Dr Juan Pablo Orjuela
  • Research Associate in Urban Mobility

About

Juan Pablo is a research associate in urban mobility in the PEAK project, an academic partnership between five international universities based in China, Colombia, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom that seeks to improve urban futures through co-production research. As part of PEAK, he is exploring ways to assess how transport alternatives provide different accessibility levels to health services and healthy lifestyles.

Juan Pablo completed his PhD in environmental research at Imperial College London in 2018 where he worked on different methodologies to evaluate personal exposure and inhaled doses of air pollutants in various microenvironments. He worked at the Clean Air Institute in Washington D.C. where he conducted the evaluation of several transport projects in Latin America aimed at reducing greenhouse gas and local air pollutant emissions. He holds an MSc in Environmental Technologies from Imperial College, an MEng in Environmental Engineering, bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering, and bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.

Current Research

Juan Pablo is particularly interested in the social and environmental impacts of transport in Latin America. As part of PEAK he is working in co-production methods to study transport as an enabler of accessibility to health services in Medellin, Colombia. His research blends and builds upon three complementary and yet very different research areas:

  1. Co-production and participatory processes for transport evaluation: What are the best ways to involve different communities in transport evaluations and how can these be applied in the developing world? This includes co-researcher training, soft GIS methodologies for work with communities, workshops and World café events, and citizen science initiatives.
  2. Accessibility, transport and health: How to best evaluate accessibility in transport and what happens when the services to access do not follow a standard time schedule of peak hours, such as medical appointments and health emergencies? For single mothers for example, having to take their children to a doctor’s appointment will mean a disruption in their working hours, additional financial resources invested in getting to those appointments, and finding childcare for the rest of the day. These are all impacts not easy to evaluate with traditional accessibility models.
  3. Air pollution low-cost monitors: What is the role of low-cost personal monitors in air pollution management in urban environments? These devices are typically not very precise or reliable but their price and portability has opened a new door for citizen science in personal exposure to air pollution data collection. Despite not being a substitute for cities’ sophisticated air quality networks, they can complement them while empowering citizens.

Teaching

Juan Pablo has been co-supervisor of more than six master’s thesis for the Environmental Technology MSc. He has developed and given a short course in R as a statistical and spatial analysis tool for both masters and PhD students at the Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP) at Imperial College. He has mentored undergraduate students with particular research interests as part of the UROP programme at Imperial and as part of The Ogden Trust.

Publications

Journal Articles