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2021-2022 - September 11th Memorial Scholar Program 


Agency: New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT)
Supervisors: Susan McSherry, Director, Alternative Fuels Program; Justin Romeo, PE, Director, Special Projects 
Project Name: Cleaner Truck Refrigeration Units in NYC Communities

Project Description: 

Air pollution remains a leading environmental threat to the health of New Yorkers. Levels of air pollution continue to cause serious health problems, contributing to hospital admissions and deaths from both heart and lung problems. It is estimated that harmful particulate matter (PM2.5) contributes to more than 2,000 deaths and over 6,000 emergency visits and hospitalization for cardiovascular and respiratory disease each year. Alternative fuel trucks reduce harmful emissions in our communities and promote a healthier and safer New York City.

The NYC Clean Trucks Program is a rebate incentive funding program to reduce diesel exhaust emissions by replacing older, heavy polluting diesel trucks with new battery electric, or USEPA emission-compliant alternative fuel (compressed natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, and plug-in hybrid electric) and diesel trucks. Truck Refrigeration Units (TRUs) are refrigerated trailers used for the transport of perishable materials and temporary storage that can have particularly negative impacts on local air quality when stationed for longer periods of time and running on older engines that emit more pollution. The NYC Clean Trucks Program is an opportunity to help shift these units to running on cleaner fuels and less polluting engines. 

This project will use data to measure and visualize how air quality may be affected in NYC communities when TRUs adopt cleaner energy sources and fuels. The scholar will inventory TRUs stationed throughout the city through a city-wide survey of stationary/ non-mobile TRU sites and operators. The scholar will conduct a literature search regarding the types, modes of operation and other environmental factors associated with TRUs, to best identify how the status and age of this equipment relates to potential negative impacts on surrounding air quality (AQ). The scholar will conduct analysis to determine opportunities and potential AQ benefits of upgrades/ replacement of the units for the neighborhoods where they are located, paying special attention to Environmental Justice (EJ) communities. The scholar will use this research to create searchable databases, maps, and accessible visualizations to communicate their findings for a general audience to inform public policy.


  1. In consultation with municipal oversight agencies, define operating characteristics of the TRUs in NYC, their registration and regulation parameters and any existing peer reviewed or community-reported literature regarding operational impacts, safety, and environmental relationships.
  2. In consultation with NYC DOT and project partners, conduct data analytics research on where TRUs are concentrated in NYC and specifically as relates to Industrial Business Zones. Create a database and geographic analysis on how many of these units are operational in the city, general age and engine characteristics of these units, and where these units are spatially distributed. 
  3. Use basic and advanced mapping overlays to understand patterns in TRU location, air quality, and local socio-demographic factors at various scales.
  4. In consultation with project partners, create graphic visualizations and strategies to accessibly communicate research and data findings. Consider how information could be used for future engagement with NYC communities, industry, elected officials, and other relevant stakeholders.

Requested Skills:

  • Graduate degree scholars in any field welcome. Preference for Environmental Studies, Urban Planning, Engineering, Computer Science, or any of the Social Sciences, including Geography. 
  • Strong statistical skills in collecting, tabulating, and analyzing quantitative data and data visualization using graphs, charts, or data visualization and GIS mapping tools. 
  • The ideal candidate for this project will be comfortable conducting independent research, including designing a research program that includes site visits, survey tools, and database creation. 
  • Proficiency needed in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. 
  • Experience with GIS, Python, and Power BI is preferred. 

Expected Educational and Professional Development:

This project looks at the environmental impacts of freight transportation from an air quality perspective, particularly with respect to harmful environmental impacts in and near EJ communities.  The scholar will be given wide latitude to guide this research effort, developing data collection instruments and strategies, conducting data analysis and presenting results to EJ community stakeholders, senior management within NYC DOT and potentially NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, which is the agency responsible for legislative changes relative to mobile sources.  As such, the scholar will be exposed to a variety of policy bodies at both the state and local level, as well as gain experience in outreach to the affected local communities.

Final Products:

Intermediate and final reports summarizing research results, recommendations, and effectiveness of outreach to affected local communities.


Agency:  New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC)
Supervisor: Larisa Morozovskaya, Manager, Socioeconomic and Demographic Forecast Unit
Project Name: Analysis of Socioeconomic and Demographics methodologies and forecasting solutions 

Project Description: 

Reasonable and defensible forecasts are a critical part of NYMTC’s regional transportation planning process. NYMTC has developed an Excel based socioeconomic and demographic (SED) forecasting system to forecast county-level employment and population through 2050.  NYMTC has also developed an Excel based Zonal Allocation Process (ZAP) to allocate those forecasts to the Transportation Analysis Zone (TAZ) level for transportation modelling purposes.   

