Daniel Chatman, Professor

Closed (1) Equity of Urban Transport Geography in Informal Transportation: Evidence from Lilongwe, Malawi

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Transportation in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi – currently the world’s 3rd poorest country – is provided entirely by informal modes that have no central planning or subsidy. How different groups of travelers – men and women, formal and informal workers, middle class and low-income – use these systems, and how well they serve their needs and destinations remain open questions. In collaboration with the World Bank and Concern-Worldwide, a 600-person, door to door survey was carried out in summer 2021.

This project will include
1) analysis of the household survey of Llilongwe residents’ mobility, to map out the demographics and geography of access to jobs, services and social functions, with an emphasis on understanding equity and gender patterns,
2) analysis of GPS tracking data from a preliminary pilot of a Random-Controlled Trial, which allowed subsidized taxi travel to low-income urban residents, in collaboration with the eMissions project, hosted at NREL,
3) developing the research and technological solutions for expansion of the pilot into a full study.


This is an opportunity for students to work with real-world data, learn and expand their skillset in GIS, data analysis and visualization, and learn about urban transportation policy, planning, economics, and technology in low-resource setting.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Tamara Kerzhner, Graduate Student

Qualifications: • experience with geospatial data analysis and mapping, preferably in R or Python, • experience in Javascript app development (or both). • Interest and coursework in urban studies, transportation, development and/or African studies welcome.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated