Junfeng Jiao

Assistant Professor

Junfeng Jiao is an assistant professor in the Community and Regional Planning program and founding director of Urban Information Lab at UTSOA. He received his PhD in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington.  

His research focuses on using information technologies (GIS, GPS, Drone, smart phone, social media, wearable devices, etc) to quantify built environments and understand its impact on people’s behaviour (e.g. travel, physical, eating etc) and its health consequence. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how people react and reflect the built environments where they live, work, and play. He has investigated how built environments affect people's access to grocery stores, transit facilities, and bicycle infrastructures, and how people describe cities in cyber space through Twitter. He firstly coined the term of Transit Desert and developed various measurement methods. His intensive research on Transit and Food Deserts were widely reported by the Associated Press, Yahoo, MSN, NBC, NPR, USA today, Finance and Commerce, City Lab, The Conversation, Chicago Tribute, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, Seattle Times, Seattle Met, Dallas News, Houston Chronicle, Austin Statesman, Texas Tribune, Wired etc.

He has worked on projects funded by the NIH, USDOT, UT Austin, Intel, WSDOT, RWJF, and others.  These works have been published in journals like Journal of Urban Planning and Development, Journal of Urban Design, Journal of Urban Technology, Land Use Policy, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Transport and Land Use, and Journal of Public Transportation etc.  He is the co-chair for Analytical Methods & Computer Applications track at the ACSP conference and on the editorial board of Transportation Research Part D, PLOS one, and AIMS Public Health. He published six book chapters through the Springer and Routledge.

[file:owner:field_full_name]  @UTSOA

Robert Paterson

Associate Professor

Professor Paterson specializes in land use and environmental planning. He has completed over 50 projects over the past 22 years at UT-Austin (through over $6 million in sponsored research grants, contracts and awards), and was a recipient of a Faculty Fellow in Social Science Research Applied to Hazards and Disasters award through the National Science Foundation. Recent and on-going research projects include grants and contracts with Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Meadows Foundation. Professor Paterson teaches graduate level courses in Sustainable Land Use Planning, Environmental Impact Assessment, Sustainable and Disaster Resilient City Planning, and Plan Implementation. 

Paterson is active in professional planning practice within Texas, providing multiple opportunities for professional development seminars and conferences for Texas APA planners. He has served on numerous state and regional planning advisory boards and task forces, the Texas APA Board as Awards Chair and Education Foundation member. He has been the recipient of the School of Architecture’s Outstanding Lecturer and Community Service awards.

Presentations at academic and professional conferences in the past three years include: The National Conference of the American Planning Association,  the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Conference, National Partners for Smart Growth Conference, and the Association of European Schools of Planning Congress.

Dr. Paterson’s three most recent research projects are focused on better metrics for Scenario Planning for Sustainable Communities, Scenario Planning for Disaster Resilience, and Plan Implementation theory and practice.

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Louis Alcorn

Graduate Research Assistant

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Louis Gerald Alcorn is a graduate student in the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) program at the University of Texas at Austin, pursuing a dual degree in Transportation Engineering. His ongoing Masters Thesis project examines the integration between formal and informal transit services in Lagos, Nigeria.
Prior to attenidng UT Austin, Mr. Alcorn worked as a transit service planner for Austin's public transit provider, Capital Metro and previously as a financial analyst at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). In his professional experience, he focused on finding creative solutions to enhance coordination efforts across departmental/agency lines through the establishment of partnerships and working groups. He has a passionate drive to improve safe and accessible mobility options through data-driven prioritization of space-efficient travel modes.
Currently, Mr. Alcorn works as a graduate research assistant to Dr. Alex Karner endeavoring to quantify the concept of sufficient accessibility in transportation planning. 
Mr. Alcorn's past research within the School of Architecture's Urban Information Lab (Spring 2018) employed GIS and other spatio-statistical tools to measure correlation between bike-share station activity and the surrounding built environment in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C.  
Previous reserach (Fall 2017) used a GIS-based kernel density methodology to measure the statistical significance of correlations between built environment indicators and bike-share system usage in Austin, Houston and San Antonio.  
Mr. Alcorn has co-authored manuscripts documenting the two aforementioned bike-share research projects with Dr. Junfeng Jiao. Both studies are currently under review for publication in the Transportation Research Record and the Journal of Planning Education & Reserach, respectively. 

Favorite Quote: "A developed country is not a place where the poor have is where the rich use public transportation." - Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia


Christopher Bischak

Graduate Research Assistant

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Chris is a current Master's of Community Planning student. He grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2014 he recieved his bachelor's degree from The University of Virginia with a double major in Environmental Science and History. Prior to coming to the University of Texas he was a science teacher with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. His current focus in the Urban Information Lab is on GIS based transportation analysis concerning transportation deserts and gaps in public transportation systems. He also does work on Uber usage and 311 call data.


Nicole McGrath

Graduate Research Assistant

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Nicole McGrath is a graduate student in the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) program and a Graduate School Mentor Fellow. 

Prior to attending UT Austin, Nicole spent 3 years working as an Air Transportation Specialist based in McMurdo Station, Antarctica, coordinating the movement of cargo between the station and remote polar field camps. In between deployments, she worked for her hometown's planning department in South Florida. Nicole is currently part of UT's Urban Information Lab and her research interests focus on making public transit more equitable and accessible. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and watching Game of Thrones with her husband and 2 cats. 



Hao Wu

Visiting Researcher/Scholar

Hao Wu is now a visiting PhD student in UTSOA. He is pursuing his doctoral degree in urban design in Tongji University in China. Prior to that, he got his bachelor and master degrees of architecture, from Qingdao Tech University and Chongqing University in China respectively.

His current research focuses on the inclusive urban design, especially the walkable neighborhood environments for older adults’ walking activities. By investigating people’s travel behaviors in Shanghai, China, he found it is indispensable to pay more attention to the walkable environments for elder people with limitations like hearing loss, vision impairment and physical declines. He believes that urban designers should spare no efforts on making up an inclusive city environment.



Lauren Osborne
Haitao Yu
Aaron Nichols
Jianwei Chen
Zack Lofton