Associate Professor of Planning, Policy & Design

Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
212E Social Ecology 1



transportation, air pollution, urban inequality, environmental equity, spatial analysis

Summary of Research Interests:

My research investigates how urban development patterns intersect with neighborhood livability and environmental quality.  These themes are evident in four overarching and interrelated areas of my empirical work: (A) impacts of transit-oriented development, (B) human activity patterns and environmental hazards, (C) urban inequality and access to opportunity, and (D) geographic analytical methods. My scholarship contributes to several literatures – transportation and environmental planning, environmental health science, public health, and geography – and expands each by helping explain how places and policies influence people, behavior, and community health.  My work has received support from the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Transportation, the California Endowment, the University of California Transportation Center, and the University of California Multi-Campus Research Program.


Publications from the Expo Line Evaluation Project

Hong, A., Boarnet, M. G., Houston, D. (2016). New light rail transit and active travel: A longitudinal study. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. Accepted July 2016.

Spears, S., Boarnet, M. G., Houston, D. (2016). Driving reduction after the introduction of light rail transit: Evidence from an experimental-control group evaluation of the Los Angeles Expo Line. Urban Studies. Accepted June 2016.

Boarnet, M.G., Wang, X., Houston, D. (2016). Can new light rail reduce personal vehicle carbon emissions? A before-after, experimental-control evaluation in Los Angeles. Journal of Regional Science. Accepted January 2016.

Houston, D. (2014). Implications of the modifiable areal unit problem for assessing built environment correlates of moderate and vigorous physical activityApplied Geography. 50: 40-47. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.02.008

Spears, S., Houston, D., Boarnet, M. (2013). Illuminating the unseen in transit use: A framework for examining the effect of attitudes and perceptions on travel behavior. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 58: 40–53. doi: 10.1016/j.tra.2013.10.011

Publications from the FloodRISE Project

Cheung, W., Houston, D., Schubert, J. E., Basolo, V., Feldman, D., Matthew, R., Sanders, B. F., Karlin, B., Goodrich, K. A., Contreras, S. L., Luke, A. (2016). Integrating resident digital sketch maps with expert knowledge to assess spatial knowledge of flood risk: A case study of participatory mapping in Newport Beach, California. Applied Geography. 74: 56-64.

Feldman, D., Contreras, S., Karlin, B., Basolo, V., Matthew, R., Sanders, B., Houston, D., Cheung, W., Goodrich, K., Reyes, A., Serrano, K., Schubert, J., Luke, A. (2016). Communicating flood risk: Looking back and forward at traditional and social media outlets. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 15: 43–51. 

Publications in Geographic Analytical Methods

Hu, M., Li, W., Li, L., Houston, D., Wu, J. (2016). Refining Time-Activity Classification of Human Subjects Using the Global Positioning System. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0148875. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148875

Houston, D., Luong, T., Boarnet, M. G. (2014) Tracking daily travel: Assessing discrepancies between GPS-derived and self-reported travel patterns. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 48, 97-108. doi: 10.1016/j.trc.2014.08.013

Wu, J, Jiang, C., Houston, D, Baker, D., Delfino, R. (2011). Automated time activity classification based on global positioning systems (GPS) Tracking Data. Environmental Health. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-10-101

Wu, J., Jiang, C., Liu, Z., Houston, D., Jaimes, G., McConnell, R. (2010). Performance of Different Global Positioning System Devices for Time-Location Tracking in Air Pollution Epidemiological Studies. Environmental Health Insight, 4: 93–108. doi: 10.4137/EHI.S6246

Ong, P., Graham, M., Houston, D. (2006). The Policy and Programmatic Importance of Spatial Alignment of Data Sources. American Journal of Public Health, 96(3): 499-504. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.071373

Publications in Environmental Justice and Air Pollution Exposure

Houston, D., Li, W., Wu, J. (2014). Disparities in Exposure to Automobile and Truck Traffic and Vehicle Emissions Near the Los Angeles–Long Beach Port Complex. American Journal of Public Health. 104(1):156-164. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301120

