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Strategic Plan

About the Center

The Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency is a collaborative effort between the Louisiana State University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the University of New Orleans' Department of Planning and Urban Studies.

The theme of the LSU-UNO Center is focused on Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency in an effort to address the multitude of issues that impact transportation processes under emergency conditions such as evacuation and other types of major events. This area of research also addresses the need to develop and maintain the ability of transportation systems to economically, efficiently, and safely respond to the changing demands that may be placed upon them.



Brian Wolshon, Ph.D., P.E., P.T.O.E.
E-mail: brian@rsip.lsu.edu
Ph: 225 578-5247

Dr. Brian Wolshon is the Edward A. and Karen Wax Schmitt Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Louisiana State University. His research covers several areas in highway transportation, most notably the operational analysis and management of traffic during mass evacuations. He is the founding chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Subcommittee (now Task Force) on Emergency Evacuation and the founding Director of the Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency at LSU. As an internationally recognized expert in the field evacuation transportation, he has appeared on television channels such as CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, the Discovery Channel, and the Fox News Channel and has been quoted in publications such as TIME Magazine, Newsweek, US News and World Report, USA Today, and the New York Times. Dr. Wolshon has also works a consultant to numerous engineering firms, federal and state governments, and national laboratories including the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for the development of the state’s contraflow evacuation plan, the Florida Department of Transportation for the modeling and analysis of evacuations in the Florida Keys, and the Sandia National Laboratories for the modeling and guidance development for evacuations associated with nuclear power plant emergencies.

Associate Director of Research

Mohammad Shapouri. M.S.
E-mail: mshapo1@lsu.edu

Mr. Shapouri is the Associate Director of Research for the LSU Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency. He received his Master degree in Civil Engineering in 2016. Mr. Shapouri is currenlty a Ph.D. candidate at LSU with focus in transportation, traffic simulation, and emergency evacuations. He leads the Center’s diverse research team of Master’s, Doctoral and undergraduate students.



Associate Director

John L. Renne, Ph.D., AICP
E-mail: jrenne@uno.edu
Ph. 504 280-6592

Dr. John L. Renne is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Transportation Studies at the University of New Orleans.  He serves as the Director of Transportation Studies and the Associate Director of the University of New Orleans Transportation Center.  He is also the Managing Director of The TOD Group (www.theTODgroup.com), a company that specializes in Transit-Oriented Development. 

Dr. Renne is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).  His research focuses on transportation and land use planning, including smart growth, sustainable development, and evacuation planning.  Dr. Renne is leading a national study on carless and accessible evacuations for the Federal Transit Administration. Dr. Renne has written extensively and has lectured around the globe on these issues.  Dr. Renne is an author and co-editor of Transit-Oriented Development: Making It Happen (forthcoming 2009, Ashgate) which is the first international book on the topic and includes chapters by top scholars in the field including Professor Robert Cervero (Berkeley) and Professor Peter Newman (Australia).  Dr. Renne has led two projects on transit-oriented development for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.

Associate Director

Bethany Stich, Ph.D.
E-mail: bstich@uno.edu
Ph. 504 280-6520

Dr. Bethany Stich is an Associate Professor of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans. Stich received her PhD from Virginia Tech's Center for Public Administration and Policy. She teaches Transportation, Globalization, Economic Development and Public Policy courses. Stich has conducted research and published extensively on topics surrounding transportation such as the importance of retaining and revitalizing rail; inland waterway infrastructure; airports as economic drivers; globalization and international trade; freight based economic development; intermodal development and planning; community development; industry recruitment and retention; sprawl; and citizen involvement.

Senior Fellow

James R. Amdal, Ph.D.  
E-mail: jamdal@uno.edu
Ph.: 504 280-6873

Mr. Amdal continues to lend his experience and expertise in transportation infrastructure development, urban planning, historic preservation and community design to the reconstruction efforts ongoing in the City of New Orleans. He has served as a professional advisor to the District 5 Recovery Steering Committee for the greater Lakeview community post-Katrina. Currently, Mr. Amdal is contributing to UNO’s efforts regarding the formulation and implementation of the Unified New Orleans Plan with a special emphasis on community services and facilities. He also maintains long-standing professional relationships with key decision makers in New Orleans (City Council, City Planning Commission) as well as the LA Department of Transportation and Development and the Regional Planning Commission. In late 2005 and early 2006 he participated in various Bring New Orleans Back Commission committees and subcommittees: infrastructure; land use; historic preservation. Mr. Amdal currently serves as Chairman of the New Orleans Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commission.


Carol Short
E-mail: cshort2@uno.edu
Ph.: 504 280-7101

Carol Short is the co-author and administrator of the pending Bachelor of Science in Transportation Studies Program and the incoming Associate Director of the University of New Orleans Transportation Institute (UNOTI). Under her purview is the development and implementation of program criteria; curriculum development; sponsored research; coordination of related conferences, seminars, and continuing education programs; public relations, and community outreach. She has extensive personal and professional experience with the maritime industry and serves as the Institute’s liaison to the maritime community. Ms. Short, an advocate for education, workforce development and community outreach, has worked throughout Louisiana on federally funded work-based learning programs for middle and high school students. She is currently working to develop similar programs to introduce, educate and create linkages for students to the transportation industry. She has served on the organizing committees of several national conferences and seminars on transportation and women’s leadership issues. She is a founding host of the National Evacuation Conference and the Chair of the New Orleans Leadership Council of the Louisiana Center for Women & Government.

Advisory Board

Vinayak Dixit, PhD
     Senior Lecturer
     Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation (rCITI)
     School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
     University of New South Wales
     UNSW Sydney NSW 2052 Australia
     CE 106 Civil Engineering Building (H20)
     Ph.: +61 (2) 9385 5381
     E-mail: v.dixit@unsw.edu.au

Huey Dugas
     Executive Director
     Capital Region Planning Commission
     333 North 19th Street
     Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3355
     Ph.: (225) 383-5203
     E-mail: hdugas@brgov.com

Alison Catarella-Michel, P.E., P.T.O.E.
     Principal/Transportation Engineer
     Urban Systems Associates, Inc.
     400 N. Peters Street, Suite 206
     New Orleans, LA 70130
     Ph.: (504) 523-5511
     E-mail: acmichel@urbansystems.com

Brant Mitchell
     Deputy Director for Management, Finance and Interoperability
     Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
     7667 Independence Blvd
     Baton Rouge, LA 70820
     Ph.: (225) 925-7332
     E-mail: brant.mitchell@la.gov

Charles E. Allen III, MSPH
     Assistant Director
     CBR External Relations
     Center for Bioenvironmental Research
     Tulane University
     1430 Tulane Avenue, SL-3
     New Orleans, LA 70112-2699
     E-mail: Callen3@tulane.edu

William S. App, Jr.
     J.W. Allen & Co. Inc.
     200 Crofton Rd. Box 34
     Kenner, LA 70062
     E-mail: billya@wallen.com

Walter Brooks
     Executive Director
     Regional Planning Commission
     New Orleans, LA 70112
     E-mail: wbrooks@norpc.org

Michael Stack
     Managing Engineer
     District 3
     Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
     E-mail: Michael.Stack@la.gov

Captain Douglas J. Grubbs
     Crescent River Pilots’ Association
     Belle Chase, LA
     E-mail: Cres78@aol.com

Gabe Rousseau
     Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager
     Federal Highway Administration
     1200 New Jersey Ave SE
     Washington DC 20590-0001
     Ph.: (202) 366-8044
     E-mail: gabe.rousseau@dot.gov