David Boyce, PhD, has dedicated his career to confronting urban transportation challenges through his research. And now he is dedicating funds through an annual gift to support UIC doctoral students who also conduct research in the transportation engineering and planning field.
Boyce is emeritus professor of transportation and regional science in UIC’s Department of Civil & Materials Engineering. As a result of his gift to UIC, eight graduate students in transportation planning have received support over the last two years. Recipient Ramin Shabanpour Anbarani, who studies the role of autonomous vehicles in transportation planning models, says “being recognized with this award boosts my confidence and trust in my ability to achieve my goals—and my ultimate goal is to run my own consultancy.”
An Ohio native, Boyce first experienced Chicago traffic when he attended Northwestern University as an undergraduate. As a teenager, he had been fascinated watching a house under construction in his neighborhood and told his mom he wanted to be a contractor. “But she responded ‘Be an engineer,’” he recalls, “because, in the early 1950s if you were good at math and science the question was ‘what kind of engineer do you want to be?’”
Boyce decided after a year in engineering school that he wanted to be the civil engineering kind of engineer. A post-sophomore summer stint with the Ohio Department of Highways and a junior/senior-year co-op with an Evanston urban planning firm “drew me into transportation planning,” he says, “though that wasn’t the plan—undergraduates didn’t, then or now, choose transportation as a major.”
In addition to his teaching and research, Boyce is the author or co-author of five books, most recently completing Forecasting Urban Travel: Past, Present and Future—co-written with long-time friend and colleague Huw Williams, PhD, emeritus professor of transport and spatial analysis at Cardiff University in Wales.
Speaking about the goals of his gift, Boyce notes, “In my field, people have to use theoretical and mathematical methods and most, but not all, of this work happens in engineering departments. Since I want to support both urban transportation planning and urban transportation forecasting as fields, I’ve chosen to allocate funds accordingly.” This means he supports each of the institutions with which he has been affiliated as a student or faculty member because, he says, “that was the way my modest contribution could have the most impact in my field.”