News | USC PhD Student Zakhary Mallett Wins Again

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USC PhD Student Zakhary Mallett Wins Again

Monday, August 12, 2019

by By Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020

Zakhary Mallett, PhD Student in Urban Planning and Development at USC Price School of Public Policy, has been awarded a scholarship by the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) – the foundation arm of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) – for the second year in a row. The APTF scholarships are provided to deserving students interested in a career in the public transportation industry.

Mallett has been passionate about public transportation since his teen years when he suggested improvements to public transit services to the governing board of his local transit provider, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). This experience introduced Mallett to the interaction between politics and the planning of transit operations and capital projects. “These early experiences formed my initial career interest in transit planning – in particular, identifying ways to plan and operate transit so that it could both be competitive with the automobile and do a better job serving those who depend on it,” remembers Mallett.

After completing his first two years of college at West Valley College, Mallett earned his bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University, being one of only twenty of 1400 undergraduate transfer applicants accepted. He continued broadening his knowledge and study interests in improving public transit as a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, where he completed a master’s degree in City Planning.  Soon after, Mallett ran for public office and became the youngest person ever elected to the governing board of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART). He served four years, during which time he advocated applying objective data analysis and empirically-tested solutions to planning and policy decisions.  In 2018, Mallett returned to school to pursue a doctorate degree at USC.



Mallett’s research centers on the intersection of transportation finance, travel behavior, and location choice. More specifically, his research is centered on identifying the subsidies given to travel, unpaid externalities generated by travel, and how these influence where people and firms choose to locate and the amount and modes of travel they chose. He focuses on “developing ways to internalize these costs and estimating the effects this would have on travel behavior and location choice.” Mallett also studies the “sharing economy” and the effect it has on travel behavior and location choice.

His current research includes a project that evaluates the influence that socio-demographics and built environment factors have on the use of dockless shared mobility (e.g., bike and scooter sharing); and a project on the volume and reach of special event traffic and methods of managing it.

Mallett’s APTF scholarship this year is an endowed scholarship of the foundation, the Nathaniel Ford Scholarship. This scholarship is “awarded to a minority applicant pursuing studies in the fields of Mobility, Logistic Management, Innovation Management and/or Science Technology, with the intent to pursue a career in public transportation.” This award follows his being a scholarship awardee of the Railway Association of Southern California’s (RASC) earlier this year. “I am very grateful and honored to have been awarded a second-year scholarship by the American Public Transportation Foundation. Receiving this scholarship makes a huge difference in my ability to complete my doctoral program without financial stress,” shared Mallett. He will formally be recognized at APTA’s annual conference in New York City in October. 2019.

Mallett is continuing to build himself as a scholar, and has just recently launched his own website “In an era of internet and social media, having an online presence is important for personal marketing,” he noted  “To that end, my website is an important milestone in my internet marketing and branding of myself to the transportation research community. It serves as the online ’cover‘ of who I am as a scholar.”

We heartily congratulate Zakhary Mallett and wish him all the best and good luck in his future endeavors.

About the Author:

Adylbek Abdykalikov is a graduate student in the International Public Policy and Management Program at USC Price. He has working experience in various positions at the Ministries of Transport and Communication and Investment and Development of Kazakhstan and was in charge of Transportation and Civil Aviation policy development and implementation, and serves as lead student event coordinator for METRANS and PSR.