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Two distinguished Nobel Prize awardees have close ITS connections

Daniel M. Kammen is the co-founder of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center of the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies. He is a professor in the Energy and Resources Group and in the Goldman School of Public Policy, and is the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. 

Professor Kammen is a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, Jr.

The IPCC is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences.

The Nobel Foundation honored the awardees "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

In 2000, UC Berkeley Professor Daniel L. McFadden won a Nobel Prize in economics for his pioneering work on how people make choices—work that dates back to a mode choice study he conducted at Berkeley in the 1970s when he was closely associated with the Institute of Transportation Studies.

The study used data collected for a BART impact study to analyze how people chose between alternatives such as driving, taking the bus, or riding BART. With the help of many graduate student researchers on the Berkeley campus, McFadden looked at how people weighted attributes such as speed, comfort, cost and waiting time. Blending techniques from economics and statistics, he then created a model to predict how many travelers would use each mode.

This work by McFadden on "discrete choice theory" and "econometric modeling" had an immediate and lasting influence on transportation research and education.

McFadden was the keynote speaker at the 11th World Congress on Transportation Research in June 2007 in Berkeley, California. The conference was attended by more than 1,000 academics from 49 countries; ITS Berkeley faculty affiliate Elizabeth Deakin served as conference director.