José Holguín-Veras work is based on the economic principles of transport. He develops models to make transportation more efficient, not just economically, but also for citizens’ life quality.
One of the main challenges for a city is providing goods to its residents without generating negative externalities. Within the cities; private transportation is used for delivering groceries, mail, supplies and other objects, essential both to the ordinary person life as well as for the economy. In this context, José Holguín-Veras, one of the world's leading experts in sustainability and transportation, was in MSC to give a lecture about this challenge.
“Basically, the main objective of this course is to provide students with an idea about urban supplies: all the supplies we need for modern living, supplies we eat, supplies we use for construct highways…. I will try to provide students with techniques to improve the environment, while minimizing the negative effects of modern living”, he said.
Dr. José Holguín-Veras is the William H. Hart Professor and Director of the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment, and the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations’ Center of Excellence on Sustainable Urban Freight Systems at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His work has received numerous awards, including the 2013 White House Champion of Change Award for his contributions to freight transportation and disaster response research. His research always tries to ensure that theory relates to reality and, ultimately, to a set of actionable policy recommendations that contribute to the improvement of the economy and society.
His work is based on the economic principles of transport. He develops models to make transportation more efficient, not just economically, but also for citizens’ life quality. He studies, as well, the impacts of transportation activity on our behaviours. “The challenge of my work is the complexity, and my main goal is to develop a global network of agents of change to resolve this issue. More innovation and technical disruptions are not going to solve the problem. We need other solutions. We need to reconstruct the global awareness and change our ways of life. We need to learn to consume less and live a slower life. It is demonstrated that every innovation that enables making things cheaper or easier, brings more consumption, not less”, he says.
He said that city councils usually do not have urban freight data or proper related datasets. Thereby, this lack of information leads to decisions based on conceptions, instead than on facts. In his works, he has encountered several times that “perception is not reality” in the urban transportation sector, and perception-driven solutions have increased freight issues at city level.
Holguín reaffirms the necessity of qualified professionals on Smart Cities to solve this problem. “We need people with a holistic view of the urban context. It is not just about present new inventions. It is about models. We have to ask ourselves, what kind of city do we want? For example, we have seen that moving loads for restaurants and shops by night, leaves free space for bikes, pedestrians and public transportation... That's what we mean when we talk about new models”, affirms Holguín.