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Dr. Anne Goodchild presents "What do we want? Approaching urban freight from a community lens"


While transportation planning has practiced community-engaged planning for many years, the practice is less well-established for freight projects.  Historically freight activity was associated with industrial and commercial landuses and the impacted communities largely considered to be freight-related businesses.  This oversight has for many years led to conflicts within neighborhoods proximal to significant industrial facilities.  Increased freight activity in residential neighborhoods due to the use of delivery services, exacerbates and expands the scale of problems created by the exclusion of neighborhood views on freight planning activities. In this talk Dr. Goodchild will detail the historic view of the “freight community” and mechanisms for freight community engagement.  She will also present community perspectives from survey results in the Seattle area.  This leads to recommendations as to how we can re-envision freight planning in support of more livable, engaged, communities.

Panel Discussion to Follow

After Professor Goodchild's presentation, there will be a panel discussion.

About the speaker

Dr. Anne Goodchild leads the University of Washington’s academic and research efforts in the area of supply chain, logistics, and freight transportation. She is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Foundi

ng Director of the Urban Freight Lab (UFL). Goodchild is an international expert in the area of public/private collaboration, and her approach to research has resulted in almost 100 novel publications. She is the recipient of the 2021 PacTrans Outstanding Researcher Award, the 2021 ITE Transportation Education Council Innovation in Education Award, the 2021 Transportation Research Board Urban Freight Commitee Best Practical Implications Paper award, and 2020 Outstanding Mentor award from the University of Washington’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Transportation Club of Seattle’s, 2017 Person of the Year.


Panel Discussion


Professor Matthew Roorda is a professor of Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto. research program covers both urban freight and passenger travel research initiatives. The research provides challenging and impactful opportunities for graduate students.  There is a strong and on-going need for our research to assess the impacts of many policy decisions being made by our government representatives, and by industry every day.  Our research influences those decisions, resulting in a more sustainable, efficient and equitable urban transportation system.


Nazzareno (Naz) Capano, P.Eng. is the Manager of Operational Policy & Initiatives in Transportation Services with the City of Toronto. He has over 30 years of experience in areas focused on infrastructure asset management, traffic and road operations, transportation policy and environmental initiatives related to climate change and adaption.

Naz has guided a variety of strategic initiatives that include, the development and implementation of a free-floating car-share policy, examination of tolling on the Gardiner Expressway and DVP, and Toronto’s Curbside Management and Freight and Goods Movement Strategies, to name a few.

Naz is a graduate from the University of Toronto with B.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering.

Adam Thorn is the director of the Pembina Institute’s transportation program and is based in Toronto. His work focuses on policies that support the decarbonization of Canada’s transportation sector, especially on-road transportation. Prior to joining the Pembina Institute, he was an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Mississauga and Toronto Metropolitan University, teaching public policy specializing in environmental policy.


Clarence Woudsma, Ph.D.,MCIP, RPP is a faculty member in the University of Waterloo’s School of Planning and a Registered Professional Planner. He is a Past President of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum and has published on a broad range of transportation subjects over his career including climate change impacts and adaptation, deregulation, urban freight planning, logistics sprawl and the gig economy and last mile logistics.


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This announcement originally posted by the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series.

The University of Toronto Mississauga Mobility Network (UTM-MN) has announced three recipients of 2023 UTM Mobility Network Faculty Funding Awards. 

The awards will enable faculty to pursue research and contribute to the important field of knowledge around mobility in our communities.

About the award winners and their funded research

Johnson: Making road infrastructure healthier for urban ecosystems

head shot of Dr. Marc Johnson
Professor Marc Johnson

Marc Johnson, a professor in the Department of Biology and director of the Centre for Urban Environments at UTM, will use the funding to extend his work on urban landscape changes and their impacts on ecosystems and environmental health. The award will help Johnson purchase computer software and equipment and hire a research assistant to support his research.

Johnson's project will provide insight into the impacts of roadways and traffic on key indicators of ecosystem health. The results of the study will lead to concrete recommendations for urban planners and policy makers on how to make road infrastructure healthier for urban ecosystems.

