Talk with Arash Tavakoli

The ETHOS Lab from EPFL is organizing a talk with Arash Tavakoli on July 4, 2024 (from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the "Fribourg" conference room and on Zoom) and will address three studies measuring the effect of road infrastructure, urban design, and public transportation spaces on human well-being. The talk will be followed by a cocktail reception.

Who is Arash Tavakoli ?

Arash Tavakoli is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University, where he directs the Human-Centered Cities Laboratory. His research focuses on developing human-centered smart cities to better understand, adapt to, and communicate with people. His research has been published in well-known transportation engineering journals, including Transportation Research Part F, Accident Analysis and Prevention, and IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems. Prior to joining Villanova University, he was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Why is it relevant to the SLL ?

The transportation built environment plays a crucial role in shaping human well-being by influencing various aspects of our daily lives. Human well-being is a multifaceted concept that encompasses a number of factors such as stress levels, cognitive functioning, sleep quality, and physical health. By examining how design elements and environmental factors within the transportation infrastructure (e.g., road system, public transportation spaces, and urban design) affect road user well-being (e.g., drivers, cyclists, public transit users, and pedestrians), Arash's work seeks to create healthier, more supportive living environments for all. To quantify these effects, his team employs various sensing mechanisms, including smart wearable devices (e.g., blood volume pressure monitoring), cognitive monitoring tools (e.g., brain activity measures and eye tracking), and experience sampling techniques. 

What will be discussed during the talk ?

The talk will start with an exploration of the effects of road infrastructure and human behavior on drivers’ well-being. Specifically, we will examine how road elements (e.g., intersections), and driving behaviors (e.g., harsh braking and acceleration), impact drivers' stress levels and cognitive loads. These effects are measured through multimodal sensors, including cardiovascular metrics and eye tracking measures, in fully naturalistic settings. Next, we will focus on the impact of urban elements, such as the presence of construction sites and mismanaged trash, on pedestrian well-being. The results of an eye-tracking integrated online survey will be presented to quantitatively demonstrate these effects. He will also discuss the latest developments in this project, including his recent National Science Foundation award, "From Data to Design: Enhancing Pedestrian Infrastructure for Well-Being through Mobile Sensing and Experience Sampling in the Wild." Finally, he will present findings from his recent study on the effects of public transportation built spaces on users’ well-being and their willingness to use these systems. This study combines online surveys with webcam-based eye tracking to provide comprehensive insights.

Invited Talk | Arash Tavakoli Smart Living Lab (Salle "Fribourg)


Andrew Sonta

Head of Ethos Lab
Tenure Track Assisstant Professor- EPFL
-sustainable urbanism
-data visualization
-interactions and design processes