PhD Candidate, Planning

Xiaomeng XuXiaomeng (Ming) graduated with a BE in Software Engineering from Yunnan University and a Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) from Iowa State University. As part of her graduate research, she worked as a planning associate for the River Bend Neighbourhood's Revitalization Plan update. Her research uses automatically-collected trip data to study travel behaviour for use in future planning studies. 

Ming's capstone project for her master's degree was "Towards Compact, Walkable, Diverse Neighborhood Environment: A Case Study in Des Moines, Iowa," which discussed the importance of characterizing the built environment in neighbourhoods and promoting housing in compact, walkable, and diverse neighbourhoods. This study generated an integrated index, which evaluated compactness, walkability and diversity of neighbourhoods. The index enabled provision of models of neighbourhood contexts and directions for future planning and neighbourhood design.

With a background in software engineering and regional planning, Ming applies her comprehensive foundation of programming, modelling and computer engineering to problems at the intersection of land use and transportation. Her experiences working with a non-profit organization in Des Moines taught her how poor transit infrastructure hinders community development projects, which has driven her research interests in analysing the impacts of the built environment and communities with active transportation.

Xiaomeng is being supervised by Jeff Casello.


Using automated data collected to analyze traveler behaviour to inform transportation planning studies

Ming is working on the Waterloo portion of the iCity Urban Informatics for Sustainable Metropolitan Growth project, which was founded by the Ontario Research Foundation. This project intends to explore traveler information and understand how innovations in travel data collection can better inform decision-making to advance sustainable transportation and communities. By using WatTrack, a smartphone application that records location and time information for users, researchers can collect the GPS data and understand the travel patterns in the Region of Waterloo. In addition, users will be required to complete an online questionnaire providing basic demographic information. The expectation is that this research will collect sufficient data to address specific questions in the region, including:

  • How will the public transit become for attracting people?
  • What are the impacts of urban settings on travel patterns?
  • How will land use changes influence travel behaviour?  
University of Waterloo
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