The University of Florida’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning is one of the nation's strongest graduate planning programs. Our faculty members are internationally recognized in planning education, research, and professional practice. They have been active in various public and community service activities, including working with the Governor and Legislature in designing Florida's landmark comprehensive Growth Management Act and participating in the State’s Governor’s Affordable Housing Study Commission.
The University of Florida’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning is one of the national’s strongest graduate planning programs. Our faculty members are internationally recognized in planning education, research and professional practice. The department is known for its creative use of planning information systems and technologies, as well as education in sustainability and growth management, planning information and analysis, transportation and land use planning, urban design, housing and community development, historic preservation, crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) and international planning. In addition to a variety of specializations and certificates offered at the graduate and undergraduate level in our department, we offer three certificates through the University: Latin American studies, historic preservation and sustainability. We also offer joint/concurrent degrees with Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering-Transportation, Law and Real Estate.
Our department offers exceptional learning and research experiences for our students. Many of our students participate in faculty research as research assistants. Our goal is to educate the future leaders in the planning profession, as well as future planning scholars.
The Planning Research group, under the direction of Zhong-Ren Peng, PhD., a professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, is involved in research exploring the relationship between Land Use and Transportation, Planning and Climate Change, Public Transportation Planning, and Planning Information Systems and Technology. The group is an internationally diverse group of students pursuing both Master’s and PhD degrees in Urban and Regional Planning.
Our current research involves developing models to better understand how Land Use and Transportation interact each other, ultimately creating an effective model for predicting land use changes for future transportation planning. Research efforts are being put forth to develop models for integrated Land Use and Transportation planning, based on GIS, 3-D virtualization technology and statistical models such as cellular automata and multi-agent models. Using this, we can better analyze the complex interactions, improving our knowledge and understanding of the interactions of land use, urban forms and transportation system. The GIS and 3-D virtualization technology models can then be used in Internet GIS and other spatial-temporal geo-data services.
Climate change is another focus of the research group. Starting with an exploration of vulnerability, the group is working to understand what it means to be vulnerable to climate change, particularly as it relates to transportation networks. Work is being done to focus on understanding the probability of climate change, including flooding, increased precipitation and sea level rise, and evaluate how that will affect transportation networks and their services. We are in the process of creating vulnerability indices, cost-benefit assessment models and effective adaptation strategies that can aid policy-makers, as well as designing for the future.
Public Transportation Planning
Our main focus in this area is in respect to transit planning and operation management. We are particularly concerned with transit passenger behavior studies, as well as improving transit services and increasing transit ridership. The adoption of advanced public transportation technology, such as automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems, Automatic Passenger Counter (APC), Smart Card, and advanced public information systems, has provided us with unprecedented opportunities to study passenger behavior and transit system performance, to assess the effectiveness of transit service design and operation management. For example, we have analyzed the bus service reliability issues (e.g., bus bunching and large service gaps) in Tri-Met at Portland Oregon and Chicago Transit Authority by analyzing the AVL and APC data, and have made suggestions for service improvements accordingly.
Planning Information Systems and Technology
Our focus in Planning Information Systems and Technology is in the development of systems and technology for planning analysis, to better enable and facilitate planning for next-generation planners. In particular, we emphasize planning support systems and visualizations by the use of statistical models, spatial-temporal analysis, and geographic information systems. For example, we have developed a web-based transit trip planning system to assist transit users to plan optimal trip itineraries, and we are also in the process of developing an integrated land use and transportation planning model for assist planners to conduct what-if analysis to estimate the impacts of land use, transportation, and other policy changes.
These are the focus research areas of our research group. Except for the recent addition of planning and climate change, we have been working on this research for over 15 years. The work that Planning Tech is doing is varied and comprehensive. The integration of students from a variety of backgrounds enables us to work together to research and study many aspects of planning. Together, we are working on many exciting projects that touch upon land use, climate change, mass transit, information systems and technology. The overlap between our research, as well as the opportunity to learn from each other, makes our research very exciting, as well as cutting-edge. This is an opportunity for both scholarly work and practical experience.