Daniel B. Hess

Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Dan Hess.


Daniel Hess




Central to Hess's research is addressing interactions between housing, transportation, land use, and other public concerns. He develops new pathways for understanding the complex socio-economic and ethnic landscape of cities and spatial inequalities.

In his scholarship, he explores metropolitan form and urban planning practice and policy, sometimes interactively and sometimes separately, but always as a means to improve city functions and urban life. His research contributes to discussions that seek to re-evaluate relationships between transport and land use to address various pressing societal concerns, including pollution, congestion, and metropolitan sprawl. He accomplishes this by focusing his intellectual inquiry on connections bet-ween transportation and land use planning and resulting impacts on health, environment, and social aspects of community. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, he explores inequitable access to daily necessities in cities—especially access to transportation and housing—to locales and for submarkets with lesser accessibility. Hess’s research spans urban planning history, post-socialist urban space, land use planning, urban transportation, and transport-land use interactions; he conducts spatial analysis of urban phenomenon to examine connections between urban public policy, population groups, and built environments.


B.S. (civil and environmental engineering), Clarkson University
M.U.P., University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Ph.D. (urban planning), University of California, Los Angeles


Hess’s teaching portfolio includes both required and elective courses in the undergraduate and graduate curriculua; many of his courses focus on planning practice and its relationship to the built environments of cities and regions. 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. Hess has also taught eight study abroad courses, bringing UB graduate and undergraduate students to England, Estonia, Latvia, and Russia.

Public Service

Hess consults with federal, state, and local agencies so that his research can lead to more effective planning. He 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.

