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Back to Blog April 10, 2017

Evan Wise (CDEV '18) Recieves $4,000 Research Grant

Author: Tracy Purdy
Evan Wise

Evan Wise (CDEV 18’) has been awarded a $4,000 research grant through the Diamond Research Scholars Program for the summer of 2017 to research accessibility and affordability of Uber and Lyft in low-income areas in Philadelphia. Evan is a former Diamond Peer Teacher for Urban Dynamics (Fall ’16), and knew he wanted to apply for the research award for this year, so began looking for a topic.

In November of last year, he attended a lecture by Jarrett Walker, author of "Human Transit", who spoke about various ways to design transportation as well as how to reach the most people. During the Q&A portion of the lecture, numerous people in the audience asked how mass transit organizations could respond to the ever-increasing user base for ridesharing apps, particularly Uber and Lyft. Evan shared, “It seemed like these transportation professionals were really trying to think of ways to sustain revenue as these companies were taking their riders. Walker discussed the two types of riders - choice riders and captive riders. He said that choice riders were the ones we needed to convince to stay with mass transit, while the captive riders were going to use mass transit no matter how bad it is."

This is when I started thinking - if all these people in this room are concerned about revenue being diverted away from mass transit because of these ride-sharing apps, how will this affect low-income communities (captive riders)? Will they start cutting lines and reducing service? It got me thinking if this happens and Uber and Lyft take over the market, are low-income areas currently being serviced?” This lead him to propose researching the accessibility and affordability of Uber and Lyft in low-income areas in Philly. He will be gathering data on higher income areas and comparing the results, as well as overlaying that data with current transportation stops to see if these areas are currently being serviced.

Evan is a junior Community Development major and a dual Political Science/General Business minor with a GIS certificate. He serves as the secretary of the SEPTA Youth Advisory Council in addition to representing Temple on the council. “I've always been very interested in transportation. I started collecting transit maps at a young age and today I have quite an expansive collection of maps.”

Evan graduated from a small high school in rural Hershey, PA, with a graduating class of just 17, and came to Temple looking for a large urban school and a place full of diverse people. About Community Development as a major, Evan humorously recalls, “To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what it was but I knew I wanted to help people. After my Intro to Community Development with Professor Jeff Doshna, I was sure this was what I wanted to do. Well, I wanted to be a city planner and I'm not sure if that stemmed from class or playing Sims as a kid”.

On a more serious note, Evan adds, “Temple eventually proved itself a haven for diverse individuals. This is my first year 'out' as male-identified, and Temple has been a very open and accepting place for me. I've found that Professors have been very understanding of my circumstances as well as the discrepancies in my documented names. My peers have been overwhelmingly supportive of my transition and Philly has so many great resources for the Trans community. I've never felt more comfortable to be me.”

To learn more about the Diamond Research Scholars Program: http://www.temple.edu/vpus/opportunities/ResearchScholars.htm