March 2024 ITS-Davis Newsletter

As UC Davis Winter quarter concludes, the energy and enthusiasm of our diverse team sustains the momentum at ITS-Davis. Our contributions to the conversation about sustainable transportation systems are having real-world impacts. Read on for a birds-eye view of individual and group achievements, plus publications and policy outreach. We appreciate your interest in our work and look forward to all that lies ahead.

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Transit Research Symposium

April 25, 2024.

More information here.

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STEPS+ Spring Symposium

May 15-16, 2024

More information here.

Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting: Awards, Honors, and Participation

January 5–9, 2024

TRB 2024 - Susan Handy - Deen Speech

ITS-Davis made a prominent showing at the Transportation Research Board’s 103rd Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in January. Students and researchers participated in over 70 lectures, poster presentations, and workshops. Professor Susan Handy delivered the prestigious Thomas B. Deen Distinguished Lecture. Director Dan Sperling received the CUTC-HNTB Lifetime Achievement Award for University Transportation Education and Research and recent doctoral graduate Amy Lee received the Charley V. Wootan Memorial Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Policy and Planning. Video and more information here

STEPS Fall Symposium

December 6–7, 2023

2023 Fall STEPS PLUS

The symposium hosted about 100 experts from industry, government, academia, and NGOs for presentations, posters, and discussions on a variety of topics. Issues covered included: reducing car dependence through multimodal travel, modeling targets for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard 2030, and Europe’s leading role on transportation policies.

3 Revolutions Future Mobility Research Workshop

October 23–24, 2023

2023 3REV

Ninety-nine participants enjoyed keynote speeches, presentations, poster sessions, and fireside chats during the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Research Workshop 2023. Topics such as the past and future of carsharing, mobility as a service (MaaS), and the effect of telework on vehicle miles traveled were discussed 

awards and achievements

ITS-Davis is Leading the Transportation Research Arm of California’s Hydrogen Hub Project Awarded a $1.2 Billion Grant

california hydrogen research arm

In October 2023, the US Department of Energy awarded grants for the creation of seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs to initiate a “national network of clean hydrogen producers, consumers, and connective infrastructure.” One of the awardees is ARCHES, a public-private partnership developing a hydrogen hub in California. ITS-Davis is a member of ARCHES, with Lew Fulton serving as the chair of their Transportation Working Group. This group is developing transportation scenarios to help plan a hydrogen supply and distribution system that will fuel road, air, maritime, and rail transport. ARCHES expects to start a detailed planning effort once it signs a contract with the Department of Energy. Modeling report from ITS-Davis; Department of Energy press release.

Graduate Students

Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship

Marcus Chan, Matthew Liu, Weijing Wang, and Claire McGinnis each received a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship.

Marcus Chan
Matthew Liu

Marcus Chan is working on a ridership prediction model tailored to the unique characteristics of college towns, using Unitrans and UC Davis as a case study. 

Matthew Liu is studying microtransit services in California by evaluating who uses the services, for what types of trips, and whether the services change users’ travel decisions. 

Weijing Wang
Claire McGinnis

Weijing Wang researches transportation equity and safety, examining sociodemographic differences in police stops and the effectiveness of policing in achieving zero traffic fatalities.

Claire McGinnis is studying online transportation equity tools with spatial dashboard components and metrics that can be used to assess equity and accessibility. 

UC Davis 2024 Dissertation Grant Awardees

The two University Transportation Centers—National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST) and the Pacific Southwest Region awarded dissertation grants to four PhD candidates in the Transportation Technology and Policy Program.

Di Chen

Di Chen’s dissertation focuses on interactions between autonomous vehicles and human-driven vehicles in traffic, aiming to enhance the efficiency of the overall transportation system.

Tisura Gamage

Tisura Gamage’s research investigates the challenges and costs of installing and managing a dependable network of public DC fast chargers.

Rey Hozzeinzade

Rey Hosseinzade is studying the implications of policies that mandate the reduction of vehicle miles traveled.

Daniel Rivera

Daniel Orlando Rivera-Royero is researching strategies to enhance community and transportation infrastructure resilience against hazards, including natural disasters.

