Ellen O. White receives Student Aspiration Merit Award

October 4, 2021

PhD candidate Ellen O. White recently received the Student Aspiration Merit Award for a Multimedia Session at the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation (ICOET).

The ICOET Steering Committee grants the awards to students or recent graduates presenting their research as the primary author at either a poster session or lectern talk at the bi-annual conference.

Ellen’s presentation, titled “Quantifying highway agency roadside tree removal using high-resolution satellite data,” reviewed large-scale tree removal by state highway agencies along roadsides. These actions are often classified as maintenance projects, which have no environmental or public review requirements. Many states do not track tree removal, and thus the highway agencies cannot assess the environmental trade-offs of their actions. In this study, she used USDA Farm Service Agency’s National Agriculture Imagery Program one-meter imagery and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) Image Analysis in ArcGIS to analyze the before and after greenness along roadsides in Chatham County, Georgia. Results included maps of cleared areas and an estimate of total ha/acres lost.

Ellen’s dissertation research focuses on vegetation management practices within state highway agencies and other topics at the intersection of ecology and transportation.

Also a Coastal Climate Risk and Resiliency Fellow at Rutgers, Ellen has over 10 years of professional experience in work ranging from analyzing human-services transportation funding to conducting bus rider surveys to drawing curb ramps in CAD. She previously worked as a transportation planner for Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates and as an urban designer for Arterial Street Design Studio, partnering with planners, engineers, public agencies, elected officials, and community members to create better transit systems and more pedestrian-friendly, sustainable streets.

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