Joan Walker

From the engineers building the systems to the planners planning for them, people have different visions of the future of autonomous vehicles. Looking through the lens of human behavior, the talk will discuss the potential of these different futures to be realized. Research questions related to travel behavior will be discussed, current findings will be summarized, and suggestions for planning for the future will be made.

Joan Walker is a Professor of Civil Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley where she currently serves as Co-Director of the Center for Global Metropolitan Studies. Her research focus is behavioral modeling, with an expertise in discrete choice analysis and travel behavior. She works to improve the models that are used for transportation planning, policy, and operations. She received her Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley and her Master's and PhD degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, she was Director of Demand Modeling at Caliper Corporation and an Assistant Professor of Geography and Environment at Boston University. She is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) – the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. She is an Associate Editor of Transportation Science and the current Chair of the Committee on Transportation Demand Forecasting (ADB40) for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. She has worked with colleagues to launch the Zephyr Foundation for Advancing Travel Analysis Methods (

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