Vinodrai and Wolfe: Researching clusters, mobility, and economic vulnerability in Canadian cities

combined head shots of Dr. Tara Vinodrai and Dr. David Wolfe
Professor Tara Vinodrai (left) and Professor David Wolfe

A joint project by Tara Vinodrai, an associate professor in the Institute for Management and Innovation at UTM, and David Wolfe, a professor of political science at UTM and co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, will leverage UTM-MN funding to purchase custom data drawn from the 2021 Canadian Census of Population and hire a research assistant to pursue research on clusters, mobility, and economic vulnerability in Canadian cities.

The funded project will help Vinodrai and Wolfe build a foundation for future in-depth research and peer-reviewed articles, and facilitate their collaboration on topics related to clusters, mobility, innovation, and regional dynamics.

About UTM-MN Faculty Funding Awards

UTM-MN faculty-led initiatives are funded in support of Mobility Network’s mission to foster interdisciplinary mobility research that addresses equity and promotes resilient, sustainable, and just urban growth and prosperity. The work contributed by these leading researchers expands our collective knowledge of inclusive cities and societies, healthy lives, and a sustainable future.

With files from UTM-MN.

The Suburban Mobilities Cluster at the University of Toronto Scarborough is a multi-disciplinary research program that draws on expertise across nine disciplines to tackle four suburban mobility challenges: rising suburban inequalities, improving transportation design and technology, increasing transportation impacts on climate change, emerging stakes on resilience to shocks.

Suburban Mobilities is part of the Mobility Network, a network of partners, in the community, in industry, and in government, who will collaborate to find mobility solutions that serve people’s well-being, the planet’s future, and the potential of our growing cities to flourish equitably, sustainably and productively.

As a pillar of the GTA-RISE institute, the cluster will develop an integrated UTSC approach to collaborative research, while leveraging faculty resources and university institutions across the tri-campus, such as the Mobility Network, The School of Cities, and the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute.


9:30 a.m.      Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

  • Steven Farber, Associate Professor, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough. Director of Suburban Mobilities Cluster

9:40               Introduction: The cluster and the Scarborough Survey

  • Ignacio Tiznado-Aitken, Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough, Research Coordinator of Suburban Mobilities Cluster

10:05             Predictors of Transportation-Related Barriers to Healthcare Access

  • Nicholas Spence, Assistant Professor, Department of Health & Society, University of Toronto Scarborough

10:30             Active travel among older adults in suburban contexts: A mixed-methods approach

  • Alec Khachatryan, PhD student, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto

10:55             Coffee Break

11:10             15-minute city in Scarborough

  • Anton Yu, Master student, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough

11:35             Relationships between accessibility and quality of life outcomes

  • Joao Parga, PhD student, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto

12:00 p.m.   The way forward: Future research with the Scarborough Survey

  • Shaila Jamal, Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough, Research Coordinator of Suburban Mobilities Cluster

12:25             Lunch and closing remarks

Download the Suburban Mobilities Cluster Day agenda.


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Ontario is faced with a shortage of housing that needs to be met with dwellings of many types and affordability options. In 2022, for the first time in history, Canada's population increased by more than a million people, many of whom will decide to call our region home — and that’s only the beginning. The pressure will only grow.

Where and how should we plan new housing to safeguard equitable access to opportunity?


Nathaniel Baum-Snow holds the Premier's Research Chair in Productivity and Competitiveness and is a Professor of Economic Analysis and Policy. He has research interests in urban and real estate economics, labor economics and economic geography. Recent research includes studies about housing supply and affordability, productivity spillovers that operate between firms at hyper local spatial scales and the causes and consequences of neighborhood change. Past research also includes investigations of reasons for changes in the spatial organization of economic activity in U.S. and Chinese cities, reasons for which workers earn more and have more dispersed wages in larger cities, and the consequences of transportation infrastructure investments on urban growth and welfare. He is a Managing Editor at the Journal of Urban Economics.

Derek Goring is Executive Vice President, Development at Northcrest Developments. He has 20 years of experience in real estate development, with a focus on large-scale master planned developments in the Greater Toronto Area. With roles in both public and private sector organizations, Derek has had the opportunity to work on some of Toronto’s most important city-building projects.

