AAG Transportation Geography Specialty Group:
Past Events

Edward L. Ullman Award

The Edward L. Ullman Award has been offered by the Transportation Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers since 1990 for outstanding contributions to the field of transportation geography. Edward Louis Ullman (1912 – 1976) was a highly influential transportation geographer and spent most of his academic career at the University of Washington.

The Fleming Lecture in Transportation Geography

When in 1992 Professor Douglas Fleming retired from his teaching career in transportation at the University of Washington (and his earlier career in merchant shipping), the Department of Geography decided to create a fund that would enable to offer an honorarium for a distinguished lecture at the Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers. This lectureship, which honors the long tradition of transportation studies at Washington, including William Garrison and Edward Ullman, as well as Doug Fleming, is designed to recognize outstanding contributions in the field. Since the Transportation Geography Specialty Group includes most of the academic specialists as well as many people in the transportation sectors of the economy, the department at Washington solicits the recommendation each year of an outstanding person to honor. Past speakers include:

Dissertation and Thesis Award Winners

The TGSG Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards recognize outstanding theses and dissertations in transportation geography. There are two awards, one for best Master's thesis and one for best PhD dissertation. These awards each have a $300 prize, and winners are recognized and receive a plaque at the awards luncheon. We encourage submissions by students who do not necessarily consider themselves transportation geographers but are working on exciting and innovative transportation topics. Students must be members of the AAG to be eligible for either award.

Past Chairs

Annual Reports

TGSG Board Statement of Solidarity

22 June 2020

The Transportation Geography Specialty Group expresses their solidarity with the American Association of Geographers and the specialty groups of the AAG, the Black Lives Matter movement, and all of our friends and colleagues of any color, race, gender, or decree in speaking out, protesting, and working to change the endemic racism, injustice, and inequality that permeates society. We are deeply saddened by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks as the latest in a long history of violence, discrimination, and brutality along racial, gender, and other lines. These actions are unacceptable in a country that promotes itself as the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Transportation is a unique field of study in that it is deeply embedded in the fabric of all individuals of our species. We all must utilize and rely on it to function and participate in society. Transportation as an industry and a discipline has had a dialectical role in American race relations, both facilitating injustice and contributing to social change. Some examples include the Great Migration that was facilitated by railroads, which were built by suppressed immigrant labor. Discrimination in busing let to Rosa Parks and the Freedom Riders. The Pullman Porters were underpaid, overworked, and disrespected, but these were also jobs that African-Americans desired, and became a catalyst for the development of labor leaders who were later pivotal in the Civil Rights movement.

Our mobility systems today continue to facilitate inequities that divide our society. For example, automobile ownership and use as a requirement for participation in society places disproportionate burdens on lower-income households, which themselves are disproportionately people of color and underrepresented minorities. Efforts to increase active transportation and walkable communities facilitate sustainable mobility, but also place uneven burdens on people of color, including heightened police attention and reduced consideration from motorists. Contemporary work in transit and transportation provides stable, middle-class employment, but these "essential" jobs have proved especially deadly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and exposed the increased vulnerability to already disadvantaged populations.

Transportation has made significant progress in recent decades in diversifying its ranks and in progressing research and teaching on mobility inequities. Work in topics such as sustainability, spatial mismatch, modal choice, and accessibility to name a few have contributed to this progress. But, as is evident with a casual glance at almost any street, much work remains to be done.

This gives our work a special level of responsibility to equality and justice.

We commit to be a more inclusive specialty group, to encourage the participation of members of historically underrepresented peoples in transportation in our conferences, in our collaboration, and in our research and teaching. We commit to project, without fail, an open, supportive, and constructive environment for all who are interested in our fascinating and dynamic field. We commit to ask better questions, to be better listeners, and to learn. We commit to do better.

To these ends, we also ask for your suggestions and input for how to best proceed going forward to building a most equitable and just research group, and to making our contribution to building the just, fair, and sustainable world we all deserve to share in together.

Yours sincerely,

The Leadership of the Transportation Geography Specialty Group

2020 AAG Virtual Annual Meeting

The in-person 2020 Annual Meeting was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers assembled 175+ sessions, meetings, and events for the virtual meeting, including four sessions co-sponsored by the TGSG. Video of those sessions will be available for a limited time on the AAG Annual Meeting website:

The cancellation of the in-person conference forced the cancellation of 37 sessions sponsored by the TGSG, including the 2020 Fleming Lecture, which was to be given by last year's Ullman Award winner, John-Paul Rodrigue. Plans for Dr. Rodrigue's address as well as the Fleming Lecture for 2020 Ullman Award winner, Julie Cidell, will be announced prior to the 2021 AAG Annual Meeting in Seattle.

