Evaluating Mobility Factors under Extreme Heat: Advancing Well-being for Individuals with Access and Functional Needs DUIRI - Discovery Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Internship Summer 2024 Accepted Health and sustainability Extreme heat poses a pervasive threat to various facets of life. This proposed study aims to assess how extreme heat influences people’s mobility and to investigate factors that drive variations in their response. Previous research predominantly focuses on the health impacts of extreme heat while devoting scant attention to its effect on mobility patterns. However, the ability to move freely and safely holds substantial implications for individuals, shaping their access to resources, infrastructure, services, economic opportunities, and social and political integration. These interconnected factors are pivotal in influencing and determining people’s overall well-being. Going beyond current practice, our research will distinguish between extreme heat impacts on essential (e.g., grocery stores and gasoline stations) and non-essential (e.g., theaters and shopping malls) trips to facilitate a nuanced understanding of the diverse nature of mobility needs. Drawing on the literature on mobility and heat adaptation, we will also investigate how transportation accessibility and green infrastructure moderate the heat-induced impacts on mobility. Another distinctive aspect of our research is its dedicated focus on individuals with access and functional needs, presenting a major departure from conventional approaches that primarily consider vulnerability through the prisms of wealth and race. Qingchun Li Qingchun Li The study will conduct a case study of one city greatly affected by heat waves. Accessibility and green infrastructure will be measured by the transportation infrastructure and tree canopy rates. Mobility under extreme heat will be measured by high-resolution origin-destination mobility data. The results of this study will contribute valuable insights to urban planning and public policy by enhancing our understanding of extreme heat impacts on mobility. The evidence generated will inform the efficacy of urban design and infrastructure in mitigating extreme heat impacts, ultimately promoting the health and well-being of the general public, particularly those with access and functional needs.

The potential undergraduate students will be co-supervised by Dr. Qingchun Li from the School of Construction Management Technology at Purdue University and Dr. Fengxiu Zhang from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Dr. Qingchun Li's research interests include urban science for urban resilience and sustainability. Dr. Fengxiu Zhang's research interests include climate actions, disaster resilience and technology in government, with a special focus on social vulnerability and social justice.

We also very welcome suggestions from ISF or DUIRI for any potential collaborators.
Min 3.5 GPA and familiarity with Python or R data analysis 3 20 (estimated)

This project is not currently accepting applications.