Best Paper Award and Multiple Conference Presentations

Hong Yang received an “Editor’s Choice Article” award for her publication in the World Electric Vehicle Journal, entitled “Investigating Investment Plans for Expanding Battery and Electric Vehicle Production in Europe.” In addition, she has published two reports, a journal article, and has presented at major forums, including the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC, the World Conference on Transport Research Society in Montreal, Canada, and the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany. 

Comings and Goings
Anmol Pahwa

Anmol Pahwa, a postdoctoral fellow and alumnus of the doctoral TTP program, has accepted a position as assistant professor at Indian Institute of Technology–Madras in the department of Civil Engineering. He begins in July 2024 and will teach "Sustainable and Resilient Transportation Engineering" and work on freight logistics corridors in India.

Other promotions and arrivals since last summer:

  • Alex Braswell, Research Administrator, ITS-Davis
  • Cristina Cameron Etcherverry, Conference and Outreach Manager, ITS-Davis
  • Nitya Chanana, Program Manager, India ZEV Research Centre and European Transport and Energy Research Centre 
  • Vaishnavi Karanam, Postdoctoral Researcher, Electric Vehicle Research Center
  • Keuntae Kim, Postdoctoral Researcher with Jesus Barajas, Susan Handy, and Jamey Volker
  • Jones Klaus, Financial Analyst
  • Patrick Loa, Postdoctoral Researcher, 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Research Program 
  • JoAnna Lewis, Graduate Program Coordinator (Student Services Advisor), Transportation Technology and Policy Graduate Program, and Energy Graduate Group
  • Kellie McFarland, Program Manager, Energy Futures Research Program, Sustainable Freight Research Program, and Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy
  • Stefania Mitova, Research Lead, Energy Futures Research Program
  • Aaron Rabinowitz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Electric Vehicle Research Center
  • Natalie Ruiz, Operations and Events Manager, ITS-Davis
  • Alejandra Soto, Webinar And Events Assistant, ITS-Davis
  • Yan Xing, Program Manager for the China Center for Energy and Transportation
In the Spotlight section header
Lukas Wernert

When he isn’t working out the details of hydrogen policy, visiting researcher Lukas Wernert might be found biking around Davis, spending time with his family, or singing in the UC Davis Concert Choir. He has a friendly, exuberant personality and is articulate on a range of topics, including his work on energy policy with the European Commission.

Wernert received a one-year European Union Fellowship to study, collaborate, and share knowledge with the team at ITS-Davis and other stakeholders working on hydrogen as a fuel for decarbonizing our economy. The European Commission, in awarding six fellowships a year, seeks proposals that are likely to help shape future evidence-based policy making. Wernert said he chose ITS-Davis from among 20 potential destinations because “ITS-Davis was the only one with a clear link to energy policy and I connected well with people here.”

In describing his fellowship work, Wernert said, “My most recent activity was to interview companies—hydrogen producers, electrolyzer suppliers, fuel suppliers—on how they perceive the public support landscape. What are their asks, complaints, and things they appreciate in what the US and California are doing for hydrogen.”


He plans to conduct similar interviews with European companies, and, he explained, “Ultimately, the aim is to return to the [European] Commission with ideas on hydrogen policy priorities for the next group of commissioners, who will take office in the fall.”

Outreach is also part of the fellowship. Wernert said, “I’ve connected with academics in California, think-tanks, and the State Assembly and Senate—to share European perspectives on policy making in California.” He spoke at a recent meeting of the California Assembly’s Select Committee on Building a Zero-Carbon Hydrogen Economy.

An unexpected benefit of the fellowship is how good living in Davis has been for Wernert’s family. They do not have a car, and all get around by bicycle. “The weather is so much better here [than in Brussels] for biking. The kids can take the bike path to their schools, and our neighbors have been so welcoming. There is a spirit of helping out—people invite you over, make you cake.”


He also spoke with delight about singing with the UC Davis Concert Choir and their director: “I’ve always liked singing. I love the community and making music together. It’s just fantastic.” (March 15 performance video)

People at ITS-Davis are delighted and honored that Wernert chose ITS-Davis and was awarded the fellowship. Lew Fulton, Director of our Energy Futures Program, said: “Lukas has brought a terrific set of European perspectives, as well as energy, to our hydrogen work. We’re really glad he’s here, raising our game”.”

