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Thread: UCLA or USC for transportation planning

  1. #1
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    UCLA or USC for transportation planning

    Hello folks!

    I am currently deciding between UCLA and USC's master in urban planning programs. My goal is to come into a career that revolves around using statistics and GIS to conduct transportation infrastructure related research. To that end, I have already completed Penn State's Online GIS Certificate and will work on a part-time online masters in applied statistics through Texas A&M concurrently with my masters in urban planning degree.

    I hope that the program I attend will offer rich research opportunities and quantitatively oriented curriculum to buttress my statistical work.

    Given my situation, can anyone offer any advice as to whether UCLA or USC would be more conducive to my goals?

    Thank you in advance for your input!

  2. #2
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    It kind of depends on what type of transportation planning you're interested in. UCLA (where I got my MA) tends to be strong in the areas of travel behavior, transportation finance, transportation equity and politics, while USC is a great place to study goods movement/logistics and has good connections with the Ports of LA and Long Beach, in addition to having a couple of prominent contrarian/free-market faculty in James Moore and Peter Gordon.

    For UCLA, I recommend checking out bios and/or looking up publications for the following people:
    Brian Taylor - has done a lot of research on congestion pricing, and has been a major critic of LA's aggressive program of fixed-rail construction on equity grounds
    Randall Crane - has pretty extensively investigated the intersection of land use, urban design and travel behavior; skeptical of the claims of Smart Growth proponents
    Don Shoup - parking guru; does a lot of work applying behavioral economics to various policy questions
    Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris - not really a transportation specialist, but did some pretty interesting research on how security concerns affect transit use, particularly among women
    Evelyn Blumenberg - also studies transportation from an equity perspective; research on ethnicity, gender and employment as it relates to travel behavior

    UCLA faculty bios: http://publicaffairs.ucla.edu/facult...ban-planning/1

    For USC check out Gordon, Moore, Genevieve Giuliano (goods movement modeling, impacts on freight on urban regions), and Lisa Schweitzer (transport and environment, social equity).

    USC faculty bios: http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/faculty/

    Both programs are excellent in terms of quantitative research and modeling, but you'll definitely get more out of one vs. the other depending on what you're interested in. It sounds like you've got a pretty good idea already and are preparing yourself pretty well, so you should do fine. Good luck...

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