Derek leads the development team at Northcrest, which is responsible for master planning the Downsview airport lands, securing all necessary municipal approvals, and working with partners to implement the project.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering & Management from McMaster University and an MBA from the University of Toronto. Derek has been actively involved with the Urban Land Institute for many years, and currently serves as a Global Governing Trustee, a member of the Technology and Real Estate Council, and with ULI Toronto as a member of the Advisory Board and the Governance Committee.

Tara Vinodrai is an associate professor in the Institute for Management and Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga and the director of its Master of Urban Innovation program. Her research focuses on the dynamics of innovation, economic development, labour markets and technological change in cities. Her most recent work explores the relationships between housing affordability and economic development; clusters and innovation ecosystems; mechanisms for achieving inclusive innovation and economic development across generational and spatial divides; and the impact, adoption and use of disruptive technologies in emerging and traditional sectors. 


Chris Higgins is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Geography at University of Toronto Scarborough. His research focuses on the relationship between the physical form and infrastructure of the city and the functions of the urban networks that facilitate the flows of people, goods, and information. His research areas include mobility and accessibility, housing and neighbourhood change, real estate and land value uplift, choicemaking behaviour and travel demand modelling, health and wellbeing. 

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About The Way Forward

event graphic with series title, tag line Diverse Perspectives. Pivotal Mobility Conversations, logo and wordmark


Explore the many ways mobility affects our lives at The Way Forward, a panel discussion series. Join the conversation!

All sessions take place online on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and are free. Registration is required.

An introductory overview will be followed by short presentations, a moderated panel discussion, and audience Q & A. This event will be recorded and shared.

Interested in more The Way Forward sessions?

See the complete Spring 2023 schedule for The Way Forward.

Above: Professor Jinhua Zhao delivers Distinguished Lecture at Sidney Smith Hall, University of Toronto, March 27, 2023. (Photo: Pat Doherty).

Mobility Network was proud to co-host a visit by Professor Jinhua Zhao, the Edward and Joyce Linde Associate Professor of City and Transportation Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), on March 27 and 28, 2023. Prof. Zhao is well-known for his work at the MIT Mobility Initiative and as the host for the popular virtual weekly seminar series, MIT Mobility Forum.

Zhao came to Toronto to deliver the Distinguished Lecture for the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering, "Behavior and computation: What defines the future of urban mobility?" the evening of March 27.

Though his visit was short, Zhao was generous with his time. In addition to delivering his public lecture and taking part in the subsequent panel discussion, Zhao met with several U of T faculty, made a guest appearance at Professor Eric Miller's graduate course "Cities as Complex Systems," and met with transportation engineering graduate students at a research roundtable.

The Distinguished Lecture event drew a large crowd.

In his welcoming remarks, Professor Brent Sleep, Chair of the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering, said, "It's always great to see such a tremendous turnout for these Distinguished Lectures that are transportation-related. Every year I think transportation wins the prize for the widest and greatest and most number of people coming out from not just within the university, but from outside the university as well."

Professor Zhao captured audience attention from the start of his lecture.

I want to introduce a way of looking at transportation that I find rewarding.

Over time, throughout human history, we invented a fantastic set of technologies that help us move from point A to point B. Many from MIT and University of Toronto contributed to some of this design and implementation of the system.

But the question is, is the technology innovation necessarily translating into the betterment of the transportation and mobility system? That's the question I would ask.

Professor Jinhua Zhao, March 27, 2023

He explained his views in detail, drawing from research studies and sharing compelling arguments illustrated with relevant examples that always drove his points home.

Behaviour thinking is really good at identifying opportunities, while computational thinking is the one that offers the foundation, the solution to it. My research really tries to bring the two together. And you bring them together to shape individual behaviour, design systems, and reform policies.

Professor Jinhua Zhao, March 27, 2023

Following his lecture, Zhao joined Ryan Lanyon (TTC) and Professor Amer Shalaby (U of T) for a panel discussion moderated by Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou (U of T).

Three panelists sit at table, moderator at podium. View from the back of the hall.
A lively panel discussion and Q &A on a variety of topics followed Professor Jinhua Zhao's Distinguished Lecture March 27, 2023. (L-R) Professor Amer Shalaby, Ryan Lanyon, Professor Jinhua Zhao, and Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou. (Photo: Pat Doherty).

