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Dr Catherine Holloway
Chadwick Building
  • Lecturer
  • Dept of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Eng
  • Faculty of Engineering Science
Catherine graduated in 2004 with a 1st Class honours degree in Industrial Engineering and Information Systems (Design Stream) from the National University of Ireland, Galway. She consequently went to work as a Research and Development Engineer for Medtronic. Here she designed and developed angioplasty balloons; she also sat on the patent review board.

In 2006 she moved to London to commence her PhD at UCL, which was funded by EPSRC and the National Health Service. Before completing her PhD she took up a research assistant position at UCL on the FP7 funded Personal Inclusive City Accessible Vehicle (PICAV) project. Following the completion of this project Catherine ran the Pedestrian Accessibility Movement Environment Laboratory (PAMELA), where she