Houston, D., Wu, J., Jaimes, G., Yang, D. (2013). Particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations in transportation microenvironments. Atmospheric Environment, 71: 148-157. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.02.002

Pan, H., Bartolome, C., Gutierrez, E., Princevac, M., Edwards, R. D., Boarnet, M. G., Houston, D. (2013). Investigation of roadside particulate matter concentration surrounding major arterials in five Southern Californian cities. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 63(4):, 482-498. doi: 10.1080/10962247.2013.763867

Houston, D., Jaimes G., Ong P., Winer A. (2011). Traffic exposure near the Los Angeles–Long Beach port complex: using GPS-enhanced tracking to assess the implications of unreported travel and locations. Journal of Transport Geography, 19: 1399–1409. doi: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2011.07.018 

Boarnet, M. G., Houston, D., Edwards, R. D., Princevac, M., Ferguson, G., Pan, H., Bartolome, C. (2011). Fine Particulate Concentrations on Sidewalks in Five Southern California Cities. Atmospheric Environment, 45: 4025-4033. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.04.047

Wu, J., Houston, D., Lurmann, F., Ong, P., Winer, A. (2009). Exposure of PM2.5 and EC from Diesel and Gasoline Vehicles in Communities near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Atmospheric Environment, 43: 1962–1971. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.01.009

Houston, D., Krudysz, M., Winer, A. (2008). Diesel Truck Traffic in Port-Adjacent Low-Income and Minority Communities; Environmental Justice Implications of Near-Roadway Land Use Conflicts. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2076: 38-46. doi: 10.3141/2067-05

Houston, D., Ong, P., Wu, J., Winer, A. (2006). Proximity of Licensed Child Care Facilities to Near-Roadway Vehicle Pollution. American Journal of Public Health, 96(9): 1611-1617. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.077727

Houston, D., Wu, J., Ong, P., Winer, A. (2004). Structural Disparities of Urban Traffic in Southern California: Implications for Vehicle-Related Air Pollution Exposure in Minority and High-Poverty Neighborhoods. Journal of Urban Affairs, 25(5): 565-592. doi: 10.1111/j.0735-2166.2004.00215.x

Other Publications

Houston, D., Boarnet, M., Ferguson, G., Spears, S. (2015). Can compact rail transit corridors transform the automobile city? Planning for more sustainable travel in Los Angeles. Urban Studies. 52: 938-959. doi: 10.1177/0042098014529344

Houston, D., Basolo, M. V., Yang, D. (2013). Walkability, Transit Access, and Traffic Exposure for Low-Income Residents; Built Environment Implications of Affordable Housing Programs. American Journal of Public Health, 103(4): 673-678. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300734

Houston, D., Ong, P. (2013). Arts accessibility to major museums and cultural/ethnic institutions; can school tours overcome neighborhood disparities? Environment and Planning A, 45: 728-748. doi: 10.1068/a45206

Houston, D., P. Ong. (2012). Determinants of Voter Participation in Neighborhood Council Elections. The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 41(4): 686-703. doi: 10.1177/0899764011425705

Boarnet, M.G., Houston, D., Ferguson, G., Spears, S. (2011). Land Use and Vehicle Miles of Travel in the Climate Change Debate: Getting Smarter Than Your Average Bear. Chapter 7 in: Urban Form, Transportation and Emissions. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, pp. 151-187.

Miller, D., Houston, D. (2003). Distressed Asian American Neighborhoods. AAPI Nexus; Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Policy, Practice and Community, 1(1): 67-84.

Lejano, R. P., Piazza, B., Houston, D. (2002). Rationality as social justice and the spatial distributional analysis of risk. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 20: 871-888. doi: 10.1068/c0033j

Ong, P., Houston, D. (2002). Transit, Employment, and Women on Welfare. Urban Geography, 23(4): 344-364. doi: 10.2747/0272-3638.23.4.344

Last updated: Monday, July 18, 2016 - 3:53pm