Prof. Hatzopoulou asked the panelists questions received from the audience and also blended in her own questions. Panel discussion topics ranged from a theoretical standard for basic access to mobility as a human right to the social nature of transportation.

Watch the video recording of "Behaviour and computation: What defines the future of urban mobility?"


The transportation world is booming but in flux: the industry is being reshuffled, communities and cities are often confused and anxious about their mobility future, and the ecosystem pressure is daunting.

Mobility is in the midst of profound transformation with an unprecedented combination of new technologies: autonomy, electrification, connectivity, and AI, meeting new evolving priorities: decarbonization, public health, and social justice.

In this talk, Professor Zhao sharply focuses on two forces that drive the mobility future: behaviour and computation.

Behaviorally he investigates: Is travel social? Is travel emotional? And is travel perceptual? He uses a behavioural lens to examine mobility technologies and translates business decisions into a set of behavioural inquiries. Every single organization or company exists to change someone’s behaviour.

Computationally, he brings AI and machine learning methods to sense, predict, nudge and regulate travel behaviour. He demonstrates the power of bringing behavioural and computational thinking together, in order to make mobility services predictive, individualized, and experimental. He will illustrate how to design multimodal mobility systems that integrate shared and autonomous services with public transit.

Panel discussion to follow

Following his talk, Professor Zhao will be joined by Ryan Lanyon, Manager of New Technology and Innovation at the TTC, and Professor Amer Shalaby, Director of the Transit Analytics Lab, for a panel discussion moderated by Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou, Director of Positive Zero Transport Futures.

About Professor Jinhua Zhao

head shot of Dr. Jinhua Zhao
Dr. Jinhua Zhao

Jinhua Zhao is the Edward and Joyce Linde Associate Professor of City and Transportation Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He integrates behavioral and computational thinking to decarbonize the global mobility system.

Prof. Zhao founded and directs the MIT Mobility Initiative, coalescing the Institute’s efforts on transportation research, education, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. He hosts the MIT Mobility Forum, curating cutting-edge transportation research across the globe. Prof. Zhao directs the JTL Urban Mobility Lab and Transit Lab at MIT. He leads long-term collaborations with transportation authorities and operators worldwide, including London, Chicago, Washington DC, and Hong Kong and enables cross-culture learning between cities in North America, Asia and Europe. He develops methods to sense, predict, nudge, and regulate travel behavior, and designs multimodal mobility systems that integrate autonomous vehicles, shared mobility, and public transport. He is the co-founder and chief scientist for TRAM Global, a mobility decarbonization venture.

About the panel

head shot of Dr. Marianne Hatzopoulou
Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou

Marianne Hatzopoulou, moderator

Marianne Hatzopoulou is Professor in the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transport Decarbonization and Air Quality. She leads the Transportation and Air Quality (TRAQ) research group studying the interactions between transportation, air quality, climate change, and public health; she published 150 publications on these topics. Prof. Hatzopoulou is also the Director of Positive Zero Transport Futures, a living lab ecosystem for testing transport decarbonization innovations with positive societal outcomes. Prof. Hatzopoulou is on the Canadian team of researchers who were the 2021 recipients of the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. In 2022, she received the University of Toronto Engineering Alumni Network 2T5 Mid-Career Achievement Award. She is an associate editor of the journal Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment and the incoming chair for the Transportation Research Board Standing Committee on “Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation” (2023-2026).

head shot of Ryan Lanyon
Ryan Lanyon

Ryan Lanyon

Ryan Lanyon is the Manager of New Technology and Innovation at the TTC, having recently joined after a decade with the City of Toronto. Ryan has been working in local government for more than 20 years, starting out in demand management and providing online ridematching services to commuters. More recently, Ryan led the West Rouge Automated Shuttle Trial, developed the Transportation Innovation Zone at Exhibition Place, and recommended policies to City Council regarding micromobility. Ryan is also learning and researching methods of applying strategic foresight to prepare Toronto's transportation system for emerging and future transportation technologies.

head shot of Dr. Amer Shalaby
Professor Amer Shalaby

Amer Shalaby

Dr. Shalaby is Professor and Bahen/Tanenbaum Chair in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is the founding Director of the Transit Analytics Lab (TAL) and Co-Director of the Centre for Automated and Transformative Transportation Systems (CATTS). Dr. Shalaby is specialized in transit planning and scheduling, intelligent transit systems, transit operational management, transit system resilience, automated and connected transit technologies, and simulation and modelling of transportation systems. He has served on various technical committees and journal editorial boards. He also served on advisory panels of multiple transportation projects in Canada and internationally.

