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Car Dependency and Decreased Mobility Timeline in the Los Angeles Area Through GIS

Project by Polygence alum Liam

Car Dependency and Decreased Mobility Timeline in the Los Angeles Area Through GIS

Project's result

I wrote a 40 page research paper, gained skills in GIS (QGIS), and published the research paper in ISSCY.

They started it from zero. Are you ready to level up with us?


What makes an unequal transportation system? How can we identify who has been left out of transportation systems? This project examined car dependency in metro Los Angeles, California. Part of this project looked into what historical "warning signs" marked a transition to car dependency and its consequences of decreased mobility, like the history of the railway system in LA. Using GIS, I used historical maps as well as transportation map shapefiles and data from the city of Los Angeles to examine the legacy of the Pacific Electric Railway and how it impacted certain groups as well as the formation of highways, car infrastructure, and car-dependent transportation. Building off of my research I will propose a way to recognize warning signs and way to reduce dependency on cars and increase mobility, asking: What makes an unequal transportation system (culture, policy, corporation decisions, etc.)? How can we recognize opportunities to "turn around" and maintain balanced systems of transportation, or it is possible that car dependency has indefinitely changed the landscape of transportation in the LA and surrounding areas?



Polygence mentor

MArch Master of Architecture


History, Engineering, Arts


architecture, art history, resilient design, preservation




Salut, je m'appelle Liam. I am working on understanding public transportation and mobility in the Los Angeles urbanized area by using historical trends and analysis to inform present day trends in car ownership and use. Specifically, I am trying to find out who is affected by a car dependent transportation system and how. This is important because mobility is crucial in our world and we need to be making strides to make it more equitable. I hope that doing this research will help me better understand the world of transportation and urban issues as well as contribute to it. After this research project, I hope to start another one in my AP Research class dealing with the same area (transportation and urban issues).


El Toro High School

Graduation Year


Project review

“It's been a while, but I remember it being a great experience. Meeting with my mentor was empowering and thought-provoking and genuinely helped me grow intellectually and personally. It felt very good to have someone rooting for me and walking me through the process of planning, doing, and publishing research.”

About my mentor

“My mentor was very supportive and well-equipped to help me both during and after the project.”