When he was an undergraduate student at Auburn University, Mitchell Fisher experienced firsthand how research in civil engineering, specifically transportation engineering, helps improve the quality of life for individuals and/or society.
“I had the opportunity to work on a project with Dr. LaMondia as a research assistant supporting vulnerable road user guidance in Alabama,” he said. “Seeing how transportation can be much more than just designing, and can actively improve someone’s quality of life, really inspired me to pursue my Ph.D.”
After completing his bachelor’s degree, Fisher continued at Auburn where he received a master’s degree in civil engineering, and without hesitation began his doctoral studies. As a doctoral student, Fisher is currently focusing on travel behavior, survey design, and multi-modal discrete choice modeling. His doctoral adviser is Dr. LaMondia, who is an associate professor at Auburn University focusing on transportation engineering.
“My main specialization is in long-distance travel behavior with a focus on improving survey design and sampling collection,” he said. “I also specialize in multi-modal discrete choice modeling and, through the STRIDE project, MaaS in rural communities.”
Fisher is working on STRIDE Project C3 – Emerging Mobility Services for the Transportation Disadvantaged under Dr. LaMondia. The project is multi-institutional led by Dr. Eleni Bardaka of North Carolina State University. Fisher’s task on this project was to analyze the role of Mobility as a Service (Maas) in rural communities. For example, he worked on identifying opportunities for MaaS to support existing travel patterns when compared to urban usage. His work on this project also focused on understanding the factors that influence MaaS activities in rural communities.
Findings from the STRIDE project at Auburn are expected to assist planners, decisionmakers, and transportation professionals better serve their communities by identifying equity issues among disadvantaged populations and how to address those concerns.
Fisher lives and breathes transportation. From his first experience in realizing how civil engineering and transportation research leads to improvements in quality of life to researching how to make travel more equitable in rural communities, Fisher is committed to transportation engineering. For his devotion to the field, he was selected as the 2021 STRIDE Center’s Student of the Year, an accolade that is given to University Transportation Center (UTC)-affiliated students who demonstrate top-notch academic, technical, research, professional, and leadership qualities. An official virtual ceremony will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation on Saturday, January 8, 2022. Fisher feels humbled by the award.
“I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Jeffrey LaMondia, the entire Auburn University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty and staff, my family, and my friends for their amazing support,” he said. “Winning this award is an absolute honor and I am extremely humbled by this opportunity.”