Andre Carrel receives five-year NSF CAREER Award
Assistant Professor Andre Carrel has received a five-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The $655,000 grant will support foundational behavioral research to understand what drives shifts from lifestyles oriented toward sustainable transportation modes – transit in particular – to auto-oriented lifestyles.
The CAREER award is the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty recognized as leaders in research, education and the integration of the two elements in service to the community.
Carrel joined the Ohio State faculty in 2016 with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering and Knowlton School of Architecture’s City and Regional Planning Section.
Despite the critical importance of urban transportation systems that are affordable, reduce congestion, and are associated with low greenhouse gas emissions, developments over the last decade suggest that many multi-modal travelers eventually migrate to single-occupancy automobile travel. A key to understanding these shifts may be the way in which past travel experiences, satisfaction with travel, and subjective well-being during travel shape future traveler decision-making, but these effects are not sufficiently captured by current modeling approaches.
Carrel will develop a novel analytical framework to model and forecast such feedback effects, which will lead to a richer understanding of the long-term dynamics of urban travel and an improvement of travel demand forecasting tools. He is excited to implement this new approach and expand on previous research that has largely overlooked long-term dynamics.
“This research will further build our understanding of the drivers of travel behavior and help move our field from a strictly economic to a more behavioral framework of choice,” he said.
Carrel intends for his work to help transit agencies and city and regional planners make better-informed decisions regarding the funding, design and implementation of future transit projects. “All decisions about major transportation infrastructure projects fundamentally rely on forecasts of travel behavior impacts – for example, to understand how many travelers will use a new facility or system,” he explained. “Improving the realism and long-term accuracy of the travel demand models that underpin such forecasts is key to ensuring that we are investing wisely in the future of our nation’s transportation network.”
Carrel plans a team-oriented approach to his research that engages practitioners throughout the project and provides opportunities for Ohio State students in transportation engineering and city and regional planning to build critical skills.
“Recruiting and training the next generation of transportation professionals and building more bridges between academia and practice are critical to solving the large challenges that lie ahead in creating more sustainable and equitable urban transportation systems,” he stated. Further educational activities will involve outreach events at a Columbus elementary school, where Carrel and his team hope to generate early excitement for STEM fields.
In addition to his primary academic appointments, Andre Carrel serves as core faculty with Ohio State’s Translational Data Analytics Institute and is an affiliated faculty member with Ohio State’s Sustainability Institute, Center for Automotive Research and STEAM Factory. He holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering and the School of Environment and Natural Resources.
based on article by Kevin Satterfield, Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering