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Meet Professor Jennifer Dill
Meet Professor Jennifer Dill

Professor of Urban Studies and Planning
Director, Transportation Research & Education Consortium (TREC)
Director, National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC)

Exploring how people make travel and location decisions.

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, City and Regional Planning, 2001.
M.A. University of California, Los Angeles, Urban Planning, 1989.
B.S. University of California, Davis, Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, 1987.


  • Professor of Urban Studies and Planning
  • Director, Transportation Research & Education Consortium (TREC)
  • Director, National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC)
RESEARCH AREAS: Decision-making processes that can inform policy and planning, travel behavior, bicycling, transit-oriented developments, and active living policies.

  • USP 456/556 Urban Transportation: Problems and Policies
  • USP 697 Urban Studies Research Seminar

Travel Behavior and Older Vehicles: Air Quality Impacts of Voluntary Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Programs. September 2001. Committee: Professors Martin Wachs (Chair), Robert Cervero, Robert Harley.


 Phone: (503) 725-5173
Office: Urban Center 370 P
Professor Dill's Website

Professor Jennifer Dill researches and teaches about transportation decision-making processes and how those can inform policy and planning. Her recent projects focus on travel behavior, bicycling, transit-oriented developments, and active living policies. Dr. Dill values the community partnerships that she has forged through her research projects and believes that the Toulan School adds value to projects by providing objective third-party analysis while evaluating innovative local planning initiatives.

Since January 2012, Dr. Dill has been involved in an evaluation of the peer-to-peer carsharing service Getaround in Portland. This project will assess the initiative’s impact on participants’ vehicle miles traveled, peak hour travel, car ownership, and driving habits. In addition, Dr. Dill leads the Family Activity Study to learn how parents and children get to where they want to go in and around Portland neighborhoods. Since its start in 2010, the project has aimed to learn more about how families use active forms of transportation like walking and biking. Families that participate in the study complete surveys and use activity monitors to record how active they are in their daily routines. With Prof. Chris Monsere in Civil Engineering, Dr. Dill has been evaluating innovative bike facilities in cities across the U.S., including bike boxes and cycletracks. 

In her teaching, Dr. Dill teaches students to ground themselves in a solid basis in theory and analytical methods, while integrating real world projects and practical skills. For example, graduate students in Planning Methods I & II worked with a community partner to assess the issue of overflow parking near higher density housing, including infill apartments and condos. Students conducted surveys and analyzed neighborhood demographics to evaluate the problem, then presented the findings to the community partner. Combined with classroom learning, these types of practical experiences promote effective quantitative and qualitative analysis,  and communication skills that enable students to convey technical information to a broad spectrum of audiences.

Beyond teaching and research, Dr. Dill serves as a member of several planning organizations. Dr. Dill values the partnerships between Portland State, the community, and public agencies and hopes to expand them further in the future.

Prior to working at Portland State University, Dr. Dill held several positions working on air quality and transportation issues in California for governments and nonprofits, including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Local Government Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

What Professor Dill has to say...

BEST PART OF JOB: At a broad level, I enjoy the community partnerships and doing research that is directly useful to practitioners and planners. At a more narrow level, I enjoy working one-on-one with students to help them be more analytical in their own research and writing.

VISION FOR THE TOULAN SCHOOL: We are very grounded in our work in Portland, but my vision is that we increase our national stature and international stature without losing the connection that we have to this community.

WHAT STUDENTS SHOULD TAKE AWAY FROM MY CLASSES: How to ask the right question, and also how asking a question can influence the answer you receive. I teach students to be precise with language, especially when writing about numbers.

FAVORITE CITIES: Always loved San Francisco. Melbourne, Australia. Vancouver, British Columbia. Copenhagen, Denmark.

ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: Learn how to manage your time and try to get as much out of the program as you can. This is a pretty rare opportunity to immerse yourself in a learning process.  

FAVORITE NON-URBAN PLACE: Hiking in Yosemite National Park, particularly Tuolumne Meadows area and up beyond the Valley floor.    

INFLUENTIAL BOOKS: As a kid, it was Richard Scarry’s Busytown, because the visuals showed all of the activities going on in the city simultaneously.

HOPE TO MEET SOMEDAY: Michelle Obama, because of for her interest in healthy kids, authenticity, and sense of style.