The underlying theme throughout all of my work is to make progress towards more sustainable forms of development.
My research interests fall into five broad categories:
- Sustainable Development: I research the many dimensions of sustainable development and how national, multinational, and international political and legal mechanisms can be used to further sustainable development. This research provides a foundation for my work in transportation systems and water and sanitation, which in turn provide valuable (real world) insights into how the theoretical ideas developed in this research area can be enhanced. This research area is captured by my co-authored textbook with Prof. Nicholas Ashford (MIT), entitled Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State. [Note: The website supporting the 2011 version of this textbook can be accessed here.] To support the teaching of this textbook, we have developed a website that will provide access to teaching material and additional commentary on the extensive range of subjects covered in this work.
- Sustainable Transportation: I research decision-support frameworks that transportation agencies and practitioners can use to transition their transportation systems towards sustainability. Specific emphasis is given to how indicators and performance measures can make sustainability operational for decision makers, planners, operators, and other stakeholders within and beyond the field of transportation. This research area is captured by my co-authored book with Henrik Gudmundsson, Greg Marsden, and Joe Zietsman, entitled Sustainable Transportation: Indicators, Frameworks, and Performance Management. In relation to this research, I serve on the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB’s) standing committee on Transportation and Sustainability (ADD40).
- Water Supply and Sanitation in Developing Regions: I research ways to enhance the financial and technical sustainability of rural water supply and sanitation services in developing countries. This is applied, empirical research that informs policy, especially with regards to multiple-use water services (MUS), SDG 6, and the human right to water. In 2014, my research team completed a multi-year impact evaluation for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which evaluated an MCC-funded rural water supply program in Mozambique. As part of a Virginia Tech-based initiative to enhance water and sanitation-related decision-making, I have been advancing the idea of developing a data analytics and visualization center for a new library at Mzuzu University, Malawi.
- Smart Cities: I research the concept of smart cities in a developing nation context. This research is related to a broader interest in sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems.
- Inclusive Economics: I research economic theories and approaches that could transform the economy and make it more inclusive and sustainable. This research led to the formation of the Beloved Community Initiative, which is one of the School of Public and International Affairs’ (SPIA’s) special programs.