Photo of Tracy ZafianTracy Zafian

Research Fellow

Tracy has over 25 years of experience as a transportation researcher and planner. She worked as a transportation and land use planner at municipal and regional levels in La Crosse, Wisconsin and in Massachusetts, for the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.  At UMass Amherst, prior to joining the UMTC, Tracy served as a researcher and the lab manager for 10 years at the Human Performance Laboratory (HPL). The lab conducts both driving simulator studies and field studies on a variety of topics including driver training, driver distraction, roadway and intersection design, and vehicle automation. At the UMTC, Tracy has continued doing some research. Her role is also to support, facilitate and help coordinate research with UMTC research partners, including MassDOT. One priority is building the affiliate research network connecting academic researchers with state transportation agencies and practitioners in the field.

Tracy’s interests include transportation accessibility and equity, sustainable mobility, and human factors in transportation, including driver training and safety. During her HPL days, when she was helping design effective driver training programs for teens and older adults, she fulfilled the requirements to become a licensed driving instructor in Massachusetts; she maintains that accreditation today. 

Tracy is also interested in promoting women and minorities in STEM fields such as transportation. In 2017, she served as a co-director for UMass Amherst’s Summer Transportation Institute, a multi-week program for high school students which introduces them to various aspects and jobs in the transportation sector and encourages them to pursue transportation-related careers. 

Tracy currently serves at the chairperson for the Amherst Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), which provides feedback to the Amherst Town Council and Town staff on transportation projects, plans, policies, and proposed changes using a comprehensive and holistic approach. This approach examines how they fit into Amherst's overall transportation network, and how they relate to Town goals for transportation including safety, accessibility, and sustainability.  

Tracy has an M.S. in Transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning (with certification in Energy Analysis and Policy) from the University of Wisconsin. As an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College, she earned a degree in mathematics and completed extensive coursework in environmental studies, including a semester abroad studying environmental and energy sustainability practices in Kenya. 

Contact information:

Tracy Zafian
Research Fellow
UMass Transportation Center
Hampshire House
Room 316
131 County Circle
Amherst, MA 01003
Email: tzafian at