Gian-Claudia Sciara

Associate Professor
Program Director for Community & Regional Planning Ph.D.

Illustration by Whitney Sherman ©2022 

Gian-Claudia Sciara is Associate Professor and Ph.D. Program Director in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin, and Nonresident Senior Fellow in Metropolitan Policy at the Brookings Institution.  Her scholarship foregrounds the institutional context undergirding transportation, including governance and decision-making structures, funding and finance arrangements, and planning practices. 

Many institutional supports for contemporary planning were erected over 60 years ago, when private automobility seemed limitless, its climate consequences were unknown, and metropolitan regions had not yet ascended as crucial nodes in a global economy.  Dr. Sciara’s work asks how planners and policymakers can reorient transportation institutions – and the plans and investments for infrastructure and services they produce – to address contemporary challenges, particularly sustainability in U.S. metropolitan regions.  In particular, she conducts research on transportation funding and finance across federal, state, and local governments; policy for land use and transportation integration; and transportation planning practice.  Regional transportation governance and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are a longstanding focus of her work.

Before joining the University of Texas, Dr. Sciara was a professional researcher at the University of California-Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and held roles as a Senior Consultant at Parsons Brinckerhoff (WSP) and key staff at other public and non-profit transportation organizations.  Dr. Sciara maintains an active research portfolio, supported by external funders including the National Academy of Sciences’ National Cooperative Highway Research Program and its Transit Cooperative Research Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, and the Hewlett Foundation. She earned a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from U.C. Berkeley, an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA, and a B.A. in history and German from Columbia University.


  • University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., City and Regional Planning
  • University of California, Los Angeles, MA, Urban Planning              
  • Columbia University,  BA, History, German Studies


Sciara, G.C., Waxman, A., and Buchanan, R.  State Legislator Views on Funding 21st Century Transportation: Important Problems, Missed Connections. (Working paper.)

Sciara, G.C. “States Should Reimagine How They Fund Transportation.” Around the halls: Built environment issues that could define 2022. The Brookings Institution. Dec. 21, 2021.

Barbour, E. & Sciara, G.C. “Greenhouse Gas Management, Climate Resilience and Adaptation.” In Silva, J.A., Currans, K., Schneider, R., and Van Acker, V. (Eds.)  Handbook on Transportation and Land Use: Human-Centered Communities in an Age of Rapid Technological Change. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd  [Submitted Feb. 2022; forthcoming Fall 2022.]

Sciara, G.C., Rahman, M., & Walthall, R. (2021). A Seat at the Table? Transit Representation in U.S. Metropolitan Planning. Transport Policy, 2021(114): 165-173.  

Sciara, G.C., (2020). Implementing Regional Smart Growth without Regional Authority: The Limits of Information for Nudging Local Land Use.  Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, 2020(103): 1-10.   

Sciara, G.-C., & Lee, A. (2018). Allocating Transportation Revenues to Support Climate Policies in California and Beyond. The California Journal of Politics and Policy, 10(1): 1-20.

Sciara, G.C. and Handy, S.L. (2017) “Regional Transportation Planning.” In Hanson, S. and G. Giuliano (Eds.) The Geography of Urban Transportation, Fourth Edition, (139-163).  New York: The Guilford Press.

Sciara, G.-C. (2017). Metropolitan Transportation Planning: Lessons from the Past, Institutions for the Future. Journal of the American Planning Association, 83(3): 262-276. doi:10.1080/01944363.2017.1322526

Sciara, G.C. (2012). “Planning for Unplanned Pork: The Consequences of Congressional Earmarking for Regional Transportation Planning.” Journal of the American Planning Association, 78(3), 239-255.

Gian Claudia

Office: SUT 3.144


Transportation Policy, Planning and Finance

Land Use and Transportation Integration

Governance of Metropolitan Regions

Non-motorized Transportation


Public Economics and Finance

Transportation and Land Use Planning

Transportation Planning and Policy

Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

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