This free event was presented by the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series and co-sponsored by Mobility Network.

Three years ago, empty grocery store shelves focussed our attention on the importance of reliable supply chains.
Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan calls for at least 60 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2030, and 35 percent of total medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sales being ZEVs by 2030.

What are the challenges of achieving these ambitious and critical emission-reduction targets for goods movement?


I. Daniel Posen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering at University of Toronto, and Canada Research Chair in System-Scale Environmental Impacts of Energy and Transport Technologies.

Dr. Dianne Saxe is one of Canada’s most respected environmental and energy lawyers, with decades of experience as a non-partisan expert and advocate for municipalities, businesses, non-profits and individuals. Councillor Saxe was the last Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, the independent guardian of the Environmental Bill of Rights. In 2019, after she delivered 17 acclaimed reports to the Legislature on energy, environment, and climate, Doug Ford abolished her office. These reports continue to remain highly relevant.

Councillor Saxe is a climate champion who walks the talk. Her bike and the TTC are her primary means of transportation, and she has been a vegetarian for 50 years. She is a member of Canada’s Climate Caucus. Until her election to City Council in October 2022, she hosted the popular Green Economy Heroes (opens in new window) podcast, and ran SaxeFacts Law Professional Corporation.

Councillor Saxe holds multiple accreditations and awards, including a PhD in Law and in Environmental Studies (Hon.), a Law Society Medal for exemplary leadership in environmental law, a Clean 50 award, an Osgoode Hall Law Alumni Gold Key for Lifetime Achievement, and a Global Competent Board Designation. She has successfully run her own small business, a multi-million dollar public office, and sat on the boards of both charities and for-profit corporations. At the University of Toronto, she is a Senior Fellow of Massey College, and adjunct faculty of the School of the Environment.

From November 2020 to August 2022, Councillor Saxe served as Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, and was principal author of its Roadmap to Net Zero. She also contributed to its Mental Health and Housing policies. She sits at City Council as an independent.

Councillor Saxe is proud to serve Ward 11 – University-Rosedale, where she has deep roots and wide networks. She was born in the riding, as were three other generations of her family. She went to school here and worked on Beverley, Bathurst and Bay. Her synagogue, community centre, and volunteer organizations are in the ward along with her favourite shops and restaurants. Councillor Saxe can often be seen cycling through the ward, or in local parks and ice rinks with her grandchildren.

Against steep odds, Councillor Saxe has protected people, communities, and the natural systems on which our lives depend. She is a champion of smart housing policy, the new climate economy, and transit and mobility solutions. She will fight to make Toronto a prosperous and just city while protecting nature and keeping public spaces in good repair.

Adam Thorn is the director of the Pembina Institute's transportation program and is based in Toronto. Adam holds a doctorate in Public Policy from Toronto Metropolitan University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Political Science from Western University.


John Robinson is a Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and the School of the Environment, at the University of Toronto; an Adjunct Professor with the Copenhagen Business School; and an Honorary Professor with the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability at The University of British Columbia. At the University of Toronto, he is Presidential Advisor and Co-Chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability.

Register to attend

Register on Eventbrite for this virtual event.

Free. All are welcome.

If any specific accommodations are needed, please contact Requests should be made as early as possible.

About The Way Forward

event graphic with series title, tag line Diverse Perspectives. Pivotal Mobility Conversations, logo and wordmark


Explore the many ways mobility affects our lives at The Way Forward, a panel discussion series. Join the conversation!

All sessions take place online on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and are free. Registration is required.

An introductory overview will be followed by short presentations, a moderated panel discussion, and audience Q & A. This event will be recorded and shared.

Interested in more The Way Forward sessions?

See the complete Spring 2023 schedule for The Way Forward.

