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Norman Garrick, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Norman Garrick, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department | University of Connecticut


Professor with a focus on civil engineering, transportation behaviors, parking, public transit, and bicycle lanes.



Dr. Garrick is a Professor Emeritus with the Department of Civil Engineering and co-Director of the Sustainable Cities Research Group at the University of Connecticut. In these roles he has led groundbreaking research on street networks and their impacts on traffic safety - including bike and pedestrian safety, car travel and the health of citizens; the evolution of parking provision in cities and its impact on the urban fabric of the city and its role in inducing more traffic in cities; the factors contributing to the widening gap between the USA and other developed countries in terms of traffic fatality; the potential societal impacts of autonomous vehicles; the design and operations of streets designed according to shared space concepts.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Shared Spaces

Transit Planning

Urban Planning

Civil Engineering

Urban Street Networks

Bicyclist and Pedestrian Facility Design and Planning

Education (3)

Purdue University: Ph.D. 1986

Purdue University: M.S.C.E. 1983

University of the West Indies, Trinidad: B.S.C.E. 1978

Affiliations (3)

  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Visiting Professor
  • Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), Fellow
  • National Endowment for the Arts’ Mayors Institute on City Design, Member






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Norman Garrick Street Networks Affect Safety


Media Appearances (19)

Three-Quarters of Black Motorists Are Struggling With the Cost of Car Ownership

StreetsBlogUSA  online


Other researchers have linked that last phenomenon to higher rates of car crashes in predominantly Black neighborhoods — thanks in large part to the deadly roads that were disproportionately built through them by predominantly white transportation officials, sending road death rates in BIPOC communities skyrocketing in the process. “Having better transit is not just an issue of movement," said Norman Garrick, co-author of the study. "It's also a poverty reduction strategy that will help a lot of people in this country ... It’s ironic that what we're arguing for here are the kind of dense, transit-friendly places that are already available to people of means. But [what do we say to] the rest of the population? ‘Well, you can go to hell.’"

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Why are Connecticut's roads so dangerous?

WNPR - The Wheelhouse  radio


Last year was the deadliest year on Connecticut’s roadways in recent memory. More than 230 people died in motor vehicle crashes, and another 75 people who were walking or biking died in crashes. That’s according to the state Department of Transportation. In response, lawmakers are considering several bills this session with the goal of making our roads safer. This hour, we look at legislative efforts to make roads safer.

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What's next after the Inner Loop?

WXXI News  online


What’s next after the Inner Loop? That question is the focus of the next Reshaping Rochester conversation at the Community Design Center Rochester. Norman Garrick is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Connecticut who has been studying the inner loop for years. We talk to him about the project and the future of urban design in Rochester.

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Biden’s Climate Promises Challenged by Influx of Highway Dollars

Bloomberg Government  online


Transportation has largely been built around facilitating the movement of vehicles in traditional ways, and most states have bought into that paradigm, said Norman Garrick, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Connecticut. Changing the way states think about spending federal transportation money is “extremely hard,” he said.

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How the interstate highway system connected — and in some cases segregated — America

ASCE Civil Engineering Source  online


According to Norman Garrick, Ph.D., a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Connecticut, there probably were some people who had racial motivation, “but I don’t think that was necessarily the majority,” he says. “The bigger thing for me is not so much the motivation of planners in terms of being racist. The bigger issue for me is that some of the tools, techniques, and algorithms we developed — refined in the 1950s — definitely had unintended consequences of supporting inequitable treatment of racial minorities and also of poor people and also supporting a totally car-dependent society, one in which all other modes of transportation were pushed aside and marginalized.”

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Black people are more likely to die in traffic accidents. Covid made it worse.

NBC News  tv


Norman Garrick, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Connecticut, said the numbers are saddening, but not surprising. “Black people tend to be overrepresented as walkers in this country,” Garrick said. “This is not by choice. In many cases, Black folks cannot afford motor vehicles. And people that walk in this country tend to experience a much, much higher rate of traffic fatality. We’re talking eight to 10 times more. It’s a perfect storm of a lot of horrible forces.”

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Can Removing Highways Fix America’s Cities?

New York Times  print


In order to accommodate cars and commuters, many cities “basically destroyed themselves,” said Norman Garrick, a professor at the University of Connecticut who studies how transportation projects have reshaped American cities. “Rochester has shown what can be done in terms of reconnecting the city and restoring a sense of place,” he said. “That’s really the underlying goal of highway removal.”

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A fight over housing segregation is dividing one of America’s most liberal states

Vox  online


Desegregate CT’s bill would cap parking requirements at what experts tell Vox is a reasonable level — zero for multi-family units near transit, one for studios or one-bedroom apartments, and two for two or more bedroom apartments. This wouldn’t ban additional parking if a developer feels like the property requires it, but it doesn’t unnecessarily force them to build potentially wasteful spots. When asked about the bill’s potential, University of Connecticut professor of civil and environmental engineering Norman Garrick, an expert in transportation and urban planning, described it as a “small first step.” “I mean if you’re talking about success in terms of desegregating the state, I think there are going to be many other steps that are needed to get to that goal,” Garrick said. “I think this is a small first step that is really bringing the conversation to the table.”

