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Mahtot Gebresselassie

Mahtot Gebresselassie

Assistant Professor


PhD, Virginia Tech

MA, University of Waterloo

BSc Addis Ababa University

Research Keywords

Smart mobility and equity; accessible urban and digital spaces; human-computer interaction (HCI); Uber and Lyft transportation in unusual events; sharing economy in transportation sector; urban design.

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J1P3

416 736 2100

Research Interests

I am an architect, urban planner, educator, and social-science researcher. Most of my research focuses on Uber and Lyft and transportation equity in relation to people with disabilities and low-income earners. I also do research on extreme weather and other unusual events and Uber and Lyft.

Outside this topic I have research and/or industry experience in the following:

· Disabled accessibility in information and communication technologies (Human-computer interaction)

· Smart mobility (smart cities) policy and governance

· Accessibility in urban design and architecture

· Gig/sharing economy in the transportation sector and broadly

The goal of my research work is to contribute towards solving urban transportation problems. I do both qualitative and quantitative research. When the research question calls for it, I use mixed-methods approach – I am very passionate about it. It is my belief that the complexity of urban challenges necessitates an approach that allows for the mixing of methods (qualitative and quantitative) in collecting and analyzing data without the constraints of philosophical assumptions.

Research Projects

Uber and Lyft usage disparity during extreme weather

The research compares Uber and Lyft usage during heatwave between high- and low-income neighborhoods in New York City.

Lead researcher Mahtot Gebresselassie, co-collaborator Dr. Jeremy Michalek (Carnegie Mellon University).

Research Output

Gebresselassie, M. (2021). Wheelchair users’ perspective on transportation service hailed through the Uber and Lyft apps. (Revised and resubmitted for publication)

Gebresselassie, M. (2021). Driving Wheelchair Users on the Uber and Lyft Apps: Drivers Perspective. (Currently under revision for resubmission for publication)

Gebresselassie, M. (2019). Planning education in accessible transport for persons with disabilities. Transport Findings. doi: 10.32866/7029

Gebresselassie, M., & Sanchez, T. W. (2018). “Smart” tools for socially sustainable transport: A review of mobility apps. Urban Science, 2(2), 45. doi:10.3390/urbansci2020045

Gebresselassie, M., & Sanchez, T.W. (2019, September 5). [Review of the book Inequality In Transport, by D. Banister]. Journal of the American Planning Association. doi: 10.1080/01944363.2019.1641385

Gebresselassie, M., & Sanchez, T. (2017, Winter). The role of smart city technologies in equitable and inclusive transport. Planning & Technology Today, (116), 16-17.

Recognition & Awards

  • Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, Virginia Tech
  • WSP USA Women in Leadership Scholarship
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 25th Anniversary Scholarship, American Publication Transportation Foundation
  • Shirley DeLibero Scholarship, American Public Transportation Foundation
  • VTGrATE Fellow: Virginia Tech Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Excellence
  • Global Perspectives Program Scholar: Trends in Doctoral Education in Europe and the U.S., Virginia Tech
  • Woman Who Moves the Nation Scholarship, COMTO
  • Women in Transportation Seminar - DC Chapter, Graduate Scholarship
  • Rob MacIsaac Fellowship Scholarship, Metrolinx


Course CodeTitle
ENVS Skills in Planning Research & Practice
ENVS Transportation Planning
ENVS Designing Sustainable Cities