Introducing Professor Kelly J Clifton

Welcome to Professor Kelly J. Clifton

SCARP’s new J. Armand Bombardier Chair in Regional Transportation Planning

SCARP is delighted to announce that Dr. Kelly J. Clifton has been appointed as the new J. Armand Bombardier Chair in Regional Transportation Planning. It is expected that Professor Clifton will be joining the School this coming summer.

Dr. Clifton brings a wealth of leadership experience to the position, both in the transportation field and in senior administrative roles. Her work is internationally recognised to be at the cutting edge of developments in research and policy innovation in transportation. In a field where research can be quite niche, she notably works across boundaries between disciplines, methodological approaches, or the worlds of research and practice. She has made significant contributions to transportation planning especially with respect to improved understanding of travel behaviour and the practice of modeling, developing practice-ready tools to help communities (for example, to implement plans to build affordable housing and pedestrian-friendly developments). Her work is often motivated by a commitment to see developments in transportation contribute to more equitable and healthy outcomes.

In enthusiastically welcoming Dr. Clifton to SCARP, Dr. Heather Campbell, the Director of SCARP, comments:

“Dr. Clifton’s vision for the next phase in her research presents a fantastically exciting prospect for SCARP and UBC. Based on her past achievements, I fully expect that her work will not only produce novel intellectual insights, but offer the prospects of impacting the future of transportation policy and practice; in Vancouver, the wider Province, and internationally. Her ideas around mobilities justice are going to be crucial to the advancement of the goals of equity, health and sustainability.”

The School is excited to draw on Dr. Clifton’s considerable research and academic leadership capabilities as it moves forward with the implementation of its Strategic Plan.

About the Bombardier Chair position

The J. Armand Bombardier Foundation endowed Chair in Regional Transportation Planning carries out research, policy analysis, and teaching in urban transportation planning, through the lens of climate change and social justice. Work tackles technological, economic, environmental, health, social, and political aspects of urban/regional transportation.

More about Dr. Kelly J. Clifton

Dr. Kelly J. Clifton is an internationally-recognized expert on transport and land use interactions, travel behaviour, pedestrian modeling, and equity in transportation policy. Her research, teaching, and service activities are focused on transportation and how human mobility is shaped by their needs, the built environment, and technology. She bridges the fields of transportation planning and engineering and is known for qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches. She has worked to elevate public impact research through research partnerships with public agencies and community groups. 

She has several ongoing projects:

She is leading a team of investigators in examining how consumers changed their grocery shopping and restaurant habits during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the adoption of e-commerce platforms and delivery services.

For many years, she has been developing and improving the Model of Pedestrian Demand (MoPeD), a planning tool for forecasting walking behaviours.

She is working with an interdisciplinary team to create a non-fiction comic about the transportation and land development process based upon her research. 

She has several international collaborators. She was a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Technical University of Munich until 2020. Here, she and her students worked within the Modeling Spatial Mobility lab to incorporate MoPeD into land use-transport interaction models and health impact assessments. She was the inaugural Chair of the World Symposium of Transport and Land Use Research (, which held its first meeting in Whistler, BC in 2011. In 2021, she was the fourth triennial meeting of this group held virtually in Portland, OR and serves on the board. She was appointed as a Fulbright Scholar to Portugal in 2016 and was a visiting scholar at the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon.

Dr. Clifton’s previous appointment has been at Portland State University, as a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and was an affiliate of the Urban Studies and Planning Program and a Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. In addition to her faculty appointment, she has served as the interim Associate Vice President for Research for the campus and was the former Associate Dean of Research for the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. She had also held faculty positions at the University of Maryland and University of Iowa.

Kelly has a PhD in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin, MS in Planning from the University of Arizona, and BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University.

In her free time, she enjoys listening to live music, outdoor recreation, cooking for others, traveling to world cities, solving crossword puzzles, and photographing street art.

Let's welcome Dr. Clifton as she arrives this summer!