Current projects

Doctoral Research

I'm doing my PhD at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Profs. David Banister and Tim Schwanen.


My doctoral research concentrates on questions of distributive justice and transportation equity. It focuses on the distributional effects of transport policies/investments on social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities. The four-paper thesis is grounded on a theoretical discussion of leading contemporary philosophical theories of justice, mainly Rawls’ egalitarianism and Capability Approaches. The methodology developed in the thesis contributes to accessibility measurement in multimodal transport networks using GTFS data to assess the distributional effects of transportation policies on accessibility inequalities in both ex-post evaluations of implemented projects but also in ex-ante scenario analysis of projects in their early planning stages. The research further develops three case studies to discuss the equity implications of the transport legacies from sports mega-events in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and analyze of who benefited from the new transport developments in the city.

I'll be giving more details of each paper as they get published - fingers crossed.
  • 1st paper:
    Pereira, R. H., Schwanen, T., and  Banister, D. (2017). Distributive justice and equity in transportation. Transport Reviews, 37(2), 170-191. [download it here]

    This paper reviews five key theories of justice and critically evaluates the insights they generate when applied to transport policies. Based on a dialogue between Rawlsian egalitarianism and Capability Approaches, it proposes a justice framework to evaluate the distributive effects of transport policies focusing on accessibility as a human capability.

  • 2nd paper:
    Pereira, R H. (accepted in the journal CitiesTransport legacy of mega-events and the redistribution of accessibility to urban destinations. [preprint available here]

    This paper brings together the debates on the role of mega-events in urban development and transportation equity. The paper argues that evaluations of the social impacts of mega-events should take into account the distributional effects of the transport legacies they create, looking particularly at how such transport developments reshape sociospatial inequalities of access to opportunities. The empirical analysis focuses on the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and the transformations in the city’s transport system in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. The study estimates how such transport developments have changed the the number of people from different income levels who could access Olympic sports venues and healthcare facilities via public transport. The analysis uses a before-and-after comparison of Rio’s transport network (2014-2017) and a quasi-counterfactual scenario to separate the effects of newly added infrastructure from the reorganization and cuts of transport services. The results show that the infrastructure expansion alone would have increased the number of people who could access the Olympic sports venues but it would have only marginally improved people’s access to healthcare facilities. The analysis show that the accessibility benefits from Rio's transport legacy generally accrued to middle- and higher-income groups, reinforcing existing patterns of urban inequality.

  • 3rd paper:
    Pereira, R H., Banister, D., Schwanen, T., Wessel, N. (under review) Distributional effects of transport policies on inequalities in access to opportunities in Rio de Janeiro [pre-print available here]

    This paper examines how recent investments and disinvestments in Rio de Janeiro’s public transport system between 2014 and 2017 have impacted people from different income groups in terms of their access to schools and job opportunities. Based on a before-and-after comparison and quasi-counterfactual analysis of Rio’s public transport, spatial cluster and regression models were used to estimate the distributive effects of those transport policies on accessibility inequalities and to test whether these effects are robust when accessibility analysis is conducted using different geographical scales and zoning schemes. Our findings suggest that, contrary to the official discourses of transport legacy, recent transport policies in Rio have exacerbated rather than reduced socio-spatial inequalities in access to opportunities.

  • 4th paper:
    Pereira, R H. (in progress) Assessing the ex-ante equity impacts of transport policy scenarios on accessibility inequalities under different travel-time thresholds

    This study illustrates how ex-ante accessibility analysis can be used to anticipate the likely accessibility impacts of transportation projects scenarios in their early planning stages. The paper evaluates two scenarios of full and partial construction of the TransBrasil BRT corridor, currently under development in Rio de Janeiro. The results suggest that the TransBrasil corridor stands out as a far more equitable investment that promotes larger accessibility gains for lower-income groups when compared to other recent transport investments in Rio. Nonetheless, this BRT project would have larger and more progressive accessibility impacts under shorter travel-time thresholds of 30 and 60 minutes, while it would bring smaller and more neutral accessibility gains for longer travel times of 90 and 120 minutes. The results indicate that the conclusion of an equity assessment of transport projects as well as the size of their accessibility impacts can significantly vary according to the time threshold used in the accessibility analysis.