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School of City and Regional Planning

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 696
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    Breaking Myths behind "Bikelash": Empirical analyses on the role of protected bike lanes on creating a sustainable, equitable, and safer transportation environment
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-12-10) Hwang, Uijeong
    While cycling is recognized as an eco-friendly alternative to carbon-emitting vehicles and a facilitator of physical activity, opposition to cyclists and bike lanes—termed “bikelash”—persists. This resistance stems from various concerns, ranging from the belief that bike lanes are underutilized and thus a waste of public space to fears that they may exacerbate traffic congestion or even contribute to urban gentrification. Through three detailed studies, this dissertation aims to provide empirical evidence challenging common perceptions and to reshape the narrative surrounding bike lanes. The first study investigates how bike lanes sway individuals' transportation choices, especially favoring non-automotive travel. It employs a novel approach by conducting a route-level analysis using origin-destination data from household travel surveys to simulate potential cycling routes. This study finds that bike lanes significantly encourage the use of walking, cycling, and public transit, thereby reducing car dependency. Notably, it demonstrates the potential of bike lanes to bridge mobility gaps in diverse socio-economic settings, even in underserved neighborhoods. The second study examines how the perception of streetscapes and different types of bike lanes interact to influence cycling behaviors. Utilizing computer vision to interpret perceptual attributes from crowdsourced street view images, the research reveals that the presence and type of bike lanes significantly influence cycling frequency, moderated by the visual perception of streetscape safety. Protected bike lanes are shown to be more effective in areas perceived as less safe, emphasizing their role in equitable transportation. The final paper delves into the safety impact of bike lanes, particularly focusing on near-miss incidents. It utilizes crowdsourced data to examine the risk of near misses in relation to street design and types of bike lanes. The findings indicate that protected bike lanes significantly reduce the risk of near misses, while striped lanes adjacent to street parking increase safety hazards. This challenges existing assumptions about bike lane safety and calls for a strategic shift towards protected bike lanes. This dissertation contributes to practical applications by providing critical empirical evidence to guide urban infrastructure planning and policymaking. The findings support a shift towards protected bike lanes, emphasizing their role in enhancing safety and increasing cycling frequency. The dissertation advocates for a holistic approach in urban transportation planning, promoting inclusive, sustainable, and safer urban environments.
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    Connectivity for whom and at what cost: contesting network infrastructure duality in urban planning
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-12-10) Liang, Xiaofan
    In our increasingly interconnected urban environment, the growth and expansion of network infrastructure play a pivotal role. This infrastructure encompasses transportation systems that facilitate movements and social amenities that foster community bonds, bringing influence and growth to a place. However, network infrastructure can also encode inequality and exclusion: barricaded highways, railways, and airports can replace local social infrastructure and impose physical barriers to local mobility flows; they are also prone to car-oriented urban forms that are unfriendly to pedestrians and bikers. Prior studies often focus on network infrastructure in its own locale or abstract it into spatial social networks, represented as nodes and edges on maps. Such simplification overlooks how network infrastructure sustains spatial and social connections in the built environment and fails to account for the complex and sometimes conflicting functions such infrastructure provides for different demographics and connection types. This dissertation introduces an exploratory framework about network duality, delving into the nuanced yet often contradictory dynamics of urban networks. This framework argues that connectivity is a multifaceted urban phenomenon embedded in network infrastructure that can induce duality, such as connecting one population while excluding the other, exhibiting influence in one system yet causing inequality in another, or co-existing with other infrastructure in some places but not others. Mitigating this duality is important for an inclusive and equitable network society. The critical inquiries are two-fold. First, what types of connectivity are prioritized or supported by urban infrastructure, for whom, at where, and at what cost? Second, what are some strategies (e.g., approaches, toolbox, and practices) that planners can use to mitigate the harmful effects of network infrastructure duality (e.g., exclusion and inequality), especially on marginalized communities? The three papers take different perspectives to answer these big questions. The first paper explores how the AeroATL Greenway Plan reconnects Aerotropolis communities when Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport presents a barrier to local mobility flows. The second paper examines the social costs (such as losing social ties and memories) of demolishing a historic street for a new subway station in Guangzhou, China. The third paper answers where social infrastructure exists near subway stations and what factors influence the degree of their co-existence. All three papers use participatory computational approaches, including participatory GIS, participatory modeling, and volunteered geographic information from OpenStreetMap, to contest the inequality in the existing connectivity scheme.
