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Alex Karner

Alex Karner

Assistant Professor, School of City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology

College of Architecture, School of City and Regional Planning
Georgia Institute of Technology
245 Fourth St NW
Atlanta, GA 30332


  • Affiliate Global Futures Scholar, Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Assistant Professor, School of City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology


Dr. Karner’s research advances environmental sustainability and social equity using theory and methods drawn from civil engineering, environmental justice studies, and transportation law, policy and planning. His work connects theoretical innovations from these fields to the practice of traffic engineering and transportation planning. He has found that existing institutions and planning practices have tended to forestall progress towards sustainability. To realize sustainable outcomes, institutional arrangements must be rethought and planning practitioners must adopt innovative methods.

Alex’s current research involves developing novel social equity analysis tools using advanced simulation models and investigating the potential to mitigate transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions in a rural context. Much of this work leverages emerging data on travel behavior to improve public participation and transportation decision-making.

Reflecting its interdisciplinary nature, Alex’s work has been supported by both social science and engineering granting agencies including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the University of California Transportation Center.

Prior to joining the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Alex was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Regional Change and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis. He received his PhD in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Davis, where he was named the Sustainable Transportation Center Outstanding Student of the Year for 2011-2012. His BASc in civil engineering is from the University of Toronto. His work has appeared in such publications as Environmental Science & Technology, the Journal of Transport Geography, the Transportation Research Record, and the Journal of Transport History. More information is available at his website (


  • PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis, 2012
  • MS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis
  • BASc, Civil Engineering, University of Toronto


Journal Articles


Cloutier, S., A. Karner, H. L. Breetz, P. Toufani, N. C. Onat, S. Patel, S. N. Paralkar, E. Berejnoi, B. Morrison, J. T. Papenfuss, A. D. Briggs and C. Carlson. 2017. Measures of a sustainable commute as a predictor of happiness. Sustainability 9(7):1214. DOI: 10.3390/su9071214. (link )


Karner, A., D. M. Hondula and J. K. Vanos. 2015. Heat exposure during non-motorized travel: Implications for transportation policy under climate change. Journal of Transport & Health 2(4):451-459. DOI: 10.1016/j.jth.2015.10.001. (link )


Karner, A. and J. London. 2014. Rural communities and transportation equity in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Transportation Research Record 2452:90-97. DOI: 10.3141/2452-11. (link )


Karner, A. 2013. Multimodal dreamin': California transportation planning, 1967-77. The Journal of Transport History 34(1):39-57.

Karner, A. and D. Niemeier. 2013. Civil rights guidance and equity analysis methods for regional transportation plans: a critical review of literature and practice. Journal of Transport Geography 33:126-134.

Karner, A. and D. Niemeier. 2013. Civil Rights Guidance and Equity Analysis Methods for Regional Transportation Plans: A Critical Review of Literature and Practice. Journal of Transport Geography 33:126-134.

London, J., A. Karner, J. Sze, D. Rowan, G. Gambirazzio and D. Niemeier. 2013. Racing Climate Change: Collaboration and Conflict in California's Global Climate Change Policy Arena. Global Environmental Change 23(4):791-799.


Karner, A., D. Niemeier and A. Urrutia. 2012. US Public Transit Fantasies: Performance and Economic Stimulus. International Journal of Transport Economics 34(1):39-55.


Karner, A., D. Eisinger and D. Niemeier. 2010. Near-roadway air quality: Synthesizing the findings from real-world data. Environmental Science & Technology 44(14):5334-5344.

Rowan, D., A. Karner and D. Niemeier. 2010. MPG Illusions and CAFE Distortions: When Even the Transport Experts Have Trouble. Transportation Research Record (2191):8-15.


Gould, G. and A. Karner. 2009. Modeling Bicycle Facility Operation: A Cellular Automaton Approach. Transportation Research Record (2140):157-164.

Karner, A., D. Eisinger, S. Bai and D. Niemeier. 2009. Mitigating Diesel Truck Impacts in Environmental Justice Communities: Transportation Planning and Air Quality in Barrio Logan, San Diego, California.. Transportation Research Record (2125):1-8.

Sze, J., G. Gambirazzio, A. Karner, D. Rowan, J. London and D. Niemeier. 2009. Best in Show? Climate and Environmental Justice Policy in California. Environmental Justice 2(4):179-184.


Niemeier, D., G. Gould, A. Karner, D. Rowan, J. London and D. Niemeier. 2008. Rethinking Downstream Regulation: California's Opportunity to Engage Households in Reducing Greenhouse Gases. Energy Policy 36(9):3436-3447.



Roach, M., N. Chhetri, W. Chuang, N. J. Selover, D. M. Hondula, A. Middel and A. Karner. 2015. Building resilience against climate effects in Arizona: Lessons learned implementing CDC's BRACE Framewwork. Presentation at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, January 4-8, 2015, Phoenix, AZ. (link )



Chuang, W., A. Karner, N. J. Selover, D. M. Hondula, N. Chhetri, A. Middel, M. Roach and B. Dufour. 2015. Arizona Extreme Weather, Climate and Health Profile Report. A report prepared for Arizona Department of Health Services and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative. Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. (link )