James R. Marston
Assistant Researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in the Department of Geography, , the Geographic Systems Analysis Lab (GSAL), and The Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research (ISBER)
Currently involved with The Wayfinding Project: Fundamental Issues in Wayfinding Technology, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). This is a joint project with PI's and investigators from the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute(PI John Brabyn), Accessible Design for the Blind, and UCSB (Co PI Jim Marston). This work is unique in that it moves away from typical research using able-bodied human subjects with no usable vision, to include those with hearing loss, the elderly, and those with some useful, but restricted vision.
My main research is in:
Survey of Needs: Designing question to elicit user feedback on their travel activities and frequency, what barriers and problems they face, and their opinions on what constitutes successful travel. Those answers will help us with the next two studies
Travel Planning Studies: Understanding how this population pre-plans trips and makes adjustments while traveling. Soliciting user feedback on various options, including large print maps, raised line Braille maps, and computer generated navigation instructions, along with various assistive devices located in the environment, such as audio information about locations, transit, and street intersections and signals.
Measures of Travel Performance: Developing a comprehensive toolkit to assist experimenters and assistive technology developers to accurately and fairly measure performance when evaluating the blind and vision impaired.
Recently completed research (2001-2007) with Jack
Golledge and Roberta
Klatzky on a GPS based Personnel Guidance System for the Blind and Visually
Impaired. This is a five year grant from the National Institute on Disability
and Rehabilitation Research entitled "Wayfinding Technologies for People
with Visual Impairments: Research and Development of an Integrated Platform."
The consortium of universities, a research lab, and the private sector is headed
by Mike May from the Sendero Group. For more infarction see: UCSB
Personal Guidance System and Sendero
Travel behavior and geographies of special groups
Other interests concern environmental perception and cognition of the blind and visually impaired and its impact on efficient travel behavior and access to environments. In addition, I am interested in the problems of other disabled and disadvantaged groups affected by travel barriers. How do we make spatial activities available to all? How can we model the effect of these barriers faced by special populations?
There are restrictions to access for people with disabilities that pique my interests. There are functional barriers that limit access to urban opportunities and transit use by the blind. Under the direction of Reginald Golledge, we conducted various experiments with people who are blind or visually impaired to identify and quantify barriers and limitations to travel. My dissertation research measured the efficacy of a location-based system called Talking Signs(R) Remote Infrared Audible Signage (RIAS). For more information see
Remote Infrared Audible Signage
People using wheelchairs face physical barriers to travel. Another research focus has been applying various geographical and spatial techniques to identify and measure these barriers, and to examine various mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate these restrictions to equal access. As an example of one type of barrier to access, for those with mobility limitations, see a building's Accessible Route Guidance Systems (Okunuki, Church & Marston. Other research on measurement and optimal barrier removal formulations to increase accessibility for that group can be found in the Church and Marston article " Measuring Accessibility for People with a Disability."
Other interests concern Urban and Public Transportation and Pedestrian Oriented Urban Areas.
M.A. (1994) University of Illinois at Chicago in Geography. Emphasis on Urban Geography with major interest in transportation management and research on transit systems.
Thesis: "Implications of the Number of Workers Per Household on Travel Behavior." NPTS data of over 17,000 households with 2 or more workers were examined.
B.A. (1992) University of Illinois at Chicago in Sociology.
Jim Marston, Ph.D.
1832 Ellison Hall
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California 93106-4060
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