Dr. Anne Goodchild is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director of the Goods Movement Collaborative, and the Academic Director of the Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Online Master’s Degree program. Dr. Goodchild works as a transportation engineer and focuses on relationships between freight transportation and logistics, sustainability, and air quality. Prior to receiving her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 2005, Dr. Goodchild worked as a consultant in North America and Europe.
What is one of Dr. Goodchild’s favorite aspects of her career? “Working with students—both one on one discussions with them and class discussions. It’s so fun to be around smart and excited people and talk about topics that are important. It’s a privilege to work with them.”
The following are questions and responses from an interview with Dr. Goodchild:
Q&A: Gender in engineering and current work
Q: How has your gender played a role in your education and/or career?
A: I think that one reason I studied math and engineering is that it felt sort of radical as a woman. I can’t resist a challenge or a dare! When I was at university, my graduating class in math had an awesome cohort of women. It felt so good to be with a group of women and doing what we loved. As a student, I didn’t see the lack of women as a deterrent to engineering. I saw it as a challenge that I wanted to take on. After graduation, I enjoyed working in small groups within a consulting company and realized that I was interested in a wide range of practical problems, especially where social issues might intersect with logistical solutions. I learned to communicate with professionals in a given field to find out what they consider to be important priorities and I think I may bring a different perspective to these conversations as a woman and a mother.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I continue to focus on current issues in transportation, often in partnership with major stakeholders. For example, I’ve been looking at urban transportation conflicts and opportunities. How do we take our current infrastructure and share it with bikes, pedestrians, and freight transportation? How can communities come together and see collaborative opportunities? I’ve been looking at ways to make it easier for those different groups to share infrastructure—for example, you don’t want to be on a bike and crash into a truck.
Our research group has been exploring ways to route and schedule to minimize pollutants and improve sustainability. How, for example, can we minimize Co2 or NOx? And how does minimizing pollutants affect cost? Where do freight and passenger travel come together? This is a relatively new topic in research and my research group has done a lot of early work in this area.
We’ve also published studies about online shopping. There you’re replacing personal travel—shopping is a big part of personal travel—with freight trips. Is online shopping good? Bad? What does it mean for air quality? It’s not something that had been understood, so we’re looking at the net effects for the environment, as well as for individuals and retailers.