Valerie Watson MURP 2005, Supervising Transportation Planner, City of Los Angeles Department of transportation

What is your current position, place of work, and daily duties?

I am a Supervising Transportation Planner at the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). I work to design and implement projects for people walking and bicycling, develop active transportation plans and policies, establish effective partnerships within the City and with advocacy and community organizations, perform research design and analysis to inform project development and prioritization, advance feasible and effective design solutions for improving mobility safety and connectivity, and secure funding opportunities to enhance safety for people who walk, bike and take transit.

What did you gain from your time in the MURP program and how did it help get you where you are now?

At UCI's MURP program I enjoyed a strong offering of courses based in the fields of design and behavior research and environment-behavior studies, grounded in UCI's heritage of social ecology. It gave me a framework from which to approach working on projects within the public realm as a practitioner. The research methods courses were also a great foundation for using data-driven approaches in the work I pursue in active transportation.

Why did you choose the MURP program at UCI?

I appreciated the faculty at the time and their research.

What were some of your favorite classes and why?

The urban design class and the public participation class, both taught by guest lecturers who were experts in their fields and currently working in the public and private sectors, were fascinating and I continue to draw on knowledge from that coursework. It was great to apply the more theoretical knowledge to a practical context.

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