Jessica Agnew’s $20k CGI-U Challenge

17 09 2017

Jessica Agnew is a PhD student in Planning, Governance, and Globalization at Virginia Tech. She is one 1,000 students to attend the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University conference in Boston this October. Students attending the conference are asked to make commitments to action in five core areas: education, environment and climate change, poverty alleviation, peace and human rights, and public health. Jessica is one of about 100 students who have been invited to present their proposed projects at the CGI U Exchange – an exhibition style networking event on the second day of the conference. She is also one of 50 students who were selected to receive support on the Crowd Rise platform to crowdsource the funds they need to advance their projects.

Jessica’s nutrition education program in Mozambique is called BUY2THRIVE. It will not only educate mothers of young children about good nutrition, but also how to purchase foods that are safe and nutritious. While knowing the right types of foods to eat is important, if mothers don’t know how to adjust food purchases based on changes in income and availability, then nutrition education will have little impact. BUY2THRIVE will also train respected women in the communities to deliver the education to mothers. This will ensure that mothers receive the education from people they trust. It will also help to create changes in the way entire communities think about food. The BUY2THRIVE program will be run in Mozambique, partnering with local organizations to ensure maximum impact.

Jessica is now crowdsourcing the money she needs to launch the beginning stages of BUY2THRIVE in Mozambique. Please consider partnering with her – as a social investor – as she works towards addressing malnutrition in Mozambique.

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Congratulations Marc Fialkoff!

14 09 2017

Congratulations to Marc Fialkoff who successfully defended his PhD in Planning, Governance, and Globalization on Monday. Marc’s research focused on quantifying the effect of the Jones Act restriction on freight transportation networks in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. His research blended civil engineering, law, network science, and planning to analyze the impact of a law on critical infrastructure. Marc’s committee represented the interdisciplinary nature of transportation policy, with committee members from Urban Affairs and Planning, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Law, and Network Science. I served as co-chair Marc’s committee with Ralph Buehler, along with committee members Kathleen Hancock, Henning Mortveit, and Jonathan Gutoff.

In addition to being an interdisciplinary study of law, policy, and freight transportation, Marc’s research leveraged a collaborative partnership between the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). As part of his research, Marc spent a year with the Critical Infrastructure and Climate Change team at ORNL, under the supervision of Dr. Olufemi Omitaomu, collecting data and analyzing the impacts of the law on the highway and railway networks. Using tools developed by ORNL researchers, Marc connected his background in law and planning with technical expertise to evaluate law and policy decisions on freight transportation. Most recently, Marc was selected as an Eno Fellow by the Eno Center for Transportation in recognition of his interdisciplinary approach to studying problems in transportation research.

Marc’s research is timely in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to inform decision-makers as to the impact of relaxing the Jones Act and its implications on the freight transportation network. It is the first study to externalize the Jones Act as a legal lever for influencing recovery within the freight transportation system.

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Abstract

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused massive disruption and destruction to the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The intensity of the storm forced the Port of New York and New Jersey to close, forcing cargo diversion to the Port of Norfolk in Virginia. Because of the Jones Act restriction on foreign vessels moving between U.S. ports, the restriction on short sea shipping was viewed as a barrier to recovery.

Much of the critical infrastructure resilience and security literature focuses on the “hardening” of physical infrastructure, but not the relationship between law, policy, and critical infrastructure. Traditional views of transportation systems do not adequately address questions of governance and emergent behaviors such as resilience. In contrast, recent development of a System of Systems framework provides a conceptual framework to study the relationship of law and policy systems to the transportation systems they govern.

Applying a System of Systems framework, this research analyzed the effect of relaxing the Jones Act on freight transportation networks experiencing a disruptive event. Using WebTRAGIS (Transportation Routing Analysis GIS), the results of the research demonstrate that relaxing the Jones Act had a marginal reduction on highway truck traffic and no change in rail traffic volume in the aftermath of a disruption. The research also analyzed the Jones Act waiver process and the barriers posed by the legal process involved in administration and review for Jones Act waivers. Recommendations on improving the waiver process include greater agency coordination and formal rulemaking to ensure certainty with the waiver process.

