Student research assistants needed for study of pedestrian access to light rail stations
We are seeking two student research assistants to help with a policy research project assessing the pedestrian environment around light rail stations in Santa Clara County and Portland, Oregon..
This job offers excellent experience and training in the research design and implementation process, as well as a chance to learn about walkability, a topic of great interest to planners interested in promoting more sustainable transportation and improved public health.
The project is funded by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San José State University. Professor Marc Schlossberg of the University of Oregon is heading the research team, and Professor Asha Weinstein at San José State is his co-investigator. We plan to hire at least one student from both universities.
The remainder of this email describes the project, the tasks the student research assistants will conduct, desired qualifications for the position, and application procedures.
Planning, Public Policy, and Management
University of Oregon
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
San José State University
The central research questions for this study are: how far, by which route and why do individuals access transit stops by foot? To answer them, we will use two broad methods of analysis:
- Travel behavior surveys of transit users, and
- GIS-based spatial analysis of a) the travel behavior survey results and b) the pedestrian routes used and urban form environmental variables along those routes.
More specifically, we intend to develop a set of appropriate indicators of the pedestrian environment to re-classify the existing street network around transit stations with a pedestrian orientation. GIS maps will then be coded with these classifications. In addition, we will survey transit users to find out what route they walked to the station, and why they chose that route. Finally, we will spatially analyze the pedestrian environment and compare it with the actual paths that the pedestrians in the survey used.
We plan to apply this methodology to the pedestrian environment around four transit oriented developments (TODs): two from Portland, Oregon, and two from Silicon Valley, California. The TOD sites in this analysis will be selected from a set of sites studied in a recently completed MTI report on TODs (by Schlossberg). The four stops will represent a variety of infill and greenfield sites, where there tends to be a lot of variety in the mobility infrastructure surrounding the sites.
TASKS FOR THE RESEARCH ASSISTANT
The exact duties that the research assistants undertake will be determined as the project proceeds, but will most likely include:
- A literature review about similar studies of walkability
- Assistance designing the survey and the street classification tool
- Surveying transit riders and entering the data into a spreadsheet
- Using the street classification tool to assess the streets around each transit station
- Data analysis
- Report writing
Note that each student will not necessarily work on all of these tasks.
The ideal applicants will have well-developed skills in the following areas, but we are also interested in students who have strong skills in a subset of the following areas:
- Library research
- Ability to understand and summarize the key ideas in research articles, even when the research assistant is unfamiliar with the topic and methods used
- Ability to communicate easily with the public (for the surveying work)
- Technical skills such as GIS, SPSS, EndNote, and/or Excel
- Ability to work independently
In addition, the applicant should be available to travel throughout the Bay Area (SJSU) or to Portland (UO) as needed to visit libraries or to conduct the surveys and the street classification.
TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT
The research assistant(s) will begin work about August 22, 2005, and continue through about May 1, 2006. The research assistant(s) will be employed directly by the Mineta Transportation Institute.
The exact hours worked per week can be negotiated and will fluctuate according to the project needs, but will likely average 8 hours per week. During the surveying periods, it may be necessary to work considerably more hours per week.
Salary is $15/hour.
To apply, please email the following to asha.weinstein@... and schlossb@...:
1) A short statement explaining your interest in and qualifications for the position
2) A resume
3) Names and contact information for three references
Deadline: We will begin reviewing applications as of Monday, August 15, 2005. Later applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but priority goes to those received by August 15.
If you have any questions about the position, please feel free to contact either of us with questions.