ACCESS Magazine – Transportation Research for Policymakers and Practioners

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Guest Post by Donald Shoup, Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA, ACCESS Magazine Editor

Academic research in transportation requires years of work before the author actually publishes the results in a professional journal. Developing a theory, collecting data, and conducting rigorous statistical tests are usually necessary before an article is accepted for publication. Then what happens? If the author is lucky, fellow academics and students will read the article and then maybe discuss it. Most of the time, the transportation planners and elected officials who could use the results to improve our transportation system, may never see the article or even hear about the research.

Paring down a journal article for publication in ACCESS can catapult academic research into the public policy debate and convert knowledge into action.

ACCESS strives to translate research into action and disseminate information to the right people. The goal of ACCESS is to make transportation research conducted at the University of California useful for policymakers and practitioners. After the research has been published in an academic journal, the author can prepare a shorter and more readable version for ACCESS. The articles for ACCESS have the luxury of stressing readability because they have already been through the rigor of the journal process. Through ACCESS, policymakers are able to more easily understand the benefits of bike lanes, feasibility of sidewalks and transit oriented developments (TODs), and safety benefits of providing more lighting in a community. Anyone who wants greater depth or more detail can refer to the original article. ACCESS presents scientific research in plain, intelligent, and even lively prose. Paring down a journal article for publication in ACCESS can catapult academic research into the public policy debate and convert knowledge into action.

This academic research encompasses all aspects of transportation, including law, economics, history, environmental impacts, and health and safety. In many cases, the ACCESS version of an academic journal is put on reading lists for university courses more frequently than the original article—probably because of ACCESS versions’ brevity and readability. Publishing in ACCESS can thus expose scholarly research to transportation students and professionals who may eventually put the ideas into practice.

We owe thanks to the California Department of Transportation and the United States Department of Transportation for providing the funds necessary to publish ACCESS. Their support enables our authors to take the vital last step in transportation research: making the results useful to public decision makers. The magazine is published twice a year. Subscribe to ACCESS through their website: http://www.uctc.net/access/

—Donald Shoup

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