This research is the first in studying the impact of the Jones Act on a multimodal freight transportation network. Likewise, the use of the System of Systems framework to conceptualize the law and a critical infrastructure system such as transportation provides future opportunities for studying different sets of laws and policies on infrastructure. This can provide policymakers and planners with a more robust opportunity to understand the impact of law and policy on the infrastructure systems they govern.





Sustainable Transportation Book Exceeds 19k Downloads

2 06 2017

I recently received a report from Springer that provided the following information about the Sustainable Transportation book I co-authored with Henrik Gudmundsson, Greg Marsden, and Joe Zietsman. It’s great to see the interest in the book and to learn that it was one of the top 25% most downloaded eBooks in its category in 2016.





CUGH Global Health Conference

5 04 2017

This weekend, Drs. Penny and Andy Muelenaer will be presenting the poster below at the 8th Annual CUGH Global Health Conference entitled Healthy People, Healthy Ecosystems: Implementation, Leadership, & Sustainability in Global Health. The conference will be held at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Dupont Circle.

The poster captures captures some of the work of Virginia Tech’s TEAM Malawi.





Dr. Virgil Wood Talks About His Life and Working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

28 03 2017

Last week, Dr. Virgil Wood was interviewed by Rebecca Powell-Doherty and Ben Grove on Andy Morikawa’s Trustees Without Borders show. During the conversation, Dr. Wood talked about his life and work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Louis Kelso, and many other leading American figures. The interview can be accessed by clicking on the image below.

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The Future of Work and Income

17 03 2017

On March 24-25, the School of Public and International Affairs will be holding its Ridenour Faculty Fellowship Conference & High Table Celebration, at the Virginia Tech Inn. The title of the conference is Faith in the System: Rebuilding Trust in Government in a Time a Complex Governing Challenges.

During the conference, I will moderate a panel discussion (at 2:45pm on Friday, March 24) on The Future of Work and Income in an Era of Economic Inequality.

The panelists include Dr. Virgil A. Wood (Pastor Emeritus, Pond Street Baptist Church; Former Dean, Northeastern University; Former ten-year working associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), Dr. Joyce Rothschild (Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech), and Dr. Christian Matheis (Visiting Assistant Professor, Government and International Affairs, Virginia Tech).

Dr. Virgil Wood beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Source: Getty Images)

During the panel discussion we will explore how the forces of globalization and rapid technological change, along with an overall decline in pay and wages, have resulted in the perception of a stagnant post-recession economic recovery. Emphasis on economic inequality was persistent in the 2016 presidential election along with promises to bring back jobs and industries that once supported the American Dream. The panel members will examine these major socio-economic and political shifts, and discuss what could be done to reduce economic inequality and reestablish trust in government.

The conference sessions are free, but participants are asked to register.





Congratulations Marc Fialkoff

13 03 2017

Congratulations Marc Fialkoff (PGG Doctoral Candidate) for being selected as a 2017 Eno Transportation Fellow. The Eno Center for Transportation is non-profit foundation whose core mission is the study of emerging issues in transportation policy and the cultivation of future leaders in the field.

Marc is the first student in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech to be selected as an Eno Fellow. As a Fellow, Marc will travel to Washington D.C. in early June to participate in the Eno Center Future Leaders Development Conference.

As a doctoral candidate and a lawyer, Marc’s research is at the intersection of law, transportation policy, civil engineering, and network science. His research focus on freight transportation resilience was awarded a HERE Dissertation Support Grant by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2016, where he carried out his research into the effect of the Jones Act on freight transportation movements after Hurricane Sandy. His research has been published in the Critical Infrastructure Report and the International Journal for Critical Infrastructure Protection.

Marc’s committee represents the interdisciplinary nature of transportation policy, with committee members from Urban Affairs and Planning, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Law, and Network Science. I currently co-chair Marc’s committee with Ralph Buehler, along with committee members Kathleen Hancock, Henning Mortveit, and Jonathan Gutoff.