Julie Cidell
University of Illinois
2020 Edward L. Ullman Award
Joris Beckers
University of Antwerp
2020 TGSG PhD Dissertation Award
Yun-Hsuan (Grace) Chen
National Taiwan University
2020 TGSG Master's Thesis Award
Aimee Krafft
University of Nevada-Reno
2020 TGSG Student Travel Award
Elina Sukaryavichute
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
2020 TGSG Student Travel Award

2019 AAG Annual Meeting: Washington, DC

The Transportation Geography Specialty Group sponsored or co-sponsored 24 sessions at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 3-7, 2019. The group's business meeting was held on Friday, April 5, 2019.

The 2019 Fleming lecture was given Thursday, April 4, 2019 in the Washington 4 room on the Exhibition Level of the Marriott. It featured last year's Ullman award winner, Tim Schwanen from the University of Oxford, speaking on Geographies of transport in the new climatic regime.

Michael Minn, Jean-Paul Rodrigue
The 2019 Edward L. Ullman Award was given to Jean-Paul Rodrique
Irene Casas, Kyle Sorlie Titlow
The 2019 TGSG Master's Thesis Award was given to Kyle Sorlie Titlow
Irene Casas, Rafael Pereira
The 2019 TGSG PhD Dissertation Award was given to Rafael Pereira
Irene Casas, Mischa Young
A 2019 TGSG Student Travel Award was given to Mischa Young, University of Toronto
Irene Casas, Jinhyung Lee
A 2019 TGSG Student Travel Award was given to Jinhyung Lee, The Ohio State University

2018 AAG Annual Meeting: New Orleans, LA

The Transportation Geography Specialty Group sponsored or co-sponsored 39 sessions at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA, April 9-15, 2018. The group's business meeting was held on Friday, April 13, 2018.

Tim Schwanen, Irene Casas
The 2018 Edward L. Ullman Award was given to Tim Schwanen, University of Oxford.
Taylor Oshan, Irene Casas
The 2018 TGSG Ph.D. Dissertation Award was given to Taylor Oshan for A New Era of Spatial Interaction: Potential and Pitfalls, supervised by A. Stewart Fotheringham, Arizona State University.
Yuqin Jiang, Irene Casas
The 2018 TGSG Master's Thesis Award was given to Yuqin Jiang for Urban Accessibility Measurement and Visualization: A Big Data Approach, supervised by Diansheng Guo, University of South Carolina.
Maryam Khabazi, Irene Casas, Jessica Villena
The 2018 TGSG Student Travel Awards were given to Jessica Villena Sanchez, The University of Denver, and Maryam Khabazi, University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

2017 AAG Annual Meeting: Boston, MA

The Transportation Geography Specialty Group sponsored or co-sponsored 25 sessions at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in Boston, MA, April 5 - April 9, 2017. The group's business meeting was held on April 7, 2017.

The 2017 Edward L. Ullman Award for contributions to the field of Transportation Geography was given to Dr.Isabelle Thomas, Professor of Geography at Universite Catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Over the span of the past 30 years, Dr. Thomas has authored or co-authored over 150 publications, accruing nearly 4000 citations. Her major contributions can be found in a number of sub-disciplines of transportation and urban geography. She was a leading pioneer in the use of fractals to classify and understand urban growth patterns and the spatial structure of built-up urban areas, including transportation networks. She has also been a prominent researcher on road accident analysis both automotive and bicycling crashes leading to work on determinants of cycling and policies for promoting non-motorized transportation. Other noteworthy research touches on aspects of accessibility, commuting, and transportation-land-use modeling. In addition to research, Dr. Thomas has been an active participant in the NECTAR series and has served or is serving on the editorial board of a number of journals.

Calvin Tribby
The 2017 TGSG Ph.D. Dissertation Award was given to Calvin Tribby for Activity Spaces, Route Choices and Neighborhoods: Assessing the Built Environment Associations with Walking, supervised by Harvey Miller, Ohio States University.
Elina Sukaryavichute
The 2017 TGSG Master's Thesis Award was given to Elina Sukaryavichute for Transit Planning, Access, and Social Justice: Competing Visions of Bus Rapid Transit and the Chicago Street, supervised by David Prytherch, Miami University of Ohio.
Anna Bornioli and Rarael Pereira
The 2017 TGSG Student Travel Awards were given to Anna Bornioli, University of the West of England and Rafael Pereira, Oxford University.
2017 Fleming Lecture
Michael Kuby (presenter) and Morton O'Kelly (discussant) at the 2017 Fleming Lecture.

