Zhenpeng (Frank) Zou

Zhenpeng (Frank) Zou

Research Assistant; PhD Student


I joined the PhD program in 2016. My research activities focus on the broader impacts of the global sharing economy on urban planning. My recent work answers important policymaking questions about shared housing, in the case of Airbnb, and shared mobility, in the case of rising popularity in rideshare, bikeshare, and E-scooter share. I often explore innovative data sources on emerging technology in my research, including web-scraped data, real-time API data, sensor data, and open data.


Gerrit Knaap


Research Interests/Specializations:

Transportation (shared mobility, new mobility, transportation equity/sustainability/health), Housing (shared housing, housing equity), Urban Data Science (big data, data analytics, education)



I am PhD research assistant at the National Center for Smart Growth. I am a core member in the transportation group and delivered several team projects on the economic impact of the Purple Line, the health impact of transportation scenario planning in Maryland, etc. In addition, I co-taught the Planning Technology course in Fall 2018 to master’s students in urban planning. I interned at the District Department of Transportation’s policy team on the Vision Zero Initiative and I continue to collaborate with DDOT on an E-scooter share project.



I am passionate about data science application and education in urban studies. I helped draft a proposal of UMD Data Challenge that won the campus-wide Year of Data Science award in 2018 and 2019. I am on Team Data Challenge as a dataset recruiter, working with public agencies and industry leaders to curate datasets for the interdisciplinary data science event. In addition, I am the co-organizer of the PhD seminar series within the URPD program. My services and research won me the All-S.T.A.R. Fellowship, which honors graduate students who are both outstanding scholars and outstanding graduate assistants.


Career ambitions

I will be on the job market in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, primarily targeting at an academic position. I am trained towards an urban planning scholar with a solid understanding of the discipline and various skills to conduct impactful research in transportation, housing, and smart cities.

PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Design
University of Maryland
In Progress
Master of Science in Economics
University of Oregon
Bachelor of Science in Finance
Beijing Language and Culture University