Sensing Change: Deb Niemeier

This interview was conducted as part of the Institute’s yearlong Sensing Change initiative exploring the interconnections between art, science, and our changing environment.

Deb A. Niemeier is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Niemeier’s research focuses on transportation’s effect on air quality and how air-quality policy and transportation are connected. Niemeier’s work also involves studying the interactions between land use and the consumption of energy.

Why didn’t this experiment work? What do we need to do next? How is this model working? Whatever it might be, you’re constantly reflecting and adjusting.

—Deb A. Niemeier

Deb Niemeier explores the question, when does it make sense to have pictures instead of numbers?

CO2 emissions are one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Deb Neimeier looks where emissions are highest. 

What happens after a policy is passed? How can we see a real change?

How much do our driving habits affect regional amounts of pollution? Niemeier’s work in both modeling of vehicle emissions and measurement of roadside particulates helps provide better answers to this question. An active teacher and advocate for science education and women in engineering, Niemeier also participates in the development of regional infrastructure projects. 

What would we have to do to really be honest about changing travel behavior patterns now to get CO2 emissions down quickly—within the next 10 years? What zoning ordinances would have to be passed? What changes in culture?

—Deb A. Niemeier


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