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    Towards a Safer Atlanta: Identifying High-Priority Intersections for Leading Pedestrian Intervals
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-12) Mase, Heather
    This study addresses the critical issue of pedestrian safety and the need to prioritize safety interventions in the City of Atlanta. It specifically focuses on leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs), which adjust signal timing to give pedestrians a head start when crossing the street at intersections. While traditional safety analyses rely primarily on historical collision data, this analysis takes a systemic and proactive approach to safety by incorporating risk factors such as roadway characteristics, the surrounding built environment, and socioeconomic characteristics of nearby residents. The primary objective of this research is to determine where LPIs should be implemented in the City of Atlanta by ranking and identifying high-risk intersections. The methods comprise of six major steps: (1) factor selection; (2) data collection; (3) database construction; (4) calculation of factor weights, using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP); (5) factor normalization and aggregation, involving scaled scores and weighting; and (6) determination of the final signalized intersection ranking for LPI implementation, based on a rank-order prioritization process. Results from this analysis reveal that many of the highest risk intersections are primarily concentrated around Downtown Atlanta and West Atlanta. The proposed data-driven framework provides a comprehensive and systematic approach to guide decision-makers and safety advocates in directing resources and support to intersections with the greatest need for pedestrian safety intervention. Overall, this research contributes to the advancement of safety, sustainability, and equity in the City of Atlanta.
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    Planning for a Climate Driven Implementation of Mobility Hubs on Georgia Tech’s Campus
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-12) Murali, Malavika
    Mobility hubs are an efficient and effective transportation solution that promotes connectivity and provides last-mile modal options for commuters and residents through integrating multi-modal transportation infrastructure in one convenient transitional space. In addition to encouraging place-making efforts and transforming cities with innovative technologies, mobility hubs are foundationally a strategy for addressing the climate change crisis, which is substantially driven by transportation related carbon and carbon-equivalent emissions. Therefore, a focus on a climate driven implementation of mobility hubs is pertinent to accomplishing the goal of reducing carbon emissions and creating resilient transportation infrastructure. This paper provides a case study analysis of best practice strategies for implementing mobility hubs from three institutions across the United States, which informs a review of Georgia Tech's plans for improving mobility on campus as outlined by the 2023 Comprehensive Campus Plan (CCP). This analysis is used to determine what elements are critical to creating resilient, sustainable, and accessible mobility hubs and to propose a climate driven approach to implementing the mobility plans of the institution. Through this analysis, 14 locations are identified for potential mobility hubs throughout campus that incorporate 11 sustainability and accessibility elements which are detailed in the paper.
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    America’s Gayborhoods: A Study in the Cultural Preservation of LGBTQ+ Communities
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-12) Brennan, Laurence
    In recent years, Atlanta, GA has seen a boon in development, catapulting housing demand and prices, particularly in its densest and most desirable neighborhoods. The Midtown neighborhood’s Garden District, commonly referred to as the ‘Gayborhood’ is one such place where long-time residents are being pushed out. The exodus of queer trailblazers combined with an influx of new, heteronormative populations in dense new high rises, dilutes the proportion of LGBTQ+ anchor residents who patronized the shops and cafes that served as the backbone of this community. This exploratory effort reviews literature and research from other studies and governmental entities and conducts a comparative analyses of planning interventions that other U.S. cities have used as tools toward cultural preservation. This analysis, identifies policies, ordinances, or other successful practices of stewarding the heritage of identity-based places, to prevent further erasure of Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ enclaves.
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    Approaching the limits of climate viability: Urban heat vulnerability in Atlanta and how to adapt
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-10-04) Stone, Brian
    As our world grapples with the undeniable impacts of climate change, urban areas face unique challenges. Among them, the relentless rise in urban temperatures, often referred to as the "urban heat island effect," poses significant threats to the well-being of our communities. Stone, a leading authority in the field of climate science and urban planning, will shed light on the specific context of Atlanta, as recently highlighted in the article titled "Heat risk is growing. These are Atlanta's most vulnerable neighborhoods" in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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    Beyond Bouncing Back: Resilient Planning Documents and Disruptive Events in Small Coastal Towns of the Southeastern United States (Apalachicola, Florida Case Study)
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-10) Wells, K.P.
    The purpose of this report is to study the comprehensive plan of a small, coastal town in the southeastern US in order to study how these cities, which are often overlooked in planning literature, adapt their planning documents to enhance resilience in the aftermath of disruptive events such as climate change, natural disasters, public health emergencies and technological disasters.