2015 AAG Annual Meeting: Los Angeles, CA

The TGSG sponsored or co-sponsored 37 sessions at the 2015 AAG Annual Meeting in Chicago, in addition to the annual Fleming Lecture.

The 2015 Edward L. Ullman Award for outstanding contributions to the field of transportation geography has been awarded to Karen Lucas, Director of Research and Innovation at the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Karen has made significant contributions in the area of transport-related social exclusion. She has worked with numerous governments, both locally and nationally, to develop policies to help alleviate transport disadvantage and social inequalities. In addition, Karen currently serves as an associate editor for The Journal of Transport Geography.

The 2015 Ph.D. Dissertation Award has been awarded to Astrid Wood for her dissertation entitled Peripatetic Planning. Tracing the Mobility of Bus Rapid Transit through South African Cities completed at the University College London.

The 2015 Master's Thesis Award has been awarded to Simon Cook for Running as Transport from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Travel Awards have been awarded to Mengyao Zhang, University of Connecticut and Jerl Levi McCollum from the University of North Texas.

This year's Fleming Lecture in Transport Geography was given by Bert Van Wee from Delft University of Technology on Thursday, April 23 from 10:00-11:40AM in Grand Suite 3, Hyatt, East Tower, Gold Level. The title of the talk wass Accessible accessibility research challenges.

2014 Student Award Winners

Abu Toasin Md Oakil
The Ph.D. student dissertation award ended in a tie between Kathleen E. Deutsch-Burgner of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Abu Toasin Md Oakil of Utrecht University, the Netherlands and will both be receiving the award in the upcoming AAG conference. Kathleen's dissertation titled An Investigation in Decision Making and Destination Choice Incorporating Place Meaning and Social Network Influences was supervised by Konstadinos G. Goulias. Abu's dissertation titled Temporal Dependence in Life Trajectories and Mobility Decisions was supervised by Dr. Dick Ettema and Dr. Theo Arentze.
Selima Sultana and Daniel Schleith
The Master's student competition award also ended in a tie between Colin Dony of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Daniel Schleith of Florida State University. Colin receives this award for his thesis entitled Using GIS to determine travel impedance to hospitals for infants with spina bifida in Florida, 1998-2007, which was supervised by Dr. Eric Delmelle. Daniel receives this award for his thesis entitled Investigating spatially disaggregate commuting for workers with different incomes in Leon County, Florida, supervised by Dr. Mark Horner. In addition, an honorable mention will be awarded to Sylvia Brady for her thesis entitled Mobility and aging in Denver, CO: Travel behaviors, mobility barriers, and perceptions of transit, supervised by Dr. Eric Boschman at the University of Denver.

2013 Los Angeles Rail Transit Gold / Red Lines and
Transit-Oriented Development Field Trip

TOD Tour

Andrew Goetz (University of Denver) and Keith Ratner (Salem State University) organized a field trip to visit transit-oriented development along Los Angeles' gold light-rail and red subway lines. The field trip was sponsored by the Transportation Specialty Group and the Urban Specialty Group.

The tour was focused on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) Joint Development Program, "a real property asset development and management program designed to secure the most appropriate private and/or public sector development on Metro-owned property at and adjacent to transit stations and corridors." MORE...

2013 Student Award Winners

Selima Sultana and Woo Jang
The 2013 PhD Student Dissertation Award was awarded to Woo Jang (University of Georgia) for his dissertation work entitled, Spatial dynamics of disaggregated urban commuting patterns, supervised by Xiaobai Yao.
The 2013 Master's Student Competition Award was awarded to Benjamin Lundberg (University of Alabama) for his thesis, Accessibility and university populations: Local effects on non-motorized transportation in the Tuscaloosa-Northport area, supervised by Joe Weber.

2012 AAG Annual Meeting: High Speed Rail in America: Promise and Peril

The Transport Geography Specialty Group sponsored this panel discussion on 26 February 2012 at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, New York, NY. The panel discussion was organized in conjunction with a special HSR viewpoint issue of the Journal of Transport Geography

Part 1: Bradley Lane (University of Texas, El Paso)

Part 2: Andrew Ryder (University of Portsmouth)

Part 3: Sean Tierney (University of North Texas)

Part 4: Michael F. Ziolkowski (The College at Brockport, SUNY)

Part 5: Anthony Perl (Simon Fraser University)

Part 6: Andrew Goetz (Denver University - Moderator)

Part 7: Panel response

Part 8: Dedicated vs. shared lines, Paying for it, Integration with air travel

Part 9: Classes of service, Who should run the service?