Dr. Kari Watkins, Faculty Spotlight, Fall 2018


Hi! I am Dr. Kari Edison Watkins, Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech (GT). I have been a professor here at GT for 7 years, since finishing my Ph.D. at the University of Washington. My research is in multi-modal transportation planning and the use of technology and design to create a more livable transportation system. My major projects have looked at travel behavior related to the use of real-time transit information and preferences for bicycle infrastructure.

My current STRIDE projects are “Transit in the Era of Shared Mobility” (year 1) and “Changing Access to Public Transportation and the Potential for Increased Travel” (year 2). Both are multi-university studies in partnership with the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. In the first, we looked at the introduction of transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, to the transportation system and how transit agencies have been partnering with these providers. In the second, we are taking a more disaggregate look at recent transit ridership change nationwide, trying to understand how demographics are playing a part.

The students working on these projects play a big role in the success of the projects. Through their master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation research, they can take a deeper dive into understanding things like ridership change that a transit agency often can’t look at on their own. At the same time, in working with the agencies as partners on the project, the students are able to better understand how the transit industry works. This enables the students to be more successful later as they work in industry.

Contact information:

Dr. Kari Watkins
Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor
Transportation Systems Engineering
Smart Cities, Sustainable Communities
Georgia Institute of Technology