Research: Are Transportation Planning Views Shared by Engineering Students and the Public?

June 15, 2022

Transportation reform is often achingly slow, fraught with political tension and disagreement. At times, planners seem to square off against engineers about the purpose of transportation and the appropriate response to pressing issues like congestion and safety. At other times, planner-endorsed transportation reforms fail to garner strong public support.

In a new article, “Are Transportation Planning Views Shared by Engineering Students and the Public?” (Journal of Planning Education and Research, June 2022), Bloustein School associate professor Kelcie Ralph and co-authors Nicholas J. Klein (Cornell University), Calvin Thigpen (Lime, San Francisco, CA), and Anne Brown ( University of Oregon) compared the policy preferences of transportation planning students, engineering students, and the public to identify points of consensus and divergence within and between the groups. This work is essential because all three groups play unique roles in shaping transportation outcomes.

The authors surveyed transportation students and the U.S. public to explore consensus and divergence in policy preferences, finding considerable agreement among planning students, which may be a strength—it is easier to pursue shared goals—or a weakness—too much consensus can lead to echo chambers and disconnection.

Engineering students and the public shared some planner-preferred views (like expanding transit) but disagreed with planning students about the role of transportation and appropriate policy tools, especially road widening.

The results suggest that diverging policy preferences are, at least in part, a reflection of planning’s signature pedagogy.

Recent Posts

Prof. Julia Sass Rubin: Advocate for Democracy

Original article published in TAPintoPrinceton, June 15, 2024 By Pam Hersh Princeton, NJ – Tuesday, June 4, Primary Election Day in New Jersey, was a big expletive-deleted deal for Princeton resident Julia Sass Rubin, whose name appeared nowhere on any ballot. Rubin,...

Nikpour Receives Office of Disability Services Award

Professor Fereydoun Nikpour was selected for the Office of Disability Services Faculty Honor Roll. The Faculty Honor Roll is a new initiative to recognize instructors who go above and beyond to support the work of the Office of Disability Services (ODS). ODS staff...

Heldrich Report: NJ’s Energy-Efficiency Workforce Needs

New Jersey's Energy-Efficiency Workforce Needs, Infrastructure, and Equity Assessment New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Energy Master Plan and Executive Order 315 set a goal to reduce fossil fuel usage to 100% clean energy by 2035. The Executive Order also called for...

Shaul Picker Receives 2024 Mortensen-Voorhees Award

Shaul Picker is the 2024 recipient of the Mortensen-Voorhees Award for Achievement in Transportation Studies. This award is granted annually to the highest-achieving student with a concentration in transportation at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Urban Planning and...

NJSPL – Key Insights from Early Offshore Wind Implementation

By Jessica Parineet Offshore wind development is in its early stages in the United States, with just under one gigawatt (GW) of utility scale capacity constructed. State decarbonization goals have catalyzed industry progress thus far, however the Biden administration...

Upcoming Events

Latest Past Events

Jersey City Alumni Mixer

Zeppelin Hall Biergarten 88 Liberty View Dr, Jersey City

Join us for an alumni mixer in #JerseyCity on Thursday, June 6th at Zeppelin Hall Biergarten. Parking for Zeppelin Hall is FREE - more information can be found here: https://zeppelinhall.com/map/. This […]