Undergraduate Research Fellowship Awards

The National Center for Sustainable Transportation at UC Davis awards undergraduate research fellowships to students interested in continuing their studies over the summer by conducting research in one of the following areas: environmentally responsible infrastructure and operations, multi-modal travel and sustainable land use, zero-emission vehicle and fuel technologies, and institutional change. We are very excited to have these students working with us! Learn about NCST undergraduate research assistantships at the University of Vermont

2017 NCST Undergraduate Research Fellows

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Kathryn Canepa

Major: Sustainable Environmental Design
Faculty Mentor: Gil Tal

Kathryn worked with her mentor to write a paper for the Transportation Research Board exploring plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) use in disadvantaged communities. Kathryn helped with GIS analysis to quantify topics like the share of PEV owners in these communities and how many PEV owners have incomes lower than the California median household income. Kathryn also helped with additional research that looks at current PEV use with the goal of making electric vehicles more accessible to lower income demographics. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Monica Gonzalez

Major: Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning; Political Science-Public Service
Faculty Mentor: Giovanni Circella

Monica worked with her faculty mentor to design a transportation behavior survey for The Sustainable City in Dubai. The study looks at individual’s mobility needs and preferences to characterize a car-sharing program and identify incentives to promote sustainable transportation. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Thomas Guo

Major: Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Alan Jenn

Thomas worked with his mentor on researching the environmental and public safety benefits of connected vehicles by reviewing their overall greenhouse gas and traffic reductions, along with their potential for accident prevention. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Joseph Kaylor

Major: Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning
Faculty Mentor: Jamey Volker and Amy Lee

This summer, Joe worked with his mentors to produce case studies for cities in California to research the relationship between transportation impact metrics and land use development patterns. Specifically, Senate Bill 743’s recommendation to switch from Level of Service to Vehicle Miles Traveled as the threshold metric for transportation related environmental impacts in environmental review. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Maia Moran

Major: Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning
Faculty Mentor: Gil Tal

Maia identified and analyzed the impacts of ‘shocks’ to the electric vehicle market in select states and countries by measuring long-term policy and incentive changes. Statistical models paired with a content analysis of policies and incentives have been deployed to measure significant market changes and the potentially distributed impacts of isolated shocks to electric vehicle adoption. The collected data intends to inform policymakers and automakers about the influence of market changes and long-term coordination to support market development. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Blythe Nishi

Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Debbie Niemeier

Blythe researched how priority development areas in the Bay Area are being implemented and supported by their local counties and Congestion Management Agencies. She looked at the transit investments and regulations aimed at them, as well as how effective these areas are in providing opportunities for locals and easily accessible transit, jobs, shopping and services. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Callum Watts

Major: Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning
Faculty Mentor: Rebecca Hernandez

Callum worked with the AridLab team to calculate the photovoltaic potential of parking lots associated with the largest commercial buildings in the United States, and quantify this potential energy in terms of a building-specific electricity generation and electricity consumption balance. This was accomplished by using both the ArcGIS and Aurora platforms to calculate parking lot areas and perform cloud-based solar optimization analysis. View Presentation | Download Final Report


2016 NCST Undergraduate Research Fellows

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Esther Robles De Wence and Praewa (Patty) Boonlue

Major: Environmental Science and Management
Faculty Mentor: Rebecca Hernandez

Patty and Esther worked together to research photovoltaic (PV) solar energy-generating systems. Their goal was to quantify the potential of rooftop-mounted PV systems deployed on 25 of the largest buildings in the United States and compare the amount space on land that rooftop-mounted PV systems save to ground-mounted, utility-scale PV power plants. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Freshta Pirzada

Major: Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Giovanni Circella

Freshta worked with a group of graduate students to determine what affects young adults’ choices of mobility. She helped to analyze the responses of over 2,000 young adults to determine how certain factors (e.g., home type, commute distance, travel patterns, city type) influence travel choices. Once patterns and overall preferences are determined, land use and transportation planners can use this information to ensure the mobility needs of young adults are being met. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Itsel Guzman

Major: Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning
Faculty Mentor: Lew Fulton

Itsel researched the social and economic viability of dynamic ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft. The study looks at the growth and efficiency of ride share services, and their impacts on carpooling and car ownership in the future. View Presentation | Download Final Report


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Juliet Martin

Major: Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning and Communications
Faculty Mentor: Fraser Shilling

Juliet worked with the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis to research the impact of transportation systems on wildlife. This research studies how transportation infrastructure affects the behavior and movement of wildlife. The goal of her project is to effectuate low-impact, sustainable transportation policies beneficial to wildlife wellbeing. Download Final Report


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Tului Gantulga

Major: Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Miguel Jaller

Tului researched strategies to improve the efficiency of urban freight deliveries considering delivery times, sequence of stops, costs, and the economic and environmental impact of congestion. He created a program that takes requests at any time of the day and calculates the most efficient way of picking up/dropping off a package based on previously mentioned considerations. The program also gathers traffic data from Google at different times of the day and different days of the week to be able to work offline. View Presentation | Download Final Report