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New Faculty Focus: Carolyn McAndrews

She brings a focus on transportation planning, policy and design to the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture.

by Katie Vaughn September 19, 2018

Carolyn McAndrews

Title: Associate Professor in the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture

Hometown: I grew up in the American southwest and Mexico. 

Educational and professional background: 

My training is in city planning and transportation engineering. I was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar here at UW-Madison in Population Health Sciences between 2010 and 2012. 

How did you get into your field of research? 

Early precursors included long-haul trucking, Mexican toll roads and transit fare policy. I discovered my focus on health, safety and environment through a project about aviation safety inspectors and high-reliability organizations. This revealed my interest in safety and organizations, which became research on how the transportation system can do more to protect pedestrians, and ultimately a combination of population health, transportation and planning. 

What attracted you to UW-Madison? 

The Wisconsin Idea. 

What was your first visit to campus like? 

My first visit to campus was for the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program in Population Health Sciences. It was: winter, thoughtful, grounded, visionary, committed.

What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with?


Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how.

It is a gift to be part of a field that strives to make everyday life safer, more convenient and affordable and less wasteful. When designers make decisions about transportation systems, they confront challenging tradeoffs between safety, convenience, affordability and efficiency. I bring the Wisconsin Idea into my research by looking carefully at policy implementation so that my research can capture decisions about these tradeoffs. This approach helps me understand what is necessary for realizing social and environmental goals through our transportation infrastructure and services.  

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties?

Streets and paved parking lots account for about 40 percent of urban land. We should make the most of them!

Hobbies/other interests:

I am a hobby generalist. I enjoy all sorts of indoor and outdoor activities.