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Science Sense, with Guest Professor Norman Garrick

Science Sense Podcast  online


Scientific Sense ® is a daily podcast focused on Science and Economics. We talk with the world's leading academics about their research and emerging ideas in a variety of domains. The conversation is unstructured and unscripted. The host, Gill Eapen, has over 30 years of experience in various areas in Economics, Science, Technology, and Business. This episode features Professor Norman Garrick, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Connecticut.

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The Broken Algorithm That Poisoned American Transportation

Vice  online


“It’s not so much about the measurement being wrong, it’s that the whole underlying thesis is wrong,” said University of Connecticut professor Norman Garrick. “You’re not thinking about how people behave and how they’re using the system. You’re just saying this is how it happened in the past [and] this is how it will happen in the future, even though you’re injecting this big change into the system.”

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By Degrees: Can We Seize This Moment to Re-imagine Public Spaces & Transit?

New Hampshire Public Radio  radio


During the pandemic, bicycle sales have soared, and parking spots are being re-imagined as outdoor dining. Can we seize this moment, when we’re using our cars less, and make these changes permanent? Sam Evans-Brown of NHPR's Outside/In podcast is the host, with guests including Norman W. Garrick - Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut.

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Collision course: why are cars killing more and more pedestrians?

The Guardian  online


Attempting to explain a trend – to correctly apportion blame not for one but thousands of pedestrian deaths – adds yet more layers of complexity. Economic and employment trends, the availability and quality of public transport, shifts in the age of walkers and drivers: it all matters. Disentangling the threads in a scientifically rigorous way is fiendishly difficult. “There are multiple theories about how to account for what is happening,” says Norman Garrick, a University of Connecticut professor who studies road safety. “We know something radically new is going on. But I don’t think we have an exact answer yet.”

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Downtown Hartford has a glut of parking lots some say could hold the key to growing the city’s grand list

Hartford Business Journal  print


About 17 percent of downtown Hartford’s nearly 2 square miles is occupied by parking lots, said Norman Garrick, a UConn civil engineering professor who has studied the city’s parking and transportation for more than a decade. That’s about 80 percent more land dedicated to parking than in cities with similar populations, like Cambridge, Mass., and Arlington, Va. In addition to wasting space that could be occupied by businesses or housing, Hartford is missing out on some $20 million a year it could collect in property taxes, if buildings were constructed on the lots, according to Garrick’s research.

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Flying Train that Travels at 400 Miles Per Hour Unlikely to Take Flight

Newsweek  print


It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a flying...train? One Russian engineer thinks airborne locomotives could outspeed conventional land travel and free up room below. Norman Garrick, engineering professor at the University of Connecticut and sustainable transportation expert, told NBC News that future method of travel will likely improve upon existing technology rather than experimental designs that would likely take years of refinement before human use.

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5 Reasons Why Amsterdam Works So Well for Bikes

CityLab  online


People unfamiliar with the idea of the bicycle as real transportation sometimes see Amsterdam—the famously bike-friendly Dutch capital—as a fantasyland that has very little to do with the grown-up transportation world of cars and trucks. In reality, a readjustment of perspective is needed, since Amsterdam has succeeded in creating a transportation system that is one of the most successful in the world. Transportation in Amsterdam is the epitome of sustainability. It is convenient, cheap, clean, quiet, efficient, and safe.

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The Cow That Tells Cyclists to Slow Down: New Technologies for Congested Cities

The Guardian  


However, some believe that – rather than technology – a radical change in street design might make cities work better. Norman Garrick, associate professor at the University of Connecticut, who has studied how sharing the road space can be better for pedestrians and vehicles, says we need to fundamentally rethink movement in cities. “The philosophy that emanated from the US was that we needed to separate people and machines, which gives priority to vehicles and makes the environment less friendly for people,” he says. Technology can improve cities for people, he says, but “it can equally make them more hostile if you facilitate faster car travel. We have to change our engineering philosophy to go back to more connected, compacted street networks like Amsterdam and Seattle.”...

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Reimagining the Urban Freeway Holding Back Providence



Providence’s DePasquale Square is a delightful experience in the summer. The fountain-cooled oasis is surrounded by restaurants and people, creating a scene that resembles a piazza in Italy. But walk just a few hundred feet further and the square runs into a chain link fence separating pedestrians from ramps that feed into what’s known as the 6-10 Connector...

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The American Decline in Driving Actually Began Way Earlier Than You Think

The Washington Post  


Timothy J. Garceau, a Ph.D. candidate in geography at the University of Connecticut, and professors Carol Atkinson-Palombo and Norman Garrick offer a different way to think about the answer. In research they presented this week at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, they looked at travel data not at the national level, but by state instead...

