Tuesday, May 21

Transfers magazine drives transportation research into accessible format


(Daily Bruin file photo)
The UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies released its first issue of Transfers Magazine last Wednesday to feature work from a group of eight universities.

(Daily Bruin file photo) The UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies released its first issue of Transfers Magazine last Wednesday to feature work from a group of eight universities.


A new UCLA magazine that launched Wednesday features work from other universities to make transportation research more accessible to students, policymakers and the public.

The UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies released its first issue of Transfers Magazine, which features research from the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center, said Madeline Brozen, associate director of ITS and Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA and editor in chief of Transfers Magazine.

The PSR includes a group of eight universities from Arizona, California and Hawaii that contribute to transportation research. It is one region in the larger University Transportation Centers Program, funded by the Department of Transportation.

ITS launched Transfers Magazine to make complicated transportation research more readable for a wider audience, said Donald Shoup, a distinguished professor of urban planning at UCLA and senior editor of Transfers.

“Professors write articles for professional journals that are really not much fun to read for the general public,” Shoup said. “Nobody reads them unless they were assigned to them in class.”

Martin Wachs, a UCLA distinguished professor emeritus of urban planning and senior editor of Transfers, said the magazine will present research in a more straightforward form for those who do not usually read academic articles.

“The goal of Transfers is to take this research and revise it, cut it down, leave out all the equations and the statistics, and to show what this research found that Washington or Sacramento or city hall would be interested in,” he said.

The magazine invites authors to write shorter versions of their articles and explain how their research could be used or how it could affect public policy, Shoup added.

For example, Shoup’s article in the debut issue focused on research about how the city of San Francisco should set prices for parking garages. He said his research recommended the city charge demand-based prices that could increase the use of garages, lower prices for drivers and increase revenue for the city.

“One of the best ways of influencing public policy is through disseminating our information and ideas,” Wachs said.

Because the magazine features research from different universities in the region, it covers a wide variety of topics, such as transportation economics and finance, forecasts of future transportation use, changes in transportation technology and the relationship between transportation and the environment, Wachs added.

Transportation research can cover various modes of transportation, including cars, trains and skateboards. The first issue included an article about people using skateboards to get to work, Shoup said.

Shoup said he thinks students might enjoy reading the shorter articles in the magazine more than they would longer academic articles for their classes. He added he thinks the magazine is comparable to other academic work typically assigned as readings to students.

“A lot of academics assign these shorter versions of articles for students instead of the long journal articles because you’ve only got so much time for homework and reading,” Shoup said. “It’s like a Reader’s Digest kind of thing.”

The magazine received about 900 subscriptions within the first two days, Wachs said.

“We’re aiming for a number something closer to 10,000 and we hope that we will continue to build towards that, but we’re very pleased with the initial response,” Wachs said.

 

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