Driving and the Built Environment: Is Transit-Oriented Development Effective in Shanghai?


Thursday, November 14, 2019, 3:30pm to 4:45pm


Pierce 100F, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge

A Harvard-China Project Research Seminar with Faan Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard-China Project, Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University

Abstract: The rapid growth of cities such as Shanghai in China has presented many transportation, land use and climate change challenges for local government officials, planning and transit practitioners and property developers. These challenges include traffic congestion, energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to global warming. As one of the more visible urban forms of smart growth, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) has been actively promoted as a model for urban development in areas around transit stations to solve such challenges. The vast majority of studies of TOD have been conducted in North American and European cities, while research of TOD is still in its infancy in most developing countries, including China, where residential and transport choices are likely to be more constrained and travel-related attitudes quite different from those in the developed world. Using the data collected from more than 8000 residents living in TOD and non-TOD neighborhoods in the city of Shanghai, this study aims to partly fill the gaps by investigating the causal relationship between the built environment and travel behavior in the Chinese context, and specifically to examine whether altering the built environment can actually lead to meaningful changes in travel behavior, e.g., less Vehicle Kilometers Traveled (VKT) and GHG emissions.


Faan Chen is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard-China Project, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University. He received his PhD in Transportation Engineering at Tongji University in 2018. From Sep. 2016 to Aug. 2017, he was enrolled in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a visiting PhD candidate sponsored by the China Scholarship Council (CSC).

His research interest lies in contributing to a deeper understanding of human mobility and travel decision-making; specifically the areas of data-driven transport modeling and mobility, the built environment and travel behavior profiling, and urban computing and complexity. His current research focuses on developing and applying data-driven approaches in the domain of urban environment and transportation. Aiming to provide a better understanding of how the urban transportation systems and the built environment could benefit urban lives.

In addition to the work analyzing urban mobility he has also been a part of collaborative research concerning road safety, which he is trying to connect with climate change. This research involves countries in Asia, Europe, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).