Dr. Eran Ben-Elia, the Professor of Parking
June 12, 2018
By Benyamin Cohen, a fellow of AABGU’s 2018 Murray Fromson Journalism Fellowship
From the Grapevine — Dr. Eran Ben-Elia is the head of the lab and senior lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Development at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. But he’s atypical: You’d think that he studies maps, could be quizzed on the capitals of obscure countries and would be a shoo-in for “Jeopardy!” But the geography that Dr. Ben-Elia studies is a little more grounded – literally. He has devoted the bulk of his research to the “most niche” of topics – traffic and parking issues.
In this podcast, Dr. Ben-Elia is interviewed by behavioral economist and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, a fellow Israeli. Dr. Ben-Elia discusses his research, which focuses on figuring out why people make certain decisions when they are in a car.
When you approach your destination, do you cruise around the area looking for on-street parking, or do you skip that phase and head straight to a parking garage – even though it might be a little further away? Are you a risk-taker or do you prefer a sure thing? At his high-tech lab at BGU, Dr. Ben-Elia is now working on a new project that could impact all commuters – he may have discovered how to carve out the perfect route to work.