Having trained for five years as a National Science Foundation IGERT scholar in Urban Ecology, her specialization is in collaborating with interdisciplinary teams to pursue use-inspired policy-relevant research. Dr. Atkinson-Palombo jointly heads two research groups that focus on Sustainable Cities and Transportation Technology & Society.
She uses geographical techniques such as GIS-based spatial analysis, statistical modelling, and qualitative methods to assess the impact of policies intended to promote sustainable cities, and is particularly interested in transportation sustainability because of its connection to a wide array of societal concerns such as air pollution, land use, global climate change, and social and environmental equity.
An emerging area of interest is how autonomous vehicles may be deployed in various contexts and whether or not they will reinforce or replace public transportation. Dr. Atkinson-Palombo currently serves on the Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles for the State of Connecticut, a body charged with providing guidance on AV legislation.
Teaching specializations include courses on Sustainable Cities, Urban Geography, Sustainability, and a capstone focused on professional development for the Environmental Studies program that she directs. She engages in a wide range of service activities for the University, as well as national and international bodies, and has a deep and abiding commitment to equity and diversity.