The feeling is mutual, as Wernert said, “I feel very welcome and well-supported here and will definitely recommend UC Davis and ITS-Davis as a place for future fellows to come.”

Featured Publications

Electrifying transport and densifying US cities will cut emissions and save money - Modeling report (Related blog) Fulton & Reich

Predicting and reducing search time and emissions from parking in urban areas  Xiao & Jaller

Decreases in walking, biking, and transit use in California from 2012 to 2017 is partly due to increased access to cars and driver's licenses Pike & Handy

Modeling study identifies policies to limit the negative impacts of electric vehicle batteries over their life cycle Kendall, Slattery, Dunn

Pollution benefits from electric vehicle adoption are smaller for disadvantaged communities than for less vulnerable populations Jenn & Li

Rural–nonrural divide in car access and unmet travel need in the United States Wang, Espeland, Barajas, Rowangould


A high density of public chargers does not act as a trigger for people to start considering an electric vehicle purchase Hoogland, Kurani, Hardman, Chakraborty

Global trends in fuel consumption by light-duty vehicles from 2005 to 2023  Cazzola, Paoli, Teter

Updated Fuel Portfolio Scenario Modeling to Inform 2024 Low Carbon Fuel Standard Rulemaking Murphy & Ro

Upstream graphite value chains and implications for supply diversification Ramji & Dayemo

More publications can be found by searching the ITS-Davis publications database.

Outreach and Engagement


The European Transport and Energy Research Centre (ETERC) within ITS-Davis was the co-host of a session entitled "Solutions to decarbonize shipping and aviation sectors" at Innovation Week, an event held by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on September in Bonn, Germany. A recording of the session is available here, under the 'Indirect Electrification (Decarbonising Hard-to-abate Sectors).' Pierpaolo Cazzola, director of ETERC, was a keynote speaker in the session and outlined areas that need attention in the shipping and aviation sector. 

Cazzola also presented "Challenges and opportunities from biofuels as a way to diversify energy use and reduce GHG emissions in transport," at the German Embassy in Washington on 16th November. The presentation is available here.

Aditya Ramji served as a panel member in the session "The Transition to Decarbonise Road Transport" at a high-level event at COP28, organized by the UK department of Energy Security and New Zero, in December. 

High-Level Ambition Group (HLAG) on Zero-Emission Trucks (ZET)

As pictured above, the India ZEV Research Centre, the Climate Group, and CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program (Drive to Zero), launched the High-Level Ambition Group on Zero-Emission Trucks in India at the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial in July. With this, India became the first country to launch a platform with all medium- and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers coming together to work towards zero-emission freight in the country. (Media coverage is here).

Aditya Ramji spoke about India's energy transition journey and key challenges and opportunities in areas such as energy access, clean transportation, and critical minerals for a podcast "The India Energy Hour" in November. The full recording can be found on the podcast page here.

The Electric Vehicle Research Center at ITS-Davis hosted a delegation of researchers from E-Mobility Initiative at Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, in January. They discussed research projects from our two institutes and opportunities for future collaboration. 

United States

During this year's Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Conference, the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST) hosted its 10th annual Capitol Hill Research Briefing, which this year focused on “Sustaining EV Transitions: Regulations, Batteries, and Supply Chains.” ITS-Davis and NCST researchers Gil Tal, Lew Fulton, Aditya Ramji, and Meg Slattery presented to more than 60 congressional staffers, academics, and members of the public and private sectors.

The NCST also coordinated a whirlwind of meetings with congressional offices over the course of TRB week for ITS-Davis policy staff, students, postdocs, researchers, and faculty to participate in. Meetings were held with the offices of Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Doris Matsui (CA-07), John Garamendi (CA-08), and Mike Thompson (CA-04) and Senators Bernie Sanders (VT), Tammy Duckworth (IL), and Alex Padilla (CA). These meetings provided an opportunity for the ITS-Davis community to share policy-relevant research findings and hear directly from legislative offices about their sustainable transportation priorities.

As detailed above in Awards & Achievement, ITS-Davis is playing a key role in the development of a hydrogen hub in California, which was awarded one of the billion dollar grants from the Department of Energy.

Giovanni Circella completed his six-year term as Chair of the AEP35 Standing Committee on the Impacts of ICT on Travel Choices at the Transportation Research Board.