NYMTC seeks to evaluate new methods to update NYMTC’s socioeconomic and demographic forecasts and recommend enhancement or alternatives to the existing 2050 Socioeconomic and Demographic (SED) forecasting model(s) for the 31-county New York Metropolitan Region that would enable NYMTC’s staff to independently develop future SED forecasts and zonal allocations.


The scholar will undertake research on SED forecasting and methodologies to guide recommendations for both a county-level SED forecasting solution and a ZAP solution. A solution is a methodology and process that NYMTC’s staff will be able to maintain, update, revise, and use to develop future forecasts and zonal allocations with horizon years beyond 2060. 

The scholar will research SED forecasting methodologies and tools, including a literature search, inventory of software tools, and best practice review of up to ten large MPOs across the country. The scholar will review and outline a variety of reasonable forecasting methodology options. The scholar will first review NYMTC’s past methodologies/forecasting models, then research the broadest range of viable forecasting methodologies, including variations of NYMTC’s past methodologies or entirely new SED forecasting methods if they are practicable and meet NYMTC’s needs.

Based on this research, the scholar will compare and analyze the most viable forecasting methodology options and make recommendations for the development of NYMTC’s SED forecasting solution, including system requirements.

Issues the research will consider are:

  • How the methodology will generate forecasts and forecast updates that consider the influence of the current economic environment on future conditions, and structural changes in the economy that may be underway, and ensure that regional land use trends and the plans and policies of NYMTC’s members are reflected in the population, employment, households, and labor force forecasts.
  • How other methodologies will ensure the stability of results from one forecast update to the next forecast update.
  • How future forecasts will be linked to NYMTC’s New York Best Practice Model (NYBPM) and other regional models. 
  • How the forecasts will consider land use development restrictions and planned land use development patterns.
  • How input from the region’s elected officials and planners and other MPOs will be incorporated into the forecasts throughout the development process. 
  • How the recommended methodology addresses NYMTC’s current and past forecasting methods.

Recommendations for the solution shall consider software that is easily accessible on a windows computer, provides traceability, presents well written documentation and code, and provides tools enabling output to be exported into multiple systems including Excel, Access, and ArcGIS, as appropriate. 

Requested Skills: 

Knowledge of socioeconomic and demographic methods and transportation planning 

Familiarity with database development and forecasting methodologies 

Familiarity with statistical methods and procedures

 Familiarity with forecasting models 

Experience with GIS 

Strong oral, written and graphic communication and presentation skills 

Expected Educational and Professional Development:

This is an excellent opportunity for a scholar to develop extensive knowledge in the field of transportation planning from a socioeconomic and demographic perspective. The scholar will also be able to develop leadership skills, guiding this project from beginning to end. The candidate will be able to implement technical skills such as quantitative research, mapping, and data analysis.

Final Products:

Report summarizing research results and recommendations, including needs requirements, to develop both a county-level SED forecasting solution and a ZAP solution


Agency: New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT)
Supervisors: Keri Isaac, Director of Street Furniture Unit and Bernice Yella, Director of Newsstands and Bikes in Buildings
Project Name: Framework Plan for the Next Generation Coordinated Street Furniture Franchise (CSFF)
Project Description:

NYC DOT’s current CSFF provides Bus Shelters, Newsstands, Automatic Public Toilets, and Sheltered Bike Parking. It is set to expire in approximately five years. NYC DOT believes that the next generation CSFF presents a critical opportunity to plan for a franchise that responds to the City’s current needs, as well as to our visions for the future of pedestrian space and the transportation network. This project will set the framework for how NYC DOT approaches all aspects of the CSFF development: technology, revenue generation, the types and design of furniture provided, and how a new system builds on or incorporate the current generation of furniture, including all non-CSFF elements and possibly other franchises. The 9/11 Scholar will kick start NYC DOT’s work by researching relevant topics, soliciting input from NYC DOT and other City agencies or stakeholders, written reports, and guidance documents. This work will take the form of a framework plan to incorporate new, available, and appropriate measures and practices to move forward on the next generation Coordinated Street Furniture Program when the current one concludes in April 2026.


The scholar will be tasked with spearheading all research, outreach, and written communication for the framework plan, which will likely include:

  1. A summary overview of the current CSFF and franchisee, with lessons learned. 
  2. A literature review of recent street furniture franchises in other cities, the U.S. and internationally, to understand revenue generation methods, technologies employed, and types of furniture and any services that may also be included. 
  3. A literature review of revenue generation opportunities, in addition to the advertising-based model of the current CSFF, what is the full spectrum of possible revenue sources that this type of franchise might provide.
  4. A review and evaluation of possible relevant technologies to include within the franchise such as smart street furniture that can charge devices, deliver free Wi-Fi and incorporate real-time transportation information to bus stops while compiling data on pedestrian and traffic counts to the City to better plan for public space usage.
  5. An overview of all potential furniture elements, and any design updates required for existing furniture types.
  6. An overview of services or other non-furniture amenities to consider for inclusion.
  7. Guidance for the transition from current franchise to the next generation.
  8. An overview of phases and processes for NYC DOT to follow in advance of issuing the franchise solicitation.
  9. An overview of the various franchise solicitation methods to consider including preparation of a Request for Information in advance of the future Request for Proposals.
  10. Guidance for developing a community input process. 

