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Darling and Collaborators Pick Up TRB’s Millar Award for Research Benefitting Low-Income Transit Riders

Wesley Darling sits at a table with paper and books in front of him.

Graduate Wes Darling (CEE/BS ’20) led a research publication entitled “Comparison of Reduced-Fare Programs for Low-Income Transit Riders,” which recently won The William Millar Award from the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

This research, which was published in the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, aims to synthesize the current state of reduced-fare programs for low-income transit riders.

“I am honored that the executive committee of TRB selected the paper I wrote with Dr. Brakewood for the William B. Millar Award,” said Darling. “I’ve learned so much through the writing and review process, and I am truly grateful to Dr. Brakewood for her encouragement and support, and for inviting me to do undergraduate research with her in the first place. I’m really proud of the research we’ve shared in this paper, and I hope it helps add to the growing conversation on how different individuals use public transportation and how we can best support those who rely on it most.”

Two UT students, recent graduate Emily Carpenter (CEE/MS ‘19) and current master’s student Tami Johnson-Praino, also contributed. This research was done in collaboration with Assistant Professor of Urban Planning Carole Voulgaris at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

“I’m very proud of the three UT students who worked on this journal paper,” said Brakewood. “Emily and Tami began the initial research as a term paper in my graduate class on Public Transit Planning and Operations (CEE 554), and then Wes significantly expanded their initial research and produced top-notch results as part of his undergraduate research project. It’s wonderful to see these students receive a top honor from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.”

The William Millar Award was instituted in 2012 to honor the service of Millar who served the TRB and the transportation industry in various executive roles since 1987. The award will be officially presented at the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC, in January 2022.