Research Spotlight: Ridership dynamics and characteristics of potential riders of a transit system: The SunRail of Central Florida

Mark Horner, Ph.D., Professor of Geography; Michael Duncan, Ph.D.; Professor of Urban and Regional Planning; and Dennis J. Smith, Planner-in-Residence for Urban and Regional Planning, co-authored the article “Ridership Dynamics and Characteristics of Potential Riders of a Transit System: The SunRail of Central Florida” in the journal Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

Research Spotlight: LGBTQ Young Adults’ Attitudes Toward Workplace Antidiscrimination Policies: A Cross-National Analysis Between the US and Japan

Florida State University Professor of Sociology Koji Ueno, Ph.D., was the lead author of “LGBTQ Young Adults’ Attitudes Toward Workplace Antidiscrimination Policies: A Cross-National Analysis Between the US and Japan.” The article was published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy and examines how national contexts shape LGBTQ workers’ attitudes toward workplace antidiscrimination policies by comparing the US and Japan. 

Research Spotlight: Learning through Collaborative Data Projects: Engaging Students and Building Rapport  

In “Learning through Collaborative Data Projects: Engaging Students and Building Rapport,” Matthew Pietryka, Ph.D., and Rebecca A. Glazier, Ph.D. propose a series of collaborative assignments to engage students and foster rapport between the students and the instructor, even in large classes.  

The authors’ article describes and evaluates the effectiveness of a series of collaborative assignments that help instructors to both engage students and build rapport with them. Using student feedback in four different college courses, the authors show that students reported that they learned more and found the assignments more enjoyable compared to a typical college assignment. Also, students reported that receiving individualized feedback about their contributions made them more interested in the material and made them feel like the instructor was more invested in their learning. These survey results indicate that the assignments succeeded at both engaging students and at building rapport. 

While most instructors are interested in better engaging their students in order to help them learn, engaging students can be difficult. Moreover, following recommendations for how to engage students is often a resource-intensive task for instructors. The collaborative data projects proposed by the authors provide instructors with a resource-effective way to engage students while also building rapport even in large, online classes.

Research Spotlight: To Court Without the Corps? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Florida v. Georgia  

In “To Court Without the Corps? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Florida v. Georgia,” Tyler McCreary, Ph.D., and Frank Schmitz, Ph.D., examine the role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a recent Supreme Court case about water allocation in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin. 

The authors review the arguments and findings from the US Supreme Court decision “Florida v. Georgia.” This judicial case began with allegations of ecological damage due to upstream water overconsumption in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin. However, the case ultimately revolved around the technical practices and regulation manuals of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who operates the system of federal dams that impacts the flow of the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers. Dr. McCreary and Dr. Schmitz examine the evidence and arguments presented in the Florida v. Georgia case and argue that the ecological disturbances and damages occurred in the Apalachicola watershed cannot be understood nor remedied without considering the history and management practices of the Corps in the ACF basin. 

The authors’ analysis of the Florida v. Georgia case highlights the importance to water governance of the policies, technical practices, and production of knowledge by engineers and other experts. More generally, the authors’ article suggest that Florida v. Georgia is a more general invitation for geographers to develop political ecologies that critically engage with the practices of engineers and experts in other transboundary river basins.

Research Spotlight: Assessment of Disparities in Spatial Accessibility to Vaccination Sites in Florida

In “Assessment of Disparities in Spatial Accessibility to Vaccination Sites in Florida,” Kyusik Kim and Mark Horner, Ph.D., examined whether during the early COVID-19 vaccination stage, access to vaccination sites for older Floridians varied across individuals’ race, ethnicity, and income level.  

To examine potential disparities in accessibility to vaccine distribution sites, the authors identified vaccination sites as of March 2021 and geocoded their addresses. The authors also employed census tract level data from the American Community Survey 5-year estimates to identify people 65 and older in the state of Florida as well as their race, ethnicity, and income levels. 

Moreover, to calculate the distance between older subpopulation groups and vaccination sites, the authors employed hexagon-based spatial accessibility using Uber’s Hexagonal Hierarchical Spatial Index. This approach allowed the authors to compute highly disaggregated spatial accessibility to vaccination sites, since the size of the hexagon is smaller than the census block. Using this method, the authors calculated two accessibility measures: travel time to the nearest vaccination facility (nearest opportunity) and the number of facilities within a 15-minute travel time (cumulative opportunities). 

Research Spotlight: Neighborhood Land Uses as Predictors of the Upward Mobility of Poor Youth 

In “Neighborhood Land Uses as Predictors of the Upward Mobility of Poor Youth,” Keith Ihlanfeldt, Ph.D., examines whether the land uses within the neighborhoods where poor youth grow up helps to predict their welfare as adults. To do so, Dr. Ihlanfeldt explores the characteristics of neighborhoods that provide upward mobility. 

Dr. Ihlanfeldt finds that land uses within the neighborhood where youth grew up are important predictors of individuals’ household income as adults, as well as teenage births rates. For example, among those poor individuals who grew up in neighborhoods with larger number of multifamily apartments, single-family rental homes, or mobile homes, their household income as adults is smaller. Also, a larger number of alcohol-serving establishments tend to decrease the adult household incomes of poor youth. The results are similar for predicting teenage birth rates. Among poor female youth, growing up in neighborhoods with more multifamily housing, single-family rentals, mobile homes, and alcoholic establishments increases the likelihood of having children as teenagers. 

The research by Dr. Ihlanfeldt identifies neighborhoods that provide upward mobility. Importantly, this study can help tailor policies to either make the home neighborhoods of disadvantaged youth more like these neighborhoods or enable the guardians of these children to move into these places.

Research Spotlight: How Communities Benefit from Collaborative Governance

Research on collaborative governance (CG) highlights that power imbalances between communities and other participants can undermine the benefits of collaboration for some communities. Thus, mitigating power imbalances can improve community benefits from collaboration in many ways.

In this article, Eric Coleman, Ph.D., Bill Schultz, Ph.D., and co-authors study an attempt to mitigate power imbalances by examining community benefits that result from interactions with different civic, private, and public decision-makers in Uganda. The results indicate that encouraging the equitable participation of communities improves collaboration with other actors. 

Furthermore, the evidence presented by Dr. Coleman et. al. suggests that interventions mindful of community needs can improve CG and shows how such communities can be most effectively targeted.