Visual Storytelling

For highlighting essential points and making complex problems intuitively comprehensible, nothing beats a graphic.  The following images show how I use ArcMap, Adobe Illustrator, and other programs to make information fun and accessible.

Understanding California High-Speed Rail Ridership Projections

A key goal of this project was to help people understand the California High-Speed Rail ridership projections well enough to draw their own conclusions about their reasonableness, and to do that, I had to find a way to display a large amount of data in a visually intuitive way.

Making Budget Analysis Intuitive

Here, I was tasked with estimating how much a transit agency might be willing to pay for autonomous transit vehicles. I considered what the main cost benefits of autonomous vehicles are likely to be and then dug through the fiscal year 2019 budget of the primary transit agency in the Washington, DC area, WMATA, to explore the relative impact of said benefits. Bus operators are far and away the largest area where costs could be reduced, though it is possible that insurance costs could fall as well. Considerations of the potential logistical, political, and equity problems of shifting to autonomous buses were outside the scope of the project. 

Making a Complex Project History Straightforward

The task here was twofold: dig up the long history of cost estimates for the Los Angeles Streetcar project and then display them in an easy-to-understand way. The project also involves an element of political messaging–the professor’s instructions were to present this from a project proponent’s perspective, so I geared the graphic to project optimism and a sense that the project would eventually be completed.

Clarifying Essential Points with ArcMap

In this project, I worked on a team that analyzed the risks posed by extreme heat to Lincoln Heights–a predominately low-income and heavily Latino area east of downtown Los Angeles–and the human-created factors that worsen these risks. Since concrete, stucco, and other building materials contribute to the heat island effect by absorbing and holding the sun’s energy, I mapped how much of Lincoln Heights’ land area was covered by buildings, roads, and parking lots and compared this to green space. The resulting map doesn’t just passively display the data, it makes the key point–that artificial surfaces cover most of Lincoln Heights–plain to see.  

Illustrating the Concept of Resilience

The above image is one of a series of pictures I created in Adobe Illustrator (linked to in the pdf file below) that tells the story of how seismic retrofitting could make the difference between a family prospering after an earthquake or being forced from their home.   

Using Buffers and Geocoding to Focus Attention on What Matters

Population density adjacent to transit is an important factor in transit ridership, and by geocoding the stations and adding a buffer around them, I made station-area population density easily visible. Since the analysis focused on Inglewood, CA, limiting the density choropleth (colored) map to areas within city boundaries further focused viewer’s attention where it belongs. 

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