In December and February, the overarching UC Institute of Transportation Studies hosted two briefings tailored to key transportation staff from the California Legislature. The December briefing focused on aligning policies and funding to achieve sustainable communities, and the February briefing focused on vehicle charging and the grid. These annual briefings provide an opportunity for researchers from UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UCLA to engage directly with policymakers, and to hear their questions, insights, and priorities for the coming year.

Colin Murphy and Jin Wook Ro, among other ITS-Davis researchers, have been engaged in the open rulemaking by the California Air Resources Board to update the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a regulation that incentivizes oil companies to subsidize low-carbon fuels and electric vehicles. Murphy and Ro published an update to last year's modeling report and submitted a detailed public comment to the rulemaking docket. Murphy and Dan Sperling then wrote an editorial that was published in the Los Angeles Times. ITS-Davis continues to be the leading academic institution on the LCFS.

In November, the Electric Vehicle Research Center hosted a charging reliability workshop in coordination with the California Energy Commission to share and receive feedback on a draft protocol for testing public EV chargers around the state (EV Charger Field Testing Protocol Workshop). In January, staff from the EV Research Center tested the protocol in Sacramento, and this was covered by the Sacramento Bee in this article and video.

Our Region

At a February meeting of the Sacramento branch of Women in Transportation, Beth Ferguson, Associate Professor of Design and Director of the Adapting City Lab, presented her research and work on projects related to designing transit stations to encourage bike, scooter, and pedestrian access to transit. Some of her related research is summarized in this policy brief.

Cal Clean Air Bus

In October, ITS-Davis collaborated with Valley Vision and the Cleaner Air Partnership in a Clean Air Day bus tour of Sacramento highlighting projects on sustainable and equitable transportation and related job training. Thirty air-quality experts, community leaders, and researchers attended the tour, making stops at a ribbon-cutting for a network of protected bicycle and pedestrian lanes; the Net Zero Mobility Hub for electric vehicle charging and car- and bike-share programs; and the California Mobility Center’s Ramp-Up Factory for the development of transportation innovations. A panel discussion featured Ash Dalal, lead engineer at the Ramp-Up Factory and ITS-Davis researchers Miguel Jaller and Caroline Rodier. They spoke, respectively, about workforce development, electrifying freight, and developing carshare and mobility programs for underserved people in the Central Valley.


Webinar: Uncovering the Impacts of the Federal Tax Credit on EV Leasing and Purchasing

In this webinar, Dr. Gil Tal, Director of the EV Research Center at UC Davis, and PhD student Kelly Hoogland shared analysis on survey responses from approximately 7,000 California PEV drivers. The research aims to provide a better understanding of the impact of financial incentives on PEV leasing and purchasing.

Webinar: Insights from the New End of Life EV Battery Policy Simulator

In this webinar, Dr. Alissa Kendall, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis, shared insights from the new End of Life EV Battery Policy Simulator. Dr. Kendall’s research integrates economic, environmental, and social factors in a mixed methods approach in effort to help shape robust policies for end-of-life management of lithium-ion batteries.

Transportation and Climate Blog header image and title


Electrifying Transportation and Shifting Travel Patterns

Electrifying Transportation and Shifting Travel Patterns can Cut CO2 while Saving the US Trillions of Dollars

By Lewis Fulton

Putting the brakes on global growth in SUVs

Putting the Brakes on Global Growth in SUVs Would Curb Emissions, Improve Safety, Reduce Critical Mineral Use, and Address Inequities

By Pierpaolo Cazzola

Getting over our highway habit

Getting Over Our Highway Habit

By Susan Handy

Making Policy in the Absence of Certainty

Making Policy in the Absence of Certainty: Biofuels and Land Use Change

By Colin Murphy

ITS In the News Header

How a California climate win could end up destroying rainforests — and what to do about it

Los Angeles Times Opinion

The state of EVs in California today


The Challenge of Decarbonizing Long-Haul Trucking


Plug-in hybrids vs. electric cars: We did the math on which is better for you

The Washington Post

Does Widening Highways Ease Traffic Congestion?

UC Davis Magazine

Zip Codes Leading the Electric Vehicle Charge

New York Times

See Electrify America EV station tested by UC Davis researchers

Sacramento Bee