Andre Carrel receives five-year NSF CAREER Award
Assistant Professor Andre Carrel has received a five-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The $655,000 grant will support his research on urban travel behavior with the goal of incorporating a richer understanding of behavioral dynamics and long-term lifestyle shifts in traveler choice models.
The CAREER award is the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty recognized as leaders in research, education and the integration of the two elements in service to the community.
Carrel joined the Ohio State faculty in 2016 with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering and Knowlton School of Architecture’s City and Regional Planning Section.
A key focus of Carrel’s research is to investigate how a person's past experiences and habits shape future travel behavior. Leveraging detailed travel diary surveys from urban travelers who use multiple modes of transportation in a U.S. metropolitan area, he will develop new insights into the role that traveler satisfaction, subjective well-being, and the dynamics between them play in traveler choices.
Carrel is among an emerging group of scholars who emphasize the need to look beyond traditional economic factors and incorporate traveler well-being and satisfaction into models of travel behavior. He is excited to implement this new approach and expand on previous research that has largely overlooked long-term dynamics. “This research will further build our understanding of the drivers of travel behavior and help move our field from a strictly economic to a more behavioral framework of choice,” he said.
Carrel intends for his work to help transit agencies and city and regional planners make better-informed decisions regarding the funding, design and implementation of future transit projects. “All decisions about major transportation infrastructure projects fundamentally rely on forecasts of travel behavior impacts – for example, to understand how many travelers will use a new facility or system,” he explained. “Improving the realism and long-term accuracy of the travel demand models that underpin such forecasts is key to ensuring that we are investing wisely in the future of our nation’s transportation network.”
Carrel plans a team-oriented approach to his research that engages practitioners throughout the project and provides opportunities for Ohio State students in transportation engineering and city and regional planning to build critical skills.
“Recruiting and training the next generation of transportation professionals and building more bridges between academia and practice are critical to solving the large challenges that lie ahead in creating more sustainable and equitable urban transportation systems,” he stated. Further educational activities will involve outreach events at a Columbus elementary school, where Carrel and his team hope to generate early excitement for STEM fields among school-age children.
In addition to his primary academic appointments, Andre Carrel serves as core faculty with Ohio State’s Translational Data Analytics Institute and is an affiliated faculty member with Ohio State’s Sustainability Institute, Center for Automotive Research and STEAM Factory. He holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering and the School of Environment and Natural Resources.