GVU Brown Bag Seminar: Kari Edison Watkins

Primary tabs

Kari Edison Watkins
Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Enabling Transit Solutions through Traveler Information


Public transit provides mobility, including access to jobs, education and medical services, to those who cannot or prefer not to drive. Transit reduces congestion, gasoline consumption, the nation’s carbon footprint, and is critical to ensure our nation’s economic competitiveness. While hybrid and electric vehicle technologies can reduce the carbon-footprint of single-occupancy vehicles, they cannot compete with transit in reduction of traffic and promotion of compact, sustainable communities. Therefore, because of its societal benefits, it is imperative to improve potential riders’ satisfaction with public transportation.
A key element to attracting these potential riders is their ability to initially understand and plan trips within the transit system as well as rely on the transit service itself to get them to their destination in a timely fashion. The supply of websites, mobile apps and dynamic displays for transit traveler information has proliferated in the past few years with a number of new and emerging uses for transit information. The primary enablers of this trend are two-fold: the provision of real-time information by transit agencies and the provision of open data formatted according to the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS). This presentation will first discuss the impacts of real-time information on riders. We will then move on to how transit agencies have used standardized open data to tap into a growing field of developers who create innovative applications at no cost to the agency.

Dr. Kari Edison Watkins, P.E., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She returned to her undergraduate alma mater to become a faculty member in 2011 after completing her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. Her teaching and research interests revolve around multi-modal transportation planning and the use of technology in transportation, especially as related to transit planning and operations and improved traveler information. At UW, Dr. Watkins’ research focused on transit travel time reliability and the effects of transit traveler information. She co-created the OneBusAway program (http://onebusaway.org/) to provide real-time next bus countdown information and other transit information tools for transit riders in greater Seattle-Tacoma.  Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Watkins worked for a decade as a senior transportation engineer at Wilbur Smith Associates in New Haven, Connecticut. Her work at WSA ranged from bus rapid transit and commuter rail studies to regional transportation visions.


  • Workflow Status:
  • Created By:
    Christopher Ernst
  • Created:
  • Modified By:
    Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:


    No keywords were submitted.

Target Audience

    No target audience selected.