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Seminar: Urban Air Mobility: Assessing Viability and Equity with an Urban Planning Lens

Amber Woodburn McNair, PhD, Knowlton School of Architecture
Friday, January 25, 2019, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Aerospace Research Center
Room 100
2300 W. Case Rd.
Columbus, OH 43235


Connected, autonomous vehicles (CAV)—which can operate both on-land and mid-air—are among a suite of smart mobility technologies that have captured the attention of planning practice, planning scholarship and the broader public. In its barest description, CAV technology functions as a machine equipped with sensors to detect real-time information about the vehicle operating environment, internal computation capabilities to optimize routing decisions across a variety of constraints, and wireless networks to share information with other machines, such as traffic signals and other autonomous vehicles. As the engineering and computational sciences continue to advance toward a world where CAV is possible, urban and regional planners have the difficult position of guiding CAV implementation across uncertain futures of technology ownership, policy and markets. Further, in the context of America’s urban history, there is cause for reflection and caution to ensure that the business plans, land uses and travel behaviors stemming from CAV systems do not exacerbate spatial patterns of resource isolation or social exclusion. This talk will emphasize frameworks for evaluating these viability and equity considerations specifically in the context of unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAV).


About the speaker

Amber Woodburn McNair, PhD, is an assistant professor of city and regional planning and holds an affiliated position with the Center for Aviation Studies at The Ohio State University. Her education background includes a BS (UC Berkeley, 2009) and MS (UT Knoxville, 2013) in Civil Engineering and a PhD (University of Pennsylvania, 2016) in city and regional planning, all with an emphasis on transportation systems. At Ohio State, she integrates air transportation and airspace planning in both her teaching and research with graduate and undergraduate students. Her most recent funded work includes a study of the economic impact of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority’s three airports (John Glenn, Rickenbacker and Bolton Field) on the State of Ohio. She has also conducted work that uses unmanned aerial vehicles to capture high-resolution aerial views of transportation corridors to analyze auto-centric urban form and identify interventions for complete street design.


Hosted by Professor Jim Gregory.