• Current lab members

    PhD fellows

    Alec Biehl

    Researching active mobility

    Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Alec investigates travel behavior change processes and market segmentation strategies regarding the adoption of active modes and emerging mobility services. The overall message of his research is that policy design should incorporate more psychological and sociological concepts—such as identity construction, normative influence, and lifestyle orientations—to more effectively address environmental and social sustainability in relation to transportation. Accordingly, one could say that he is interested in fostering connected and autonomous individuals, as opposed to vehicles, within the sharing economy, which has important quality-of-life ramifications for both physical and social communities.


    Outside of research, Alec serves on the executive boards of Northwestern’s Graduate Leadership and Advocacy Council and the Social and Economic Factors of Transportation committee of the Transportation Research Board. His life motto is “never stop exploring,” which he practices through frequent visits to new coffee shops as well as natural areas for hiking excursions. Additionally, he is an avid fantasy and science fiction reader, with his personal library growing at a rate of 15 books per year.

    Aymeric Punel

    Researching crowd logistics and user behavior

    Aymeric is a PhD student imported from France, who grew up in Normandie, next to Giverny, the village of Claude Monet.
    Aymeric's research is part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on developing intelligence for smart CROwdsourced Urban Delivery (CROUD) system, also known as crowd-shipping. Crowd-shipping is an innovative way of parcel delivery involving the crowd. It is based on the concept of matching customers willing to send a package with occasional drivers who accept to do a detour along their planned route. Aymeric's work focuses on people's behavior and acceptance toward using such a system. Aymeric is working with choice experiment as well as real data coming from a crowd-shipping company's operations. Recent work includes social network modelling, driver bidding strategies and dynamic prediction of a package status by designing random forest models.
    Aymeric's areas of interests are data analytics, network science, social media, as well as travel demand modeling.
    At Northwestern, he is the founder and president of the Transportation Club, and was previously in the board of the Graduate Leadership and Advocacy Council (GLAC), Graduate International Student Association (G-ISA), and McCormick Graduate Leadership Council (MGLC). Aymeric is passionate by the world of aviation and the airline industry. This passion is to link with his appetite for flying and traveling all around the world. His favorite places are Galapagos Islands, Norwegian Fjords, and Japan. He also likes going to EDM concerts and festivals, is a swimming addict, and cannot spend one week without eating sushi.

    Maher Nizar Said

    Researching transportation alternatives


    Maher has been actively involved in research and teaching throughout his academic career. He has worked on a multitude of projects and studies focusing on modeling, simulation and data analysis, with highlights such as choice modeling, structural equation modeling, benefit-cost analysis and others.

    Additionally, Maher has also been involved in the industry as a Transport Planner & Traffic Engineer, working on a variety of projects involving design and analysis of traffic signals, intersections, pedestrian pathways, highways, residential and commercial developments and others.

    Moving forward, Maher aims to use this variety of skills and expertise, alongside with his skills in coding, to conduct interesting research in transportation.


    Maher started his PhD in 2018

    Elisa Borowski

    Researching mobility resilience


    Elisa researches the impacts of crowdsourced mobility on the resilience of cities to natural hazards and disasters. Through culturally-tuned advancements in discrete choice modeling, the application of sociological theories, and consideration of emotional influences, she examines mobility decision-making during disruptive events. In doing so, she hopes to develop community-tailored resilience strategies not only for large-scale, sudden-onset disasters but also smaller-scale hazards compounded by the chronic stresses of cities and communities. She is interested in exploring mixed-methods approaches for data collection through surveys, ethnographies, and focus groups, analyzed along with large datasets using choice modeling, network analysis, and data analytics.


    Elisa is a recipient of the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. She was raised in New Mexico where she cultivated an academic foundation in structural engineering, evolutionary anthropology, and creative writing, in addition to a love of green chile and vast arid landscapes. She is a library-inhabiting, notebook-filling, puzzle-pondering board game enthusiast with a passion for stories and road trips. She dreams of pursuing a career as a lifelong researcher and writer, contributing to hazard and disaster research centers and United Nations agencies dedicated to disaster management.


    Elisa started her PhD in 2018

  • Former lab members

    Post-doctoral researcher

    Alireza Ermagun

    We wish Alireza the best in his new position!