Our habits have changed. Most of us go to the office but not as often as we did before. Many of us have also changed the way we get there. Some of us took the opportunity to relocate when working from home became an option.  

In the net, how does this change our demand for travel?


Iain Dobson is Co-Founder of the Strategic Regional Research Alliance (SRRA). He has devoted the last 16 years of his career to policy innovation in infrastructure investment. He has served on the Board of Metrolinx, Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel, a member of the CivicAction Commercial Building Advisory Panel, and on the Expert Panel on the Sheppard Transit Corridor. From 2000, he developed a world class real estate data company and for 25 years prior to that was engaged in the commercial real estate development industry. Mr. Dobson has received numerous industry awards and has spoken at many of North Americas leading real estate associations, including NAIOP, SIOR, Canadian Land Economists, Real Estate Forums and has appeared on radio and TV programs such as Metro Morning and Cross Canada Check Up among others. Active in the community, he is currently a member on the advisory panel of LIGHTS, which is a unique program working in partnership with Community Living Toronto stimulate independent Living by those with intellectual challenges.

Khandker Nurul Habib is a civil engineering professor at the University of Toronto and a licensed Professional Engineer. His expertise is on strategic transportation planning, transportation data and modelling methodology.

Wendy L. Reuter, BA, MBA, is Head, Research & Analytics at Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).


Professor Eric J. Miller (BASc, MASc University of Toronto; PhD Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has been a faculty member in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto since 1983. He is currently Director of Mobility Network and Research Director of both the Data Management and Travel Modelling Groups. He is past-Chair of the US Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Travel Behavior and Values and the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research (IATBR). He is a Member Emeritus of the TRB Transportation Demand Forecasting Committee. Among other awards, he is the recipient of the inaugural University of British Columbia Margolese National Design for Living Award (2012), the 2018 IATBR Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2020 UofT Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Safwat Zaky Research Leader Award.

Register to attend

Register on Eventbrite for this virtual event.

Free. All are welcome.

If any specific accommodations are needed, please contact Requests should be made as early as possible.

About The Way Forward

event graphic with series title, tag line Diverse Perspectives. Pivotal Mobility Conversations, logo and wordmark


Explore the many ways mobility affects our lives at The Way Forward, a panel discussion series. Join the conversation!

All sessions take place online on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and are free. Registration is required.

An introductory overview will be followed by short presentations, a moderated panel discussion, and audience Q & A. This event will be recorded and shared.

Interested in more The Way Forward sessions?

See the complete Spring 2023 schedule for The Way Forward.

In this presentation, we present a method and empirical study for planning bike lane networks using data.

We first present an estimator for recovering unknown parameters of a traffic equilibrium model from features of a road network and observed vehicle flows, which we show asymptotically recovers ground-truth parameters as the network grows large. We then present a prescriptive model that recommends paths in a road network for bike lane construction while endogenizing cycling demand, driver route choice, and driving travel times. In an empirical study on the City of Chicago, we bring together data on the road and bike lane networks, vehicle flows, travel mode choices, bike share trips, driving and cycling routes, and taxi trips to estimate the impact of expanding Chicago's bike lane network. We estimate that adding 25 miles of bike lanes as prescribed by our model can lift ridership from 3.9% to 6.9%, with at most an 8% increase in driving times. We also find that three intuitive heuristics for bike lane planning can lead to lower ridership and worse congestion outcomes, which highlights the value of a holistic and data-driven approach to urban infrastructure planning.

About the speaker

head shot of Dr. Sheng Liu
Dr. Sheng Liu

Sheng Liu is an Assistant Professor of Operations Management and Statistics at the Rotman School of Management. His research interests lie in supply chain and logistics, smart city operations (especially sustainable/climate-resilient system design), and data-driven decision-making (the integration of predictive and prescriptive analytics). His recent work explores the effective use of data to prescribe operational decisions for logistics and mobility systems. He received a PhD in Operations Research from UC Berkeley in 2019 and a BSc in Industrial Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2014. He has contributed to the development of advanced decision-making tools for leading companies, including Amazon, Lyft,, and CNPC.

* * *

Presented by University of Toronto ITE Student Chapter, UT-ITE. Free. All are welcome.

If any specific accommodations are needed, please contact Requests should be made as early as possible.

