Andrew Mondschein | Department of Urban and Environmental Planning
14869
home,page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-14869,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,vertical_menu_enabled,qode-title-hidden,side_area_uncovered_from_content,qode-theme-ver-10.1.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0.1,vc_responsive
Class Outdoors

Andrew Mondschein

Department of Urban and Environmental Planning | School of Architecture | University of Virginia

Andrew Mondschein, PhD AICP, is an assistant professor of urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He studies transportation systems and travel behavior, seeking to foster equitable, sustainable accessibility in cities and regions. He addresses a rapidly changing terrain of transportation and information technologies, identifying means to assert social imperatives during a period of urban transformation. His research emphasizes the role of information and knowledge in fostering individual- and community-level capability and control over mobility.

 

Andrew teaches a range of transportation courses, including “Introduction to Transportation Planning and Policy,” “Transportation and Land Use,” and “Transportation and the Environment,” as well as masters and PhD methods. He emphasizes bridging emerging methods with critical and instrumental thinking, and an ethical approach to urban planning. Andrew serves on the Faculty Council of the School of Architecture, the PhD Committee for the School of Architecture’s PhD in the Constructed Environment and is a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Social and Economic Factors in Transportation Committee. He also serves on the City of Charlottesville’s PLACE Urban Design Task Force.

Projects

  • All
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Bicycling
  • Cognitive Mapping
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engaged Planning
  • Environment
  • Land Use
  • Mobile Sensing
  • Regional Economy
  • Technologies
  • Traffic Congestion
  • Transportation
  • Travel
  • Travel Behavior
  • Walking
Read: Going Mental: Everyday Travel and the Cognitive Map

By Andrew Mondschein, Evelyn Blumenberg, and Brian D. Taylor

PHow do you get to work? Do you have a preferred route to your favorite restaurant? To the nearest hospital? To Disneyland? If you know—or think you know—the answers to any of these questions, then your cognitive map is at work. Humans rely on mental maps to store knowledge of places and routes in order to engage in travel and activities. People use their cognitive maps to decide where to go and how to get there. But accessibility research has largely ignored this essential aspect of travel behavior, despite the fact that a trip won’t happen without prior knowledge of a destination and potential routes to it. As cities become larger and more dispersed, good information about opportunities and travel systems is more important than ever. In our recent study, we found that cognitive maps and travel modes are linked in important ways that shape people’s access to the many opportunities cities afford. We surveyed a diverse group of people in South Los Angeles and found significant differences between those who engaged in cognitively-active modes of travel, such as walking or driving, and those who engaged in cognitively-passive modes of travel, such as being a passenger in a car or on public transit. Those who engaged in cognitively-active modes of travel more accurately described the location of common destinations than did those who typically traveled by less cognitively demanding modes. Our results highlight the importance of providing meaningful wayfinding information to all travelers, especially those who rely on others for mobility. Our findings also highlight the critical role physical movement plays in cognitive development, and how travel experiences over the long-term can contribute to a better understanding of cities and access to their diverse destinations.

Cognitive mapping research has long been a part of urban planning and design. Designer and planner Kevin Lynch introduced the concept in his 1960 book, Image of the City. Lynch showed that, as people interact with their surroundings, they interpret and encode them into mental maps. Lynch also established a typology of elements within a cognitive map that includes landmarks, routes, nodes, edges, and zones. This typology represents the city as an individual understands it. What psychologists call a cognitive map is not like the map one keeps in a glove compartment or views on a smartphone. Rather, it encompasses a wide variety of mental processes that humans use to store and recall spatial information. This, in turn, shapes how people live and travel. Lynch and subsequent researchers showed that cognitive maps are imperfect representations of the built environment and contain distortions that influence behavior. In addition, errors in cognitive maps vary not just from person to person but among groups as well. In the 1980s, Tridib Banerjee and William Baer found that low-income minorities had much more constrained perceptions of their surroundings than higher-income white residents of the same city. Similarly in the 1990s, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Liette Gilbert showed that different ethnicities utilized different elements of the built environment to describe the same downtown Los Angeles neighborhood. Cognitive mapping research has long been a part of urban planning and design. Designer and planner Kevin Lynch introduced the concept in his 1960 book, Image of the City. Lynch showed that, as people interact with their surroundings, they interpret and encode them into mental maps. Lynch also established a typology of elements within a cognitive map that includes landmarks, routes, nodes, edges, and zones. This typology represents the city as an individual understands it.

What psychologists call a cognitive map is not like the map one keeps in a glove compartment or views on a smartphone. Rather, it encompasses a wide variety of mental processes that humans use to store and recall spatial information. This, in turn, shapes how people live and travel.

While planners and designers use cognitive maps to show differences in how individuals perceive places, research rarely addresses why those differences exist and what to do about them. Psychologists and geographers describe cognitive maps as the end result of spatial learning, a developmental process that depends on navigation and wayfinding…