The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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UMass INFORMS Speaker Series - "COVID-19 Impacts on Public Transportation"


Friday, March 4, 2022 - 1:00pm


Dr. Destenie Nock, PhD, Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University




The COVID-19 pandemic has spread globally; however, the risk of contracting COVID-19 on public transportation and its role in local spread remains unclear. Essential workers who are transit-dependent tend to be from low-income and minority populations and are faced with the risk of contracting COVID-19 each time they take a bus. In this talk, Dr. Nock presents a study that investigates bus ridership from April to September of 2020 and the risk of contracting COVID-19 on the bus by combining a transportation data analysis and an epidemiological model of COVID-19 risk. A cost-benefit analysis reveals that dispatching autonomous vehicles or deploying longer buses rather than allowing crowding have the lowest societal costs.

Dr. Destenie Nock is a leader in energy justice and sustainable energy transition trade-off analysis. In her role as an Assistant Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE), and Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) she creates optimization and decision analysis tools which evaluate the sustainability, equity, and reliability of electricity and transportation systems in the US and Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Nock holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and an Offshore Wind Energy IGERT Fellow. She earned a MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Queen's University of Belfast, and two BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Applied Math at North Carolina A&T State University. She is the creator of the Black Electricity Blog site which posts articles about graduate and undergraduate advice, and research updates in energy and sustainability.