Headshot of Dr Amber Woodburn McNair from the shoulders up. She smiles into the camera, wearing thick-framed glasses, dangling gold earrings, and a metallic tweed jacket.

Amber Woodburn McNair

  • Assistant Professor

278 Knowlton Hall
275 W Woodruff Ave

Amber Woodburn McNair, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning in the Knowlton School at the Ohio State University. She also holds an affiliated position with the Center for Aviation Studies.

Her education background spans civil engineering and city and regional planning, with an emphasis on transportation systems. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Department of City of Regional Planning (‘16) under the guidance of Dr. Megan Ryerson. McNair received her M.Sc. (‘13) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s, Department of Civil Engineering and her B.Sc. (‘09) from the University of California, Berkeley, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Her professional background includes two 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.



As a transportation scholar, Dr. McNair’s research topics encompass "aeromobility" and “smart mobility” systems and infrastructure. She is most interested in studying the planning processes and power structures that facilitate the deployment of "aerial"/ "smart" facilities, as well as researching the resulting environmental, land use, and community outcomes. Specifically, she has written on environmental justice, airport-adjacent communities, and the NEPA planning process. Current projects include studies of autonomous shuttles, air freight, spaceports, urban air mobility/ unmanned aerial systems, and representation of marginalized groups in air transportation careers.  Her research methods expertise includes survey design, spatial statistics, statistical modeling, and qualitative analysis of planning documents. Dr. McNair enjoys partnering with industry practitioners and serves as a member of the following aviation committees with the Transportation Research Board: AV030 Environmental Issues in Aviation and AV095 New Users of Shared Airspace.

Selected Publications

McNair, A. W., & Kwon, K. (2023). Cargo Airport Planning: Discerning Spatial Distributions of Freight Development in Airport-Adjacent Communities. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. https://doi.org/10.1177/03611981231178808

Morrison, S., & Woodburn McNair, A. (2022). Community, Coalition Building and Career Decision Making Self-Efficacy: A Case Study of Collegiate Women in Aviation. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2022040346

McNair, A. W. (2020). Investigation of environmental justice analysis in airport planning practice from 2000 to 2010. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 81, 102286. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2020.102286

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. https://doi.org/10.3141/2626-01

Zhao, D., Wang, W., Woodburn, A., & Ryerson. M. (2016) Isolating high-priority metro and feeder bus transfers using smart card data. Transportation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-016-9713-7.

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. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944363.2014.961949 (Open Access)

Woodburn, A., & Ryerson, M. (2014). Airport capacity enhancement and flight predictability. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2400, 87–97. https://doi.org/10.3141/2400-10

Woodburn, A., Ryerson, M. S., & Chester, M. (2013). Challenges to analysis of air and rail alternatives in government environmental impact review processes. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2336, 9–17. https://doi.org/10.3141/2336-02



CRPLAN 4110 Transportation and Land Use Planning Spring elective
CRPLAN/ CIVILEN/ AVIATN 5300 Airport Systems Planning, Design, and Development Spring elective
CRPLAN 5320 Introduction to Data Analytics for Transportation Planners Fall elective
CRPLAN 6600 Evaluation Methods in City and Regional Planning Fall  MCRP core