The College of LAS improves lives and understanding through its work in Chicago

From deep-dish pizza to towering skyscrapers, Chicago is a city like no other. Nearly 3 million people call it home, making it a hub of economic development, culture, and groundbreaking research. And for decades, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has played a meaningful role there.

Examining how we move freight

How will moving away from diesel-powered trucking impact urban communities? That’s the question at the heart of a study to explore the implications of new technology and electrified freight vehicles.

julie cidell

Using surveys, citizen scientists, and a network of sensors, the EPA-funded study will develop various adoption scenarios and project their potential impact on the community. Research will focus on Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood and include members of the Little Village Environmental Organization.

“Projects like these are vital to understanding how initiatives like this impact particular communities and how those effects can be mitigated,” said Julie Cidell, professor and head of the Department of Geography & Geographic Information Science. “We need science to do that, and we need community expertise to bring that down to the ground and improve conditions for those whose air is polluted and whose neighborhood streets are full of trucks.”