Requested Skills:

  • Strong written and verbal communication

  • Research and outreach

  • Expertise with Office products (Word, Excel)

  • Experience with project managing software helpful

Expected Educational and Professional Development:

The scholar will be given the opportunity to research a variety of subjects around public space, transportation, design, technology, and finance. They will have the opportunity to meet, interview, and solicit input from multiple experts at NYC DOT and other City agencies. The scholar will develop the policy and planning framework for a major New York City franchise, one that will have a critical impact on the future of the City’s streetscape and transportation network.

Final Products:

The scholar will produce the guiding framework document that NYC DOT will follow to implement the next generation Coordinated Street Furniture Franchise.


Agency: New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT)
Supervisor: Jackson McNeil, Strategic Planning Unit
Project Name: Racial Equity Toolkit
Project Description:

The Equity & Inclusion in Planning Working Group within NYC DOT has identified numerous strategies to further expand on the agency’s commitment to transportation equity. One of the key strategies to advance equity is the creation of a Racial Equity Toolkit. This resource will be an easy to use guide that will walk users step-by-step through using multiple tools and resources that help ensure equity is centered throughout the process of project planning and development. NYC DOT is seeking a 9/11 Scholar who can lead the creation of the Racial Equity Toolkit. 


Working with the Mobility Management team, the scholar will be tasked with:

  • Conducting best practice research in the creation and application of Racial Equity Toolkits;

  • Researching and compiling a list of potential tools/resources, ensuring usefulness and feasibility;

  • Outlining a document that includes an overview of the process and recommended tools/resources;

  • Compiling tools/resources and process into a draft document with step-by-step instructions for when, how, and why to use each of the tools/resources;

  • Gathering feedback from users throughout the agency and refining toolkit;

  • Creating the final product, ensuring the document is accessible for all users and easy to access on NYC DOT’s internal website.

Requested Skills: 

Strong research, writing, and communication skills are required. Experience creating accessible and visually appealing documents (for example using InDesign, Illustrator, etc.) is essential. Experience with racial equity work is highly desired. 

Expected Educational and Professional Development: 

This project will provide the scholar with an opportunity to meet with and learn from multiple units within NYC DOT. It’s a great way to understand the breadth of what the agency does, looking at programs and services through the equity lens. The scholar will have an opportunity to develop leadership skills, guiding this project from beginning to end. The scholar will also gain valuable experience and skills that will build a framework for centering racial equity in all future endeavors. 

Final Products: 

This project will culminate in the creation and sharing of the Planning and Project Development Equity Guide.


Agency: New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) 
Supervisor: Jackson McNeil, Strategic Planning Unit
Project Name: Racial Equity Performance Measures
Project Description:

The Equity & Inclusion in Planning Working Group within NYC DOT has identified numerous strategies to further expand on the agency’s commitment to transportation equity. To measure and accelerate progress towards achieving transportation equity through new and existing strategies, NYC DOT is interested in developing and utilizing outcomes-based performance measures to track progress over time. Using disaggregated data on race/ethnicity, these performance measures are intended to provide accountability and ensure that NYC DOT’s strategies are having their intended impact on racial equity. NYC DOT is seeking a 9/11 Scholar who can lead the research process for developing Racial Equity Performance Measures. This may include developing measures for sustainable mode shifts, perception of NYC DOT’s delivery of programs and services, and quality of life improvements as a result of NYC DOT investments.


Working with the Strategic Planning Unit, the scholar will be tasked with:

  • Conducting best practice research in the development and use of transportation performance measures to track and advance racial equity;

  • Engaging in peer exchanges with other government agencies and organizations involved in similar efforts;

  • Identifying existing data sources and tools that can be utilized for performance measures;

  • Producing feasibility analyses of data collection processes;

  • Gathering feedback from relevant internal stakeholders;

  • Creating a technical report that summarizes research and provides recommendations for further development and utilization of performance measures.

Requested Skills: 

  • Conducting qualitative and quantitative research.

  • Experience obtaining and managing data, as well as advanced skills in analytical tools. 

  • Strong oral, written and presentation skills.

  • Experience with racial equity work is highly desired. 

