Mobility Choices Research Associate

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Natural Resources Defense Council

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Chicago, IL, United States

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21 days ago

NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our people helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our team of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and the globe from our offices in Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

NRDC is seeking a Mobility Choices Research Associate to work with the Healthy People, Thriving Communities team in our Chicago, New York, Washington, DC or remote office.

Position Summary

The Mobility Choices Research Associate works with the Resilient Communities Transportation team to ensure successful implementation of NRDC’s Transportation Climate Strategy, with a particular focus on creating equitable, low-carbon travel choices in the United States. With a once in a generation opportunity presented by implementation of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) transportation funds over the next several years, the Research Associate will play a critical role for the NRDC team and the larger movement by helping to demystify the process by which federal funds flow to infrastructure on the ground in communities. By researching and mapping the various processes, policies and systems in NRDC’s priority states, the Research Associate will help to democratize the process of accessing federal transportation funds, helping more people to understand how dollars are flowing, how decisions are being made, and ultimately what impacts those decisions will have on communities. Critically, the Research Associate will lead NRDC’s work to analyze climate and equity impacts of IIJA investments as well as other transportation policies and programs in NRDC priority cities and states, as well as set and track key indicators to establish the arc of our progress. The Research Associate will also stay current on the rapidly evolving urban mobility sector, tracking best practices across the globe, researching and authoring thought pieces, blogs, white papers and conference presentations, helping to ensure the spread of best practices towards accelerating improved transportation climate and equity outcomes everywhere. This position joins the Resilient Communities’ Transportation team, and works as part of a matrixed team including place-based advocates; an Equity, Networks and Partnerships team; a Center of Excellence that includes Buildings and Renewable Energy teams in addition to the Transportation team; and a National Policy team.
  • Lead People and Communities’ Transportation team’s work analyzing climate, health, and equity impacts of various transportation policies, programs and investments.
  • Build on existing Transportation Climate Strategy analytical foundation to set and track climate and equity process and outcome metrics by which we measure our progress and that of the larger movement.
  • Scope, manage and oversee the work of consultants contributing analysis and research to NRDC’s work.
  • Collaborate with other research and analytical leads across NRDC, including the Science Center, towards shared policy pathways for reaching our organization’s north-star goals.
  • Research, map and daylight processes and systems for allocating federal transportation infrastructure funding in NRDC priority states, including opportunities for climate and equity advocates to intervene to ensure better social and environmental outcomes.
  • Develop tools, guides and resources that advance the NRDC transportation climate strategy, and support dissemination of those tools with communications and partnerships colleagues to partner organizations, NRDC members, the media and other key audiences.
  • Continuously track best practices in sustainable, equitable mobility choices domestically and internationally. Research, author blogs, white papers, conference presentations with the goal of spreading best practices across the US and the movement.
  • Commitment to NRDC’s mission and values.
  • Three to five years’ experience in transportation policy and planning, urban planning, sustainable cities or another similar field.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills—including experience modeling the effects of transportation policies and programs on vehicle-miles traveled, greenhouse gas emissions, and other health and equity metrics.
  • Experience evaluating program and policy performance metrics and outcomes.
  • Ability to participate in teams that work collaboratively towards shared outcomes (including remote teams using collaborative software).
  • Demonstrated passion and commitment for transforming transportation systems to become more equitable and climate-friendly.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated professionalism.

  • Experience utilizing equity frameworks or working with partners and communities to ensure equitable outcomes of policies and programs.
  • Relevant network among key sustainable transportation stakeholders.
  • Working knowledge of transportation planning literature, research on best practices to reduce vehicle miles traveled, travel demand modeling.
  • Demonstrated, working knowledge of state and federal transportation funding streams and programs.

NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement.

We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and is commensurate with skills and experience. For this position, the salary is $80,000 to $100,000. Internal equity considerations will be reviewed before making a final offer.

Our offices are open and we are operating in a hybrid model. We offer NRDCers flexibility, we ask them to come into the office and spend meaningful time there in collaboration with their colleagues. We call this purposeful presence.

As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws.

To apply, visit and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs.

If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422.

For more about NRDC, visit