Central to Dr. Hess’ research agenda is interpreting how the built environment of cities (and the public policies that support this form) influences travel behavior.
He uses an array of research methods to interpret how policies affect travel choices and how methodologically we can best analyze urban spatial dynamics. Access to employment for welfare recipients and low-wage workers is one of Dr. Hess’ concerns, and he has conducted evaluations of policy and practice in California and New York. Dr. Hess is particularly interested in transit system performance and alternative transit funding arrangements, and he has conducted evaluations of employer and university transit pass programs.
B.S. (civil and environmental engineering), Clarkson
M.U.P., University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Ph.D. (urban planning), University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Hess’ teaching portfolio includes both required and elective courses in the undergraduate and graduate curriculums; many of his courses focus on planning practice and its relationship to the built environments of cities and regions. Dr. Hess teaches Evolution of Urban Structure, a core course that examines the history of cities and the history of planning, and Transportation, Land Use, and Urban Form, a course examining the complex relationship between the built form of our cities and their transportation systems. In the undergraduate curriculum, he teaches Visions of the City, which exposes students to various viewpoints on urban and environmental topics.
Dr. Hess consults with federal, state, and local agencies so that his research can lead to more effective planning. Dr. Hess recently was part of a team that explored design concepts and programs for adding transit-oriented development along Buffalo’s Metro Rail corridor. He currently has a grant from the Mineta Transportation Institute to investigate the barriers that keep older adults from riding traditional fixed-route transit. He also won a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to investigate how public involvement can be used to expand alternative transportation financing schemes.
Fulbright Scholar Award, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia; National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Scholar at Columbia University; UB Presidential Commission on Academic Excellence and Equity; Board of Advisors, Center for Transportation Excellence; Founding Board of Advisors, All Aboard Erie; Chester Rapkin Prize; UB Exceptional Scholar Award; Dwight D. Eisenhower Fellow, Federal Highway Administration