Researching the Informal Using Formal Methods
New York, NY 10012
Please join us for a seminar titled "Researching the Informal Using Formal Methods" with Eric Goldwyn, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the NYU Urban Expansion program at the Marron Institute.
"This talk builds on my dissertation research on dollar vans in Brooklyn. Over the course of my data collection, I met a dollar van driver interested in developing a new route adjacent to Flatbush Avenue, the busiest route in the Brooklyn network. By speaking with him and documenting his rationale for expanding his service, I compared his “generative” approach to planning, which capitalized on his experiences plying Flatbush Avenue for over 20 years, with readily available empirical data, such as Census, ACS, and MTA ridership data—primary data sources for transportation planners. While dollar vans are described as informal and ramshackle and drivers are categorized as outlaws and cowboys, this particular driver demonstrated a keen grasp of shifting demographics in Flatbush and East New York and changing ridership patterns on the B41 and B103 bus. While this driver never consulted the “data” to validate his intuition about his proposed route, his insights into passenger behavior and demand is an untapped source of feedback that can be used to inform resource allocation, route planning, and service provision."