The Transit Analytics Lab (TAL) of the University of Toronto brings together transportation and technology researchers from across the University of Toronto, transit systems in the Golden Horseshoe area, and private sector technology providers and consultants.

Among its objectives are to: foster innovation in transit data-driven tools (analytics) using advanced methods of data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, simulation and statistics; expose the professional community through knowledge transfer activities to advanced analytics; build collaborations with public and private organizations; and establish U of T as a national and international leader in transit data analytics.

TAL was launched in 2020 with the International Symposium on Automated Transit Data. Since then, TAL has organized workshops and has been involved in a number of research pursuits, many of which have practical applications.

The time is appropriate to host our annual TAL Research Day workshop that will provide a high-level overview of the many research activities being pursued by the TAL team; please see the Draft Program below.

The TAL Research Day will be held virtually and is free, though registration is required.


9:00 a.m.         Introduction to the Transit Analytics Lab (TAL)

      • Words of Welcome and Update on TAL Activities (Amer Shalaby)

9:15                  Transit Analytics to Support Planning (Moderator: Brendon Hemily)

      • Constructing Origin-Destination Demand Matrix using Wi-Fi and AFC Gate Count Data: A Case Study of Toronto’s Subway Network (Diego Da Silva)
      • Trends in Toronto’s Transit Ridership Recovery: Insights from Subway Wi-Fi Records (Roger Chen)
      • Modelling On-Demand Transit Ridership (Alaa Itani)

10:15                  Break

10:30                 Operations Analytics to Improve Rail Performance (Moderator: Amer Shalaby)

      • Impact of Subway Service Disruption on User Mobility: Analysis and Visualization Using Customer Facing Wi-Fi Data in Toronto (Aidan Grenville)
      • Short-term Prediction of Crowd Flows at Subway Stations using Wi-Fi Data and Graph Neural Networks Modelling (Diego Da Silva)
      • Mitigating Subway Station Overcrowding via Passenger Inflow Control (Chandler White)
      • SPUR: Modular, Data-Driven Mesoscopic Simulation Platform to Analyze Stochastic Railway Networks (Peter Lai)

11:30              Lunch Break

12:30 p.m.     Keynote: A Conversation with John Levin on Transit Data and Analytics

  • John Levin, Director-Strategic Initiatives, Metro Transit (Minneapolis)

1:30                 Analytics to Support Bus Operations (Moderator: Brendon Hemily)

      • Leveraging Large Language Models (LLMs) for Improving Public Transit Systems: An Exploration of GPT Models and State-of-the-Art Applications (Jiahao Wang)
      • Extraboard Operator Planning and Scheduling Under Uncertainty (Jilin Song)
      • Impacts of Transit Driver Advisory System with Space and Time Priorities on Route Performance (Kareem Othman)

2:30                Break

2:45                 Analytics to Support Planning and Deployment of Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs (Moderator: Amer Shalaby)

      • Insights from the Research on ZEB Deployment (Diego Da Silva)
      • Optimization Model for Planning On-Route Charging Infrastructure and Schedules of ZEB Fleets (Lorna Licollari)
      • Data-Driven Prediction of e-Bus Battery Consumption Rates using Machine Learning (Kareem Othman)

3:45                 Wrap-Up

4:00                 End of Research Day

Download the TAL 2023 Research Day agenda.



Register on Eventbrite for this virtual event.

Free. All are welcome.

If any specific accommodations are needed, please contact Requests should be made as early as possible.

The Transit Analytics Lab (TAL) at Mobility Network hosted the virtual seminar "Improving safety and security in transit systems" by Jacqueline Darwood, Program Director, Transit Expansion at City of Toronto, on February 28, 2023.

TAL Director, Professor Amer Shalaby, welcomed attendees to the seminar, and introduced guest speaker Jacqueline Darwood.

Darwood's talk touched on improvements in station planning/design and rail operation and simulation; physical and cyber threats; and much more.

Transit customers rely on transit operators to provide reliable and safe day-to-day public transit services.

You might wonder why I start off by saying this.

Because we all want transit to be reliable, but if it's not safe, and you have either accidents which are deliberate or accidents because of a failure of the system, then, of course, the service breaks, and you're going to have either the absence of the service or delays in the service.