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This Look Inside the World's Largest Train Station will make Americans Painfully Jealous

Mic  online


“These places planned their cities in a way that made transit central to city life,” Norman Garrick, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Connecticut and a visiting professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, said. “We did the exact opposite of that.”

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Articles (7)

Black Households Are More Burdened by Vehicle Ownership than White Households

Sage Perspectives

Molly Quinn, Norman Garrick, and Carol Atkinson-Palombo


Today I spent 65% of my monthly income to get my car’s exhaust replaced. This is not shocking, unheard of, or even rare. The United States has been built to accommodate the automobile. In doing so, we have accomplished what transportation historian Peter Norton describes as normalizing the abnormal. It is expected that every American adult own a personal vehicle, and thus it is normal for Americans to allocate more than 15% of their total annual spending toward cars. It is normal for Americans to have no alternative to vehicle use to safely accomplish their daily travel, and thus are coerced into perpetual vehicle spending for their adult lives. These circumstances surrounding high levels of spending on cars have become so normalized that the damage that they cause is only recently being discussed as a critical issue in general discourse and is still limited in research and other academic endeavors.

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Opinion: Hartford needs to be a walkable city to thrive, but the city is built around cars rather than people

Hartford Courant

Norman Garrick and John Q. Gale


Hartford’s city council has said no to higher parking-lot licensing fees — for now. But the city has to figure out how to get more feet on the street, and that was a proven way. This debate is not about parking alone, but about what type of community we want downtown Hartford to be. For 60 years, the city of Hartford has catered to the corporate leaders who have invested in property development (or lack thereof). This has led to easy access to downtown Hartford by automobile, but leaders have paid little attention to access within downtown, especially by foot or bike or transit.

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Automobile-dependency as a barrier to vision zero, evidence from the states in the USA

Accident Analysis & Prevention

Hamed Ahangari, Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Norman W Garrick

2017 With a traffic fatality rate of 10.6 per 100,000 as of 2013—more than triple that in the UK, the Netherlands, and Sweden—the United States has the worst traffic safety performance of all developed countries. Statewide variations are even more pronounced. North Dakota registers more than twice the national average and five times the rate of Massachusetts. We used panel models and annual data from 1997 to 2013 to capture the effect of seven separate sets of factors that influence traffic safety: exposure, travel behavior, socioeconomics, macroeconomics, safety policies, and mitigating factors such as health care. The results of our panel models and supplementary analysis of state effects show that two variables — Vehicle Miles Traveled and Vehicles per Capita—have the strongest impact on traffic fatality rates.

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How similar is China's traffic safety pattern to industrialized countries in their early stage of motorization? An analysis of death registration data for large and small/medium cities

Journal of Transportation Safety & Security

Jingyue Zhang, Norman W Garrick, Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Hamed Ahangari

2017 The authors quantify the relationship between traffic fatalities and the motorization rate in China using death registration data for two groups of cities in China (17 large cities and 21 small/medium cities) from 2002 to 2010. Smeed's model is applied to compare the relationship in China to that in other industrialized countries during their early stages of motorization. The study has two principal findings. First, the fatality rate per vehicle decreases with the increase in motorization, a pattern that is consistent with the relationship that Smeed derived for industrialized countries. However, motorization and fatality rate per capita exhibits no clear trend. A second finding is that road safety conditions differ in large cities compared to small/medium cities.

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Relationship between human capital and transportation sustainability for the United States and selected European countries

Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

Hamed Ahangari, Norman W Garrick, Carol Atkinson-Palombo

2016 There is a growing interest in developing reliable and meaningful composite indexes of transportation sustainability. Several such indexes have been developed, but none have been used for comparing countries. This paper introduces a cost-oriented national transportation sustainability index (NTSI) and uses it to compare the performance of the United States with 27 selected European countries for the years 2005 and 2011.

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Effects of parking provision on automobile use in cities inferring causality

Transportation Research Board 95th Annual Meeting

Chris McCahill, Norman Garrick, Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Adam Polinski

2017 Many cities include minimum parking requirements in their zoning codes and provide ample parking for public use. However, parking is costly to provide and encourages automobile use, according to many site-specific studies. At the city scale, higher automobile use is linked to traffic congestion, environmental degradation, and negative health and safety impacts, but there is a lack of compelling, consolidated evidence that large-scale parking increases cause automobile use to rise. In this study, the Bradford Hill criteria, adopted from the field of epidemiology, were applied to determine whether increases in parking should be considered a likely cause of citywide increases in automobile use.

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Progress towards zero, an international comparison: Improvements in traffic fatality from 1990 to 2010 for different age groups in the USA and 15 of its peers

Journal of safety research

Hamed Ahangari, Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Norman W Garrick

2016 In January 2015, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that the official target of the federal government transportation safety policy was zero deaths. Having a better understanding of traffic fatality trends of various age cohorts—and to what extent the US is lagging other countries—is a crucial first step to identifying policies that may help the USDOT achieve its goal.

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