Tabitha S Combs

Tabitha S Combs
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | UNC · Department of City and Regional Planning

Ph.D.

About

49
Publications
7,174
Reads
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523
Citations
Introduction
I study transport and land use planning, travel behavior, equity impacts of new mobility innovations, and transport planning in developing contexts. My main research goal: expand understanding of the environmental determinants of travel behavior and vehicle use, and apply that knowledge to support efforts of decision-makers to create more sustainable, healthy, socially just communities. I’m tracking local responses to changing mobility demand during COVID-1 at pedbikeinfo.org/shiftingstreets.
Additional affiliations
November 2017 - present
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Position
  • Research Associate
November 2017 - present
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • PLAN 250 Complete, Safe, Equitable Streets
February 2016 - July 2017
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Position
  • Researcher
Education
August 2006 - May 2013
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Field of study
  • City & Regional Planning
August 2004 - May 2006
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Field of study
  • City & Regional Planning
August 1995 - May 1999
Davidson College
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
Full-text available
Introduction U.S. pedestrian fatalities have risen recently, even as vehicles are equipped with increasingly sophisticated safety and crash avoidance technology. Many experts expect that advances in automated vehicle technology will reduce pedestrian fatalities substantially through eliminating crashes caused by human error. This paper investigates...
Data
The Shifting Streets Dataset tracks immediate responses to changing demands on public space during the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended as a reference for researchers, practitioners, and others interested in how cities have worked to address changes in travel demand and the need for social distancing.
Article
Full-text available
We draw from a research effort to document current TIA practices among local governments in the United States, and to identify and describe the strategies that are being used to address growing concerns over the conventional approach to TIA.We interviewed transportation engineers and planners involved in the development review process in 36 U.S. ci...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a dramatic shift in demand for spaces for safe, physically distanced walking, bicycling, and outdoor commerce. Cities around the world responded by instituting a variety of policies and programs meant to address this shift, such as carving out roadway space for non-car uses, putting pedestrian walk signals on recall, r...
Article
Bogotá, Colombia's TransMilenio BRT system has garnered praise for its beneficial effects on transit ridership, congestion, and air quality, yet there has been little research into the system's impacts on individuals and households, particularly on the city's lower wealth households. These households tend to be located in peripheral neighborhoods a...
Article
Automated Vehicles (AVs) will change the transportation landscape in still-uncertain ways. The timeline for this change depends not just on the pace of technological advancement, but also on public attitudes about AVs. These attitudes include perceptions of safety and tolerance of new vehicle ownership structures that will likely emerge when and if...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a dramatic shift in demand for spaces for safe, physically distanced walking, bicycling, and outdoor commerce. Cities around the world responded by instituting a variety of policies and programs meant to address this shift, such as carving out roadway space for non-car uses, putting pedestrian walk signals on recall, r...
Article
Full-text available
Local governments in the US face growing public demands to reduce automobile dependence in order to forestall climate change, improve road safety, rein in sprawling peripheral land development, increase transportation equity, and enhance urban livability. As a result, many city and county leaders are looking for ways to provide alternatives to driv...
Article
This study evaluates the state of traffic impact assessment (TIA) practice at the local level in North Carolina and the Washington D.C. metro area. Using semistructured interviews and surveys of staff involved in the development review process in sixty-three jurisdictions, we conclude that the conventional, automobile-oriented approach to TIA remai...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview and recap of the AVS 2018 Breakout Session #8, AVs & Vulnerable Road Users: Envisioning a Healthy, Safe, and Equitable Future, including summaries of research presentations, perspectives on equity from leading experts in the field, and lessons learned through discussion among panelists and the session audience. The...
Presentation
Full-text available
This webinar will covers ways to improve transportation equity and reduce disparities in access to pedestrian and bicycle facilities and programs. Speakers include Tab Combs, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dana Dickman, a senior planner and programs manager with exp...
Article
http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Sicp,L-HRMfc4 Rural residents, including elderly, low-income or people with language or physical mobility challenges, may experience transportation disadvantage when land use patterns, built environment and transportation services fail to meet their mobility needs. A technique for identifying transportation-disadvant...
Technical Report
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/resources/equity_paper/equity_planning.pdf
Article
http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1TDy0,oLFqCB0H Transportation disadvantage, which may be described in simple terms as a mismatch between the need for mobility and accessibility and the travel options available, often is assumed to correlate with certain socio-demographic characteristics, such as age (young and old), physical mobility, income, Englis...
Article
Child pedestrian injuries are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity across the United States and the world. Repeated practice at the cognitive-perceptual task of crossing a street may lead to safer pedestrian behavior. Virtual reality offers a unique opportunity for repeated practice without the risk of actual injury. This study conducted a pr...
