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ERE Seminar: Tierra Bills (Wayne State) | "Inclusive Survey Data for Travel Demand Modeling"

Monday, Mar 15, 2021 11:30 AM
Virtual Meeting via Zoom (see login details in Description)
More Info:
ERE Seminar: Tierra Bills (Wayne State) | "Inclusive Survey Data for Travel Dem…
Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Energy Resources Engineering

Tierra Bills | Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Wayne State University

"Inclusive Survey Data for Travel Demand Modeling"

Travel demand models support critical transportation investment decisions at the regional and local scales. These large scale models comprise a series of discrete choice models, typically estimated on household travel surveys.  Given the prevalence of survey biases associated with transport disadvantaged travelers, there is a risk that travel demand models may mischaracterize the travel behaviors and needs of transport disadvantaged communities. This presentation will focus on recent efforts to quantify the incidence of underrepresentativeness of transport disadvantaged communities among household travel survey records. Based on a sample of household travel survey datasets from across the United States, we calculate a series of survey quality metrics to understand factors contributing to the performance such surveys for disadvantaged communities. This presentation also highlights lessons learned from a Benton Harbor, MI data collection case study, which seeks to address underrepresentativeness of household travel surveys. The study results show the importance of optimizing survey sampling strategies to improve the quality of household travel surveys and target more responses from transport disadvantaged communities.


  • Esekhaigbe, Eronmonsele and Tierra Bills. (2021). How well to Household Travel Surveys Represent Transport Disadvantaged Communities? In preparation for Transportation Research Part A.

Dr. Tierra Bills is an Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Wayne State university. She has recently joined Wayne State (in Summer 2019) after spending 3 years as a Michigan Society Fellow and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. Prior to her fellowship at UMich, Dr. Bills worked as a Research Scientist at IBM Research Africa for 3 year, in Nairobi Kenya.            

Much of Dr. Bills’ current research focuses on investigating the social impacts of transportation projects. She develops activity-based travel-demand models to investigate individual and household-level transportation-equity effects, for the purpose of designing transportation systems that will provide more equitable returns to society. Her latest project aims to understand the potential for next generation transit systems to affect transportation equity outcomes. Her general areas of interest include Transportation equity analysis, emerging data sources for travel demand modeling, and transit design and reliability.

Dr. Bills holds a B.S in Civil Engineering Technology from Florida A&M University (‘08), and M.S (’09) and PhD (’13) degrees in Transportation Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

*If you are a Stanford Affiliate outside of Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) department and would like to attend, please contact Emily Gwynn ( for the Zoom Meeting link and password.

**If you are in Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) department, you will receive an announcement from Emily Gwynn ( with the Zoom Meeting link and password.

2019 Webby Award Nominee

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