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Meet Professor Jenny Liu
Meet Professor Jenny Liu

Meet Professor Jenny H. Liu

Associate Professor, Urban Studies and Planning
Assistant Director, Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC)

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Agricultural and Resource Economics
M.S. University of California, Berkeley, Agricultural and Resource Economics
B.A. University of California, Berkeley, Economics


  • Associate Professor, Urban Studies and Planning
  • Assistant Director, Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC)
  • Faculty Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS)
  • Faculty Associate, Institute of Economics and the Environment (IEE)
  • Executive Committee Member, National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC)

Transportation economics, economic development, public finance, public policy, market-based environmental policies (carbon tax, cap-and-trade, low carbon fuel standards), equity

  • USP579 - State and Local Public Finance
  • USP537 - Economics of Urban Transportation
  • USP615 - Economic Analysis of Urban Transportation
  • USP313U - Urban Environmental Issues
  • USP578 - Impact Assessment


  • A theoretical and simulation-based examination of household vehicle choice through an adoption perspective. August 2010. 
  • Committee: David Zilberman (Chair), Maximilian Auffhammer and Lee Friedman 
Office: Urban Center, room 370 F
Phone: (503) 725-4049

Professor Jenny Liu is an environmental and transportation economist with a focus on public policy, urban issues and social equity. Her research takes on a multidisciplinary approach with a deep foundation in microeconomic theory, econometric methods and environmental sustainability. Her primary research focus is on (i) linkages between transportation, economic development and sustainability; (ii) economic issues and impacts of public policy; and (iii) human capital investments.

Dr. Liu has conducted research on an Oregon state-level carbon tax, the Oregon electric vehicle industry, household residential location decisions and its effects on travel behavior, economic development impacts of transit oriented developments across the country, economic impacts of deconstruction versus demolitions and property value effects of the Oregon property tax system. In addition, Dr. Liu has worked on developing social media performance measures for public transit, and constructing a transportation cost index that can measure multimodal transportation performance on a regional scale. 

Following up on her research on understanding the economic impacts of bike/pedestrian infrastructure such as the Portland Green Loop, she is currently working on research that examines the business impacts of street improvements for bicycle and pedestrian mobility across numerous cities using a variety of data sources and analytical approaches, and research to understand how to characterize urban greenway networks in the context of economic development. Dr. Liu is also working on understanding the environmental and economic impacts of an Oregon low carbon transportation fuel standard, and examining equity and environmental justice issues of a state-level greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program in Oregon. 

Dr. Liu has served on the City of Portland’s Socially Responsible Investments Committee, and is a current member of the Steering Committee for blue carbon assessment of the Pacific Northwest funded by NOAA's NERRS (National Estuarine Research Reserve System) Science Collaborative. She is also an active member on the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committees on Transportation Economics (ABE20) and Transportation and Economic Development (ADD10). 

What Professor Liu has to say...

BEST PART OF JOB: I love being able to work on research and teaching that makes a difference, truly engaging the community, policy makers, advocates and stakeholders, and “letting knowledge serve the city”. 

ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: Talk to your professors, early and often.   

FAVORITE URBAN PLACES: Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C. (my home town!); Istanbul, Turkey; Paris, France; San Francisco, CA; Bogota, Colombia; Barcelona, Spain; Mexico City, Mexico; Santiago de Chile, Chile; Arequipa, Peru; basically anywhere with good food, good coffee and good drinks. 

FAVORITE NON-URBAN PLACES: Too many! Nature’s awe-inspiring landscapes truly give me perspective, especially when I get to hike or backpack through it. Annapurna Base Camp (Nepal); W Trek (Patagonia, Chile); Summit of Mt Hood; Mt Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Katmai National Park (Alaska); the Wave (Arizona),  etc. 

WHEN NOT TEACHING, I… am hiking, backpacking or mountain biking in the summer. Or I might be racing at the Portland International Raceway or enjoying the sunshine at an urban microbrewery in Portland. In the winter, you might find me snowboarding, splitboarding or “conducting research” on good food in Portland.