So it's from that standpoint that I tie safety with reliability.

Jacqueline Darwood, "Improving safety and security in transit systems," February 28, 2023.

Researchers at TAL have been working on many of the issues for some time and continue to actively explore how safety and security in transit systems may be improved for all.

Professor Amer Shalaby (L) thanks Jacqueline Darwood for her presentation and engages in a brief discussion before taking audience questions, February 28, 2023. (video recording screen capture)

After the seminar and before taking audience questions, Prof. Shalaby engaged Darwood in a brief discussion, observing that there is increased interest from industry in putting into practice some of TAL's research results and analysis.

"The industry is recognizing the benefit and the strength of such approaches, and [of putting] them to use in planning and operations management."

Professor Amer Shalaby

View Darwood's presentation deck

Watch the video recording of "Improving safety and security in transit systems"


Safety and security in transit systems needs to be considered throughout the life cycle of the system. This therefore means that these considerations should be included at the:

  • Planning phase
  • Design phase
  • Implementation/testing
  • Operations/monitoring

Transit safety and security should be incorporated in all modes; however, my presentation will focus on rail with examples from the TTC Line 1 and the Ottawa Line Extension project. The presentation will look at design elements such as requirements for adequate vertical circulation and platform capacity. Additionally, I will also discuss the tools and technology currently available to simulate the operations based on design elements. I will also use the opportunity to examine the possible application of AI as a means of monitoring the system and the way forward to improving transit safety and security.

About the speaker

head shot of Jacqueline Darwood
Jacqueline Darwood

Jacqueline Darwood is an experienced transit and mobility professional with over 25 years' experience in transit operations/planning, infrastructure planning, project management and policy development. Over the course of her career, she has worked in both the public and private sectors across Canada. She has led and contributed to the planning and design of rapid transit and commuter lines in British Columbia and Ontario with major projects in Ottawa and the GTHA. Her work on several bus networks includes, the TTC Express Bus Network, the MiWay Transit Way, and the redesign of the bus network in the Kingston Metropolitan Region in Jamaica.

To her friends and family, she is known as the entertainer and personal shopper, always ready to host a BBQ, dinner, or a movie night, or simply get lost in the world of music.

About the Transit Analytics Lab (TAL)

The Transit Analytics Lab (TAL) of the University of Toronto was established in 2020 with University of Toronto funding from the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering Dean’s Strategic Fund. It is headed by Professor Amer Shalaby, an expert in urban public transit.

TAL brings together:

  • Transportation and technology researchers from across the University of Toronto;
  • Transit systems in the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area; and
  • Private sector software providers.

TAL aims to undertake a wide range of activities including research and development, creation of a data analytics platform, workshops, an international symposium, education, and professional development training.

Positive Zero Transport Futures and Mobility Network will host the Emerging Mobility Scholars Conference June 22-23, 2023 at the University of Toronto.

We invite graduate students and postdoctoral fellows across Canadian institutions to join us in person at the University of Toronto to exchange ideas and showcase your research relative to mobility and climate change.

The conference theme is:

Cause or Solution? Urban mobility in an era of climate emergency

Due to socioeconomic shifts and the need to achieve deep cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Canada will experience an unprecedented transformation in urban infrastructures, policy responses, and new technologies.

Nowhere is this truer than in the transportation sector, which is one of Canada’s largest GHG emitters and has historically been relatively impervious to change due to its extreme dependency on fossil fuels.

This transformation in our mobility systems needs not only to mitigate climate change but also enable community benefits in an equitable manner. It is crucial that efforts to decarbonize our urban areas be informed by the co-benefits of GHG reduction.

Conference topics

  • Co-benefits of decarbonization
  • Land use and transportation planning
  • Technological response to climate change
  • Equity and environmental justice
  • Transportation and health
  • Urban resilience planning
  • Planning and politics of climate change
  • Air pollution in a changing climate
  • Climate extremes: Data and modelling

Call for Abstracts

  • Abstracts to be 300 words or less.
  • All abstracts must be submitted by March 10, 2023.
  • Submit your abstract through the submission web portal or this QR code:

QR code for abstract submission for Emerging Mobility Scholars Conference

Visit our event post for more details.

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