-8.


Zhao, D., Wang, W., Woodburn, A., & Ryerson. M. (2016) Isolating high-priority metro and feeder bus transfers using smart card data. Transportation.


Ryerson, M. S., & Woodburn, A. (2014). Build airport capacity or manage flight demand? How regional planners can lead American aviation into a new frontier of demand management. Journal of the American Planning Association, 80(2), 138–152.