Wojciech Kębłowski is a critical urban geographer working on transport and alternatives to capitalism. He is based at VUB and ULB, holding the position of FWO Junior Postdoctoral Fellow. In addition to the LiFT project, he is also involved in the PUTSPACE research project (funded by HERA, on publicness of public transport).
Wojciech’s work focuses on two main themes. First, he is interested in bringing critical social theory and decolonial theory to transport geography. He studies the political economy and governance of “sustainable” transport policies, transport in/formality, and publicness of public transport. He is particularly curious about practices of fare evasion and control, and the policy of fare abolition, otherwise known as fare-free public transport.
Second, he studies diverse alternatives to the capitalist mode of producing urban space and society. These include practices inspired by the notion of circular economy and degrowth, and various examples of citizen participation, for instance the policy of participatory budgeting. He explores how, why and for whom these “alternatives” emerge, and how they are transferred and “mobilised” between urban contexts.
Wojciech’s research has involved fieldwork in diverse cities in Western Europe (Aubagne, Brussels, Luxembourg, Helsinki, Madrid), Eastern Europe (Sopot, Wrocław, Tallinn), China (Chengdu) and Cuba (Santiago).
Monika completed her PhD degree in Geography at Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) where she was a member of Research Group on Mobility, Transportation and Territory (GEMOTT). Her dissertation dealt with the topic of gender differences in the use of transport modes in Barcelona and Warsaw. During the doctoral studies she carried out research stays in the Department of Geography and GIS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) and at the University of York (Canada). She participated in many R&D projects on mobility, taught undergrad and master courses and has been a speaker at several congresses and conferences. After defending her PhD, Monika became an adjunct professor and research assistant at the Department of Geography at UAB.
She has joined COSMOPOLIS in Geography Department at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in March 2021 as a FWO postdoctoral fellow. In LiFT project she is working on the consequences of public transport fare abolition assessing its social impact, with a special attention to gender perspective. Her recent hypothesis states that zero-cost public transport have more positive outcomes for women than for men. This main hypothesis raises a number of specific research questions, for example: Can free travel be a lifeline for women from specific geographical context and specific social segments? What are the consequences of cost-free transport for women in terms of accessibility, economic and time resources, and other empowerment aspects? In her current research. Monika aims to respond these and other related issues.
Merlin Gillard is a PhD researcher at LISER since 2021. After a bachelor in Geography at Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Merlin completed his master’s degree in Urban Studies at ULB & Vrije Universiteit Brussels in 2019. His master thesis focused on the impacts of antiterrorist measures on the policing of events in public space in Brussels.
In the framework of the LiFT project, Merlin studies the governance of FFPT, as well as whether FFPT makes PT a more public service and space. He is particularly interested in how FFPT impacts security practices, policing and surveillance on PT, as well as working conditions of PT workers.
Kobe Boussauw teaches in the MSc in Urban Design and Spatial Planning (STeR*) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research deals with the reciprocal relationships between mobility, planning, and the built environment, both in an analytical and in a policy oriented sense. Within the first track, the way in which various aspects of spatial structure interact with each other is assessed, whereas in the second track the focus is on decision-making processes that impact on such spatial functioning. Kobe’s concern is mainly with the relationship between proximity as a spatial quality, urban livability, and sustainability.
Veronique Van Acker is a Research Scientist at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER, since 2016) where she is heading the research theme ‘Living with urban dynamics’ of the Urban Development and Mobility department. She is also a Guest Professor at the Department of Geography of Ghent University (since 2017) where she teaches courses on Spatial Analysis. Before joining LISER, she has worked as an Assistant Professor in Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam (2013-2016) and as a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University (2010-2016). She obtained her PhD in Geography from Ghent University in 2010. Her PhD has been awarded the Eric Pas Dissertation Prize 2010 by the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research (IATBR), the BIVEC-GIBET PhD Award 2011 by BIVEC-GIBET, and the Mercator-Ortelius Prize 2014 by the University of Antwerp. She also received the Fred Burggraf Award 2015 by the Transportation Research Board for her conference paper on lifestyles and travel behaviour, as well as the PSLUT Best Paper Award on Sustainable Land-Use/Transport Solutions 2010 by the European Transport Conference for her conference paper on objective and spatial influences of modal choice.
Veronique has been a visiting research fellow at the University of Sydney (with Prof. Dr. Corinne Mulley, 2015), University of California at Davis (with Prof. Dr. Patricia Mokhtarian, 2008), and Delft University of Technology (with Prof. Dr. Bert van Wee, 2006). Her research interests include the interaction between the built environment and travel behaviour, lifestyles and attitudes in relation to mobility, differences in mobility attitudes and behaviour between generations, and how early experiences affect travel habits. Her current research focuses on travel satisfaction and subjective well-being. She uses a life-oriented approach by considering the interactions between satisfaction with multiple life domains and not only travel. More specifically, she studies the role of commuting satisfaction in changing commuting, residential and work-related attitudes, behaviour and satisfaction over a person’s life course. Her research has been published in leading academic journals such as the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Journal of Transport Geography, Transportation, and Transport Reviews.
Daniel’s main research domain is the fare-free public transport policy (FFPT). Currently he investigates the FFPT landscape in Poland (Is it all about the sustainability? Unpacking the framework of fare-free public transport policy) under the Preludium 19 grant of the National Science Centre Poland (2020/37/N/HS4/01285) which is also Daniel’s contribution to the LiFT project.
Besides, Daniel is a research assistant in the team focusing on Sustainable and resilient food system under the HES-GEO project funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation grant programme (952327). He also focuses on the phenomenon of shared mobility and campus transport planning.
Dori Goldberg is a recent graduate from the Master’s of Urban Studies program at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. His master’s thesis investigated the conditions under which fare suspension policies could be understood as a decommodification of public transport amid COVID-19 in the United States.
Dori has been involved in LiFT since February 2021, when he began distribution of the survey to transit agencies in the United States, and later interviewing transit officials from fare-free agencies around the country. Currently, Dori is co-authoring a report with LiFT based on research from his master’s thesis, and data collected in the scope of the LiFT project. The upcoming report will explore the policy mobility of FFPT, its governance and its potential to advance a commoning of mobility.