"Students in the Spotlight" is a conversation series with members of the SofC Student Academy and Urban Leadership Fellowship program.
- What are you currently working on? What are your research and engagement interests?
My research is on emerging transportation technologies and the future of personal mobility. I am particularly interested in the equity concerns that these new modes may engender, and in the ways in which policies may be used to modulate travel behaviours.
What has motivated your interests and journey? How do you hope to make difference?
Due to their novelty, new forms of mobility have not yet received the same level of scrutiny as other more established modes of travel. By improving our understanding of the social, economic, and environmental impacts of these new modes, I hope my research will offer a practical contribution to policymakers seeking to properly regulate these services.
What’s the latest project you have been working on and would like to share with the SofC audiences?
Lately, my work has focused on the benefits of pooling. More specifically, I have examined the matching propensity and time penalty associated with shared ride-hailing service (e.g. UberPool) to establish whether, and to what extent, they may reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions within cities.
As a student, researcher and or activist, what have you learned from the pandemic and its global impact?
The unpredictability and fragility of our transportation systems were highlighted by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Data from post-lockdown cities report an increase in driving at the expense of transit ridership and suggest that the public’s aversion to shared spaces may endure far into the future. We thus appear to be at a crossroads, and while the future of transportation may appear bleak and uncertain, many cities have seized the opportunity to encourage healthier and more equitable forms of transportation. I find these later efforts encouraging and look forward to seeing how these trends evolve in the years to come.
Please share with us your experiences at the SofC. How do you think being a member of the SofC Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy Program has contributed to your scholarship and added to your experience as a student?
I very much enjoyed my experience as a Fellow at the School of Cities. Throughout the semester they facilitated opportunities to discuss and share my research ideas and offered valuable feedback along the way. The weekly meetings were something to look forward to, especially during the difficult and isolating months of the pandemic.
Mischa Young has recently graduated with a Ph.D. from the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis. His research focuses on emerging transportation technologies and the future of personal mobility. He is particularly interested in the transport equity concerns that these new modes may engender, and in the ways in which transportation policies may be used to modulate travel behaviours. Lately, Mischa’s work has centered on the impacts of ride-hailing services to inform regulatory decisions and ensure they improve, rather than hinder, societal outcomes. Beyond researching how to leverage new mobility technologies to design more equitable and sustainable cities, Mischa is also an avid cyclist and an urban tree enthusiast.