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UNC Clean Tech Speaker

Noreen McDonald

Noreen McDonald
Department Chair
Department of City and Regional Planning


Professor McDonald’s work focuses on how infrastructure investments and technology changes influence travel and the downstream impacts on road safety, public health, energy demand, and city form. She is an internationally-recognized expert on the travel behavior of youth and young adults. Her work on children’s travel has shown that improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities can increase travel by foot. She has assessed the causes of declines in driving in the US and UK and looked at how transportation planning practice can respond to recent behavioral shifts and those anticipated due to changing technology. Her most recent work explores disruptions associated with shared mobility, e.g. Uber/Lyft and autonomous vehicles.

McDonald is currently working on several projects including:

  • quantifying the impacts of shared mobility on non-emergency medical transport,
  • considering the role of planning with the advent of autonomous vehicles,
  • exploring how autonomous vehicles will impact vulnerable road users,
  • measuring how recent changes to planning for new development have influenced practice,
  • analyzing the travel of young adults, i.e. the millennial generation, to understand the potential transport and energy impacts, and
  • assessing the multi-modal costs of school transportation.