Article
Full-text available
Problem, research strategy, and findings: Land use planning is key to mitigating natural hazards and the effects of climate change. Communities adopt multiple plans that directly and indirectly address hazard mitigation; the integration of local plans can significantly affect future community vulnerability to hazards. We develop a resilience scorec...
Conference Paper
Pedestrian injury is among the top causes of death in North American children ages 5-12 (NCIPC, 2014). Research documents a wide range of factors that contribute to child pedestrian injury risk, but many contributing factors remain unknown and unevaluated. This study considered two such factors: institution of safety rules by parents and children’s...
Conference Paper
Rural residents, including elderly, low-income or people with language or physical challenges, may experience transportation disadvantage when land use patterns, built environment and transportation services fail to meet their mobility needs. A practice-ready technique for identifying transportation-disadvantaged populations, intended for use by lo...
Presentation
Pedestrian injury is a leading cause of unintentional pediatric death. Hundreds of deaths related to pedestrian injuries occur every year in children under 18.1
Article
Researchers and advocates have linked state guidelines on minimum acreage for schools to the abandonment of historic schools and increased barriers to walking and biking to school. This study examined how the elimination of minimum acreage standards in four states affected school planning processes and outcomes using mixed methods. We found that st...
Article
Full-text available
Emergency management professionals devote significant expertise and resources to preparing for emergencies through planning and exercises. Despite this preparation by professionals, residents are often unprepared for emergencies and unfamiliar with recommended practices. This is a concern particularly for those who are socially vulnerable, such as...
Article
Full-text available
Emergency management professionals devote significant expertise and resources to preparing for emergencies through planning and exercises. Despite this preparation by professionals, residents are often unprepared for emergencies and unfamiliar with recommended practices. This is a concern particularly for those who are socially vulnerable, such as...
Technical Report
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report describes the development of a Spatial Index of Social Vulnerability (SISV). The SISV is intended to be a tool to enable local planners and hazard mitigation professionals to identify locations within their communities in which residents are at heightened risk of harm, and are less well prepared to recover, from a natu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: Bogotá, Colombia’s TransMilenio BRT system has been widely recognized for its positive impacts on transit use, congestion, safety, and air quality. However, recent research by Combs and Rodríguez (under review) suggests that access to the BRT is also associated with an unexpected increase in motor vehicle ownership in the city’s lower w...
Thesis
Full-text available
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has become popular as a means to provide reliable, non-automobile-based mobility and alleviate impacts of rising traffic congestion in cities around the world. To date, however, there is little empirical evidence supporting BRT’s potential to meet these objectives, and limited understanding of the urban form conditions neces...
Conference Paper
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has become popular as a means to provide reliable, non-automobile-based mobility and alleviate the impacts of rising traffic congestion in cities around the world. To date, however, there is little empirical evidence supporting BRT’s potential to meet these objectives, particularly for lower income households. Furthermore, t...
Conference Paper
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has gained popularity in recent years as a means to provide reliable, non-automobile-based mobility and alleviate rising traffic congestion in cities around the world. To date, however, there is little empirical evidence supporting BRT’s potential to meet these objectives. Furthermore, there is limited knowledge regarding th...
Conference Paper
Although proponents have emphasized new urbanism's ability to reduce automobile dependence, increasing walking, and improve the health of its residents, there is a paucity of research to support these claims. We surveyed residents of 34 neighborhoods in 12 US states to examine whether the travel behavior and physical activity of new urbanist neighb...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study is to assess the reliability and validity of the U.S. National Center for Safe Routes to School's in-class student travel tallies and written parent surveys. Over 65,000 tallies and 374,000 parent surveys have been completed, but no published studies have examined their measurement properties. Students and parents from two...
Technical Report
Full-text available
SUMMARY The prevalence of and the support for neo-traditional developments (NTDs) in the U.S. has grown over the years, and NTD proponents have long emphasized the development paradigm’s ability to alter travel behavior, reduce dependence on motorized vehicles, and foster social capital among its residents. However, little is known nationally about...

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Projects

Projects (7)
Project
Document, analyze, and understand the ways local and state governments around the world responded to changing demand for transportation infrastructure and services during the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic.
Archived project
This project examines changes in daily travel patterns among residents of off-campus university student housing. By surveying students immediately before and several months after relocation into new housing situations, we hope to improve our understanding of the impacts of residential self-selection on travel behavior.
Project
The primary objective of this project is to improve understanding and measurement of the social and economic impacts of gentrification, especially as it relates to public transit service and mobility. We are using multiple cities and regions as case studies.