Distinguished Professor and Dean
- Suite 300, Civic Square Building
- (848) 932-2714
- sustainable transportation
- urban informatics
- using “big data” to understand complex urban problems
Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah was named Distinguished Professor and the Dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy on Oct. 1, 2018.
Before joining the Bloustein School, Dr. Thakuriah was the Ch2m chair of Transport and professor of Urban Studies and an affiliated professor at the School of Engineering in the University of Glasgow, UK.
Dr. Thakuriah is the founding director and principal investigator of the Urban Big Data Centre (UBDC) funded by Economic and Social Research Council of Research Councils UK. There, she led a large-scale nationwide urban data infrastructure with colleagues from 10 academic disciplines in the urban social sciences, data sciences and engineering, at the University of Glasgow, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Bristol, Reading, Sheffield and the University of Illinois-Chicago. In partnership with government agencies and industrial partners, UBDC promotes innovative data and analytics to address complex urban challenges.
Her research interests are on smart, socially just and sustainable transport. She is more broadly interested in urban informatics, or the analytics of emerging sources of “big data” to understand complex urban problems. She has been principal investigator of several significant grants in the United States and UK funded by Research Councils UK, European Commission, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of Labor and other leading research sponsors.
Dr. Thakuriah holds a Marie Curie fellowship from the European Commission. Before joining the University of Glasgow, she was a professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She was previously a fellow of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)–Academic Leadership Program (ALP) of the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Her postdoctoral work at the National Institute of Statistical Sciences was funded by a fellowship program of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Mathematical Sciences.
She has been principal investigator of grants valued at approximately $25 million and has been involved in research grants of $63 million in total (as principal investigator, co-investigator or investigator) in the US and the UK. Dr. Thakuriah has collaborated on transport or data projects in Malaysia, China, India, Australia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and several European countries. She has provided testimony to Congress and has given input to the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, the European Commission’s statistical agency Eurostat, Center for Big Data Statistics of Statistics Netherlands, and other leading organizations on transportation, data, automation and society.