Selected Publications

  • “Militarization of Tartu During the Cold War: A Large Soviet Air Base Dominates a Small Estonian Town” (with Taavi Pae). (forthcoming). Cold War Cities: Spatial Planning, Social Politics and Cultural Practices in the Era of Atomic Urbanism, 1945-65. Richard Brook, Martin Dodge, and Jonathan Hogg, eds. London: Routledge.
  • “Buffalo Abandons Parking Requirements” (forthcoming). Parking and the City. Donald Shoup, ed. Chicago: Planners Press, American Planning Association.
  • “Revisiting the Role of Architects in Planning Large-Scale Housing in the USSR: The Birth of Three Large Housing Estates in Tallinn, Estonia” (with Pille Metspalu). (2017). Planning Perspectives. Online.
  • “Transport in Mikroranyons: Accessibility and Proximity in Centrally Planned Residential Districts During the Socialist Era, 1957-1989.” (2017). Journal of Planning History. Online.
  • “Network Connections and Neighborhood Perception: Using Social Media Postings to Capture Attitudes among Twitter Users in Estonia” (with Evan Iacobucci and Annika Väiko). (2017). Journal of Architecture and Urban Planning. Vol. 13.
  • “Decrypting Fareless Public Transport in Tallinn, Estonia.” (2017). Case Studies on Transport Policy. Vol. 5. No. 4.
  • “Repealing Minimum Parking Requirements in the Green Code in Buffalo: New Directions for Land Use and Development.” (2017). Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability. Vol. 10. No. 4.
  • “Travel Mode Choice Decisions for Older Adults: The Influence of the Built Environment and Weather” (with John Travis Norton, JiYoung Park, and Debra Street). (2016). Transportation Research, Part A: Policy and Practice. Vol. 88.
  • “Branding and Selling Public Transit in North America: An Analysis of Recent Messages and Methods” (with Alex Bitterman). (2016). Research in Transportation Business and Management. Vol. 18.
  • “Effects of Public Perception on Urban Planning: Evolution of an Inclusive Planning System During Crises in Latvia” (with Māra Liepa-Zemeša). (2016). Town Planning Review. Vol. 87. No. 1.
    • [Awarded the Best Article in Town Planning Review 87(1) by Liverpool University Press.]
  • “Gay Ghettoes Growing Gray: Transformation of Gay Urban Districts Across North America Reflects Generational Change” (with Alex Bitterman). (2016). Journal of American Culture. Vol. 39. No. 1.
  • “Preferences Towards Neighbor Ethnicity and Affluence: Evidence from an Inherited Dual Ethnic Context in Post-Soviet Tartu, Estonia” (with Kadri Leetmaa and Tiit Tammaru). (2015). Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Vol. 105. No. 1
  • “Enhancing Capacity for Emergency Evacuation through Resource Matching and Coordinated Volunteerism” (with Brian W. Conley and Christina M. Farrell). (2014). International Journal of Transportation. Vol. 2. No. 3
  • “Evacuation from Disaster Zones: Lessons from Recent Disasters in Australia and Japan” (with Christina Farrell). (2015). Securing Transportation Systems. Simon Hakim and Yoram Shiftan, eds. London: John Wiley and Sons. pp.315-344. ISBN 978-1-118-97793-4
  • “Preservation by Neglect in Soviet-Era Town Planning in Tartu, Estonia” (with Mart Hiob) (2014). Journal of Planning History Vol. 13. no. 1.
  • “Improving Transportation Resource Coordination for Multi-Modal Evacuation Planning: A Literature Review and Research Agenda” (with Brian Conley and Christina Farrell) (2013). Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2376.
  • “Pathways and Artifacts: Neighborhood Design for Active Living” (with Hiroaki Hata and Ernest Sternberg) (2013). Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability Vol. 6. No. 1.
  • “Influence of Built Environment and Transportation Access on Body Mass Index of Older Adults: Survey Results from Erie County, New York” (with Jessica Kozlowski Russell) (2012). Journal of Transport Policy Vol. 20.
  • “Ethnic Difference in Housing in post-Soviet Tartu, Estonia” (with Tiit Tammaru and Kadri Leetmaa) (2012). The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning Vol. 29
  • “Walking to the Bus: An Exploration of Access to Public Transit for Older Adults.” (2012). Transportation. vol. 39. no. 2.
  • "Transformation of the Built Environment in Estonia: New Perspectives about the Here and Now" (2011). Multi: The Journal of Plurality and Diversity in Design Vol. 3. No.1.
  • “Early 20th Century Tenement Buildings in Estonia: Building Blocks for Neighborhood Longevity” (2011). Town Planning and Architecture Vol. 35. No. 2.
  • “Determinants of Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) for Waiting Passengers at Bus Stops” (with Paul David Ray, Anne E. Stinson and JiYoung Park) (2010). Atmospheric Environment Vol. 44.
  • “Access to Public Transit and its Influence on Ridership for Older Adults in Two U.S. Cities” (2009). Journal of Transport and Land Use Vol. 2. No. 1.
  • “Bus Rapid Transit Identity: An Overview of Current “Branding” Practice” (with Alex Bitterman) (2008). Journal of Public Transportation. Vol. 11. No. 2.
  • “Bus Rapid Transit Identity Meets Universal Design” (with Alex Bitterman) (2008). Disability and Society Vol. 23. No. 5.
  • “Floating Ramps” (2007). Multi: The Journal of Plurality and Diversity in Design. Vol. 1. No. 1.
  • “Multi-modal Mass Evacuation in Upstate New York: A Review of Disaster Plans from Select Areas” (with Julie C. Gotham) (2007).  Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Vol. 4 No. 3.
  • “Impact of Proximity to Light Rail Transit on Station-Area Property Values in Buffalo” (with Tangerine M. Almeida) (2007).  Urban Studies. Vol. 44. No. 5/6.
  • “Security on Buses and Trains: Guarding the Nation’s Public Transit Systems Against Terrorist Attacks” (2006).  Journal of Security Education. Vol. 1.  No. 4. 
  • “Transportation Beautiful: Did the City Beautiful Movement Improve Urban Transportation?” (2006).  Journal of Urban History.  Vol. 32.  No. 4.
  • "Transformation of Spatial Data to a New Zone System: A Survey of Metropolitan Planning Organizations" (2007) Environment and Planning B, Vol. 34.
  • "Floating Cars" (2006) Access, No. 28.
  • "Governmental Subsidies for Public Transit: History, Current Issues, and Recent Evidence"(with Peter Lombardi) (2005) Public Works Management and Policy, Vol. 10, No. 4.
  • "Access to Employment for Adults in Poverty in the Buffalo-Niagara Region" (2005). Urban Studies Vol. 42, No. 7.
  • "Light Rail Lite or Cost-Effective Improvements to Bus Service? Evaluating the Costs of Implementing Bus Rapid Transit" (with Brian D. Taylor and Allison C. Yoh). (2004). Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1927.
    • [Awarded the 2006 Best Published Paper by the Region 2 University Transportation Research Center.]
  • "Waiting for the Bus" (with Jeffrey Brown and Donald Shoup). (2004). Journal of Public Transportation. Vol. 7, No. 4.
  • "Policy Support for and Barriers to Inner-City Transit-Oriented Development: A Literature Review" (with Peter Lombardi). (2004). Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1887.
  •  “Measuring the Role of Transportation in Facilitating the Welfare-to-Work Transition: Evidence from Three California Counties” (with Evelyn Blumenberg). (2003). Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1859.
  • "Fare-Free Public Transit at Universities - An Evaluation” (with Jeffrey Brown and Donald Shoup). (2003). Journal of Planning Education and Research. Vol. 23, No. 1.
    • [Awarded the 2004 Chester Rapkin Prize by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning for the Best Paper published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research Vol. 23].
  • “Increasing Transit Ridership: Lessons from a Survey of Successful Transit Systems in the 1990s” (with Hiroyuki Iseki, Brian Taylor, and Allison Yoh). (2002). Journal of Public Transportation. Vol. 5. No. 3
  • “Traditional Neighborhoods and Automobile Ownership” (with Paul Ong). (2002). Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1805
  • “The Effect of Free Parking on Commuter Mode Choice: Evidence from Travel Diary Data” (2001). Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1753
  • “Unlimited Access” (with Jeffrey Brown and Donald Shoup). (2001). Transportation. Vol. 28, No. 3

Selected Activities, Honors, and Awards

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship; 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