By Amanda Cairo, UC Berkeley Institute of Studies
Congratulations to recent Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) alum Dr. Stephen Wong who earned the 2020 Eric Pas Dissertation Award from the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research (IATBR).
His dissertation, “Compliance, Congestion, and Social Equity: Tackling Critical Evacuation Challenges through the Sharing Economy, Joint Choice Modeling, and Regret Minimization,” focuses on building transportation strategies for governments to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. He was advised by CEE professors Dr. Susan Shaheen and Dr. Joan Walker.
The Eric Pas Dissertation Prize has been awarded annually since 1998 to the individual whose dissertation makes the greatest impact among all dissertations nominated for the prize in any given year. Award of the prize signals the arrival of exceptional new talent in the field. The award is named in honor of Eric I Pas, a leading travel behavior researcher, who passed away in November 1997.
Of the dissertations submitted for consideration, the committee felt Dr. Wong’s dissertation met the full set of evaluation criteria for the award and was highly original in multiple ways, including its focus on mobility during evacuation and in particular the role that shared mobility can play in this. It also establishes plausible connections between the two and addresses questions about equity.
“Stephen is an unusually talented scholar whose work is imbued with the thoughtfulness, rigor and adventurousness that characterized Eric Pas’s research,” says IATBR Chair Dr. Konstadinos Goulias on behalf of the dissertation jury chair. “The thesis as a whole demonstrates excellent scholarship across a breadth of topics and methods that is unusual in travel behavior research.”
He added Dr. Wong also has a talent for translating the findings from his research into clear and practical policy lessons and recommendations in a manner that is rare for an early-career researcher and indeed among the transport research community more widely.
Dr. Wong is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and will be starting a new research group called the Resilient and Sustainable Mobility & Evacuation Group (RESUME Group). He is also co-chair of the Young Member Council – Sustainability & Resilience at the Transportation Research Board (TRB), a research coordinator and member of the Committee on Disaster Response, Emergency Evacuations, and Business Continuity at TRB, and a member of the Committee on Strategic Management at TRB. Dr. Wong received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in December 2020.