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    Site Suitability Analysis of Mobility Hubs: Determining Suitable Locations for Transit Center Enhancement in Metro Atlanta
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-08) Murali, Malavika
    Mobility hubs are an efficient and effective transportation solution that promotes connectivity and last-mile modal options for commuters and residents that integrate multi-modal transportation infrastructure. In addition to encouraging place-making efforts, mobility hubs transform cities with innovative approaches to seamless modal transitions and integrating smart technologies for wayfinding, safety, and accessibility. This study identified three existing transit stations within Fulton, Clayton, and DeKalb counties in Georgia that can be turned into regional shared mobility hubs through analyzing origin-destination data of these stations, the surrounding land uses, and the population demographics of these areas. These three counties were selected as they make up the existing Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transportation Authority (MARTA) passenger rail network. Based on research on the benefits of mobility hubs, the factors of close distance, added connectivity, and proximity to activity centers are proven to improve the implementation of mobility hubs. Thus, the purpose of this study is to determine the potential for the tri-county area to implement mobility hubs at regional scales to expand the reach of alternative modes of transportation, and to address the issues of inaccessible transportation networks. After analyzing the transit stations using demographic data of the study area and a multi-criteria analysis (MCA), three locations were found to be ideal sites for developing into mobility hubs: the Midtown, Decatur, and Dome/GWCC/Philips/CNN MARTA stations.
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    Participatory Science for Data Feminism: Application of an original feminist framework for assessing participatory datasets in urban planning decision-making
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-07-31) Khorashahi, Yasamin
    The purpose of this study is to characterize participatory data science as an effective feminist framework for urban planning decision-making and assess its efficacy in achieving planning outcomes through a climate-oriented case study (UrbanHeatATL) in the Atlanta context. Cities are trending towards rapid digitization, and scholarship on Big and small data suggests that emerging methods of data collection and implementation are inherently biased because they disassemble individual identities into single-dimensional data points. Feminist epistemology suggests that meeting communities where they are when making policy decisions through practices such as participatory data collection and governance is an effective way to reduce bias against marginalized individuals and their communities. The UrbanHeatATL case is assessed against an original feminist framework for assessment of participatory science, the Participatory Science for Data Feminism (PSDF) framework. The PSDF framework has three dimensions: 1) participatory metadata, which addresses question of who is participating in data collection, how data are being collected, and who these data will represent; 2) data for power/data for liberation seeks to characterize why data are being collected and what stories are being told by the data; and 3) efficacy in planning outcomes is to assess whether these data are being collected as a means for implementation of plans and policy to lead to more equitable outcomes for marginalized communities. The project followed data feminism principles of data collection and told a compelling narrative about heat-vulnerable communities, but gaps remain in translating datasets into equitable planning and policy outcomes. Steps need to be taken by planning decision-makers and researchers to better integrate community participation into data collection by making technology more accessible. Researchers must also work directly with planning decision-makers before, during, and after the data collection process to determine a path forward for policy and planning outcomes.
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    Explore pedestrian route choice preferences by demographic groups: analysis of street attributes in Chicago
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-05-15) Lieu, Seung Jae
    Traditional transit accessibility models often overlook travel behavior and fine-grained transit characteristics experienced during first and last-mile walking. Existing models typically assume travelers choose the shortest walking path to minimize travel time, but studies suggest pedestrians do not always follow this pattern. This study investigates pedestrian route choice preferences in Chicago, Illinois, using a diverse dataset of home-based work walking trajectories collected from a smartphone application. The impact of street attributes on route choice is examined, and a comparison is made of how built environment factors influence preferences among different demographic groups. A path-size logit model with a constrained enumeration approach-based choice set is employed for analysis. This study also addresses two gaps in pedestrian route choice research. First, unlike most studies that use data constrained to a particular study area or limited participant groups, this research employs a diverse dataset of actual walking trajectories covering a wide range of destinations and participant profiles. Second, this study utilizes GPS data, offering more accurate route choice analysis compared to questionnaires. Such surveys may suffer from recall bias, and they may not capture route choice variability across different times and days. The findings from this study indicate that factors such as distance, the number of amenities and establishments, sky visibility, greenery, and park accessibility along the route significantly influence route choice. While route distance and the number of establishments have a negative impact on preference, other factors positively affect route selection. To compare the effect of each variable across gender, age, and income, this study has operationalized the coefficients to use the concept of ‘equivalent walking distance.' This measure quantifies the incremental disutility resulting from various route attributes, represented as an equivalent increase or decrease in walking distance. The analysis shows that male pedestrians are more willing to walk further when there is greater sky visibility. Similarly, individuals aged over 30 years old tend to walk longer distances with increased sky visibility. Notably, we found no significant variables influencing route choice among different income groups.