Dr. Junfeng Jiao, presented his research project about transit deserts, funded by the USDOT University Transportation Centers (UTC) grant, to students and faculty on February 7th during a Department of Architecture Goldsmith Talk. Interested in what areas in cities may be underserved by current transit networks, Dr. Jiao coined the term “transit desert.” A “transit desert” describes an area of a city where transit demand, measured as the transit-dependent population, exceeds transit supply. Jiao aims to further identify, map, and calculate the relationship between supply and demand in 51 major US cities and provide some possible solutions for reconciling this gap as America’s cities grow.
Transit deserts are found by finding the difference between transit supply and transit demand at the block group level. The supply is calculated using GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) data and publicly available GIS data. The demand for transit, while difficult to quantify, found using several Census datasets including household drivers, transit dependent household population, and transit dependent population. Jiao and his research team then subtract the two to calculate the gap that exists at the block group level.
Dr. Jiao is an assistant professor in the Community and Regional Planning program at The University of Texas at Austin and director of Urban Information Lab. His research focuses on using information technologies (GIS, GPS, Drone, smart phone, social media, wearable devices, etc) to quantify built environments and understand its impact on people’s behavior (e.g. travel, physical, eating etc) and its health consequence. His research on Transit and Food Deserts were widely reported by the Associated Press, Yahoo, MSN, NBC, NPR, USA today, Finance and Commerce, City Lab, The Conversation, Chicago Tribute, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, Seattle Times, Seattle Met, Dallas News, Houston Chronicle, Austin Statesman, Texas Tribune etc.