Best PhD Student Dissertation in AAG Transportation Specialty Group Awarded to Alumna Kate Deutsch-Burgner


The Chair of the Transportation Geography Specialty Group of the AAG recently announced award winners for 2014, and alumna Kathleen E. Deutsch-Burgner took honors for her PhD student dissertation:

“Like last year, we had a number of high-quality nominations/applications, and they were difficult to distinguish. The TGSG board members carefully evaluated each nomination, and the following individuals are awarded in the upcoming AAG conference in Tampa, Florida:

The Edward L. Ullman Award for outstanding contributions to the field of transportation geography will be awarded to Bert Van Wee, Professor in Transport Policy at Delft University of Technology and scientific director of the TRAIL research school. Dr. Van Wee is well-known in the field of transport geography for his theoretical and conceptual work on accessibility showing a new way of linking a relationship between urban land use and transportation.

The Ph.D. student dissertation award ended in a tie between Kathleen E. Deutsch-Burgner of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Abu Toasin Md Oakil of Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and both will be receiving the award in the upcoming AAG conference. Kathleen’s dissertation, titled “An Investigation in Decision Making and Destination Choice Incorporating Place Meaning and Social Network Influences,” was supervised by Konstadinos G. Goulias. Abu’s dissertation, titled “Temporal Dependence in Life Trajectories and Mobility Decisions,” was supervised by Dr. Dick Ettema and Dr. Theo Arentze.

The Master’s student competition award also ended in a tie between Colin Dony of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Daniel Schleith of Florida State University. Colin receives this award for his thesis titled “Using GIS to determine travel impedance to hospitals for infants with spina bifida in Florida, 1998-2007,” was supervised by Dr. Eric Delmelle. Daniel receives this award for his thesis titled “Investigating spatially disaggregate commuting for workers with different incomes in Leon County, Florida,” which was supervised by Dr. Mark Horner. In addition, an honorable mention will be awarded to Sylvia Brady for her thesis, titled “Mobility and aging in Denver, CO: Travel behaviors, mobility barriers, and perceptions of transit,” which was supervised by Dr. Eric Boschman at the University of Denver.

Please join me in congratulating all these distinguish individuals for their contribution to the field of Transport Geography.” (Source: email from Selima Sultana, Chair of the TGSG, to Professor Kostas Goulias.) Kudos and all the best to Kate from the entire UCSB Department of Geography!

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Kate recently started her own company in Santa Barbara, called Data Perspectives Consulting. Regarding her award, Kate graciously commented: “I’m honored that the work in my dissertation was selected to receive the TGSG PhD award. I’m really thankful for all the people and conversations that propelled me along the way in my dissertation work, especially the Geotrans members and my committee members Kostas, Stuart, Martin, Kouros (University of Illinois, Chicago), and Antonio (McMaster University). Receiving this award is like putting a capstone on a great time spent in the Geography department at UCSB!”

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Co-directed by Professor Rick Church (left) and Professor Kostas Goulias, the GeoTrans Laboratory in the UCSB Department of Geography is the confluence of two distinct and influential research fields in Transportation, each with unique foundations in quantitative geography. One is the logistics and transportation field, solving problems of spatial optimality through operations research techniques. The other is the travel behavior field, which is concerned with data collection, design of statistical and econometric models, and their use in policy and decision making.