Expected Educational and Professional Development: 

This project will provide the scholar with an opportunity to conduct quantitative research and gain experience working with large data sets. The scholar will also meet with and learn from multiple units within NYC DOT. It is a great way to understand the breadth of what the agency does, looking at programs and services through the lens of equity and performance measures. The scholar will have an opportunity to develop leadership skills and valuable knowledge that will help build a framework for centering racial equity in all future endeavors. 

Final Products: 

This project will culminate in a technical report that clearly summarizes research efforts and subsequent recommendations for Racial Equity Performance Measures.


Agency: New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT)
Supervisor: Aaron Sugiura, Director of Transit Policy
Project Name: Evaluating the effectiveness of Bus Priority Treatments
Project Description:

NYC DOT’s Transit Development unit implements a variety of street and signal improvements intended to improve bus speed and reliability, including bus lanes and transit signal priority through the City’s Better Buses program. At a high level, these strategies have been shown to bring tangible improvements to bus service. However, there is much to be learned with regard to the granular relationship between these improvements and bus service management. The goal of this project is to utilize big data sets, including MTA Bus Time and Transit Signal Priority logs, as well as in-person observations, to investigate the extent to which street improvements are being harnessed within day-to-day bus operations. The resulting analysis will help to better synchronize the efforts of bus priority planners and MTA bus operations. It is expected that this research would also inform other efforts throughout the NYMTC region to provide transit priority.


The scholar will work with the supervisor to develop a research program for the task. This will include the development of a data collection and analysis approach, and survey instruments for the scholar and potentially other staff to use during in-person observations. Once findings are gathered, the scholar will distill large data sets into actionable insights.

Requested Skills:

  • Strong written and verbal communication

  • Expertise with Office products (Word, Excel)

  • Database proficiency (SQL, GIS) and data visualization desired

Expected Educational and Professional Development:

The scholar will be given wide latitude to guide a research effort, developing data collection instruments and strategies, conducting data analysis, and presenting results to senior stakeholders within NYC DOT and potentially MTA.

Final Products:

The scholar will prepare a technical report on the methodology behind the analysis, summarizing the results, and offering recommendations for future improvements. All data analysis will be fully annotated and packaged for future use or updating. 


Agency: New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT)
Supervisor: Neil Gagliardi, Director of Urban Design
Project Name: Infrastructure is Public Space: Building Healthy, Resilient and Sustainable Corridors for Pandemic Response and Recovery
Project Description: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the chronic vulnerability of some of the city’s most under-resourced neighborhoods. While the city is beginning to emerge from the darkness of the past year, the hardest-hit neighborhoods are disproportionally challenged to recover and are bracing for what could be permanent changes to the public right of way and built environment. In response, the project is centered on developing the agency’s public right-of-way asset management inventory, mapping and planning framework, particularly regarding space beneath and adjacent to elevated transportation infrastructure citywide. In particular, the project is aimed at formulating a “Healthy Corridors Index” to identify and prioritize corridors regarding safety and mobility in context of socioeconomic and environmental health factors. Further, the project will focus on mapping opportunities for prospective innovations such as electrical vehicle charging and broadband deployment. In assessing geospatial, infrastructural, mobility and public health data, the project endeavors to create a responsive tool to manage land uses and assets and ultimately transform our streets into healthy, resilient and sustainable public spaces and urban environments.


Working with the Urban Design unit within the Office of Cityscape & Franchises, the scholar would develop the asset management planning framework, including the formulation of policy and implementation recommendations. In addition, the scholar would assist in formulating the Healthy Corridor Index, assessing safety and mobility in context of environmental health. The scholar will also play an integral staff role in managing pilot projects in collaboration with city agencies and community partners. Specific tasks and responsibilities would include conducting traffic and transit assessments, land use surveys and site inventories; carrying out planning, environmental design, socioeconomic, demographic and public health research; managing data and creating maps; executing plans and preparing presentations; and meeting with city agency and stakeholders.

Required Skills:

  •  Knowledge of transportation planning, engineering, environmental design, data analysis, and modeling. 
  • Experience with GIS, database management, and AutoCAD.\
  • Strong oral, written and graphic communication and presentation skills, including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Expected Educational and Professional Development:

The project will afford the scholar an opportunity to innovate in transportation planning by advancing quantitative and qualitative research in mobility, street design, public health and policymaking and assigning “real world” applications for transforming the built environment. While developing and contributing specialized technical planning and analytical skills, the scholar will acquire leadership abilities working on a team pursuing dynamic, innovative projects and initiatives that will have a lasting impact on the city.

Final Products:

The project will culminate in a published report for eventual inclusion in the Street Design Manual, online publishing and social media postings, and a series of capstone presentations describing and illustrating the Healthy Corridor Index, geospatial analyses, recommendations, and street design pilots.