News | METRANS Advisory Board Meeting Assesses Top Center Priorities

Stop the Video



by Meghan Orr, CSULB

The METRANS Transportation Center held its second Advisory Board meeting of the year in November 2020. METRANS was founded in 1998 as the first transportation-focused center in Southern California dedicated to fostering high quality transportation research, training the future transportation workforce, and educating the public and industry on best practices and cutting-edge information. The METRANS Advisory Board includes distinguished leaders from major transportation industry and agency partners, including the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Board members offer invaluable insight and guidance in service of METRANS’ mission to solve the transportation problems of large metropolitan regions. 


One important highlight of this year’s Board meeting was the announcement that Dr. Genevieve Giuliano would be stepping down as Director of METRANS. The Advisory Board acknowledged the significance of her departure after having served METRANS for 20 years. Board members expressed that Giuliano would be sorely missed as the center’s long-standing leader. The Center is in the process of developing a search plan for her successor.  


Meeting topics included findings from a branding assessment about the METRANS name and its recognition in the industry, student engagement at METRANS, and recent workforce development and research produced through the center. METRANS board members and staff also discussed student engagement programming, which included the METRANS mentorship program coordinated at USC, and a recent NYC photo project, which was a collaborative graduate student project based on METRANS researcher Martin Krieger’s photography portfolio and focusing on the geographical presentation of street infrastructure and cultures around transit stations in New York. METRANS students are involved in a wide range of projects, including media, outreach, education and workforce development, and research.  


The meeting concluded with some highlights on COVID-19 related research. Karl Kim, Professor of Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, presented an overview of research being conducted on travel impacts of COVID-19, contact tracing and exposure apps, and the relationship between COVID-19 cases and economic activity. The University of Hawaii is a partner in the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center led by METRANS. USC PhD candidate Yougeng Lu presented preliminary results on travel impacts of the pandemic across race/ethnic and income groups. Deanna Matsumoto, CITT Education and Workforce Development Analyst at California State University, Long Beach, presented findings from research on the impacts of COVID-19 on transportation workforce development in Southern California.


The next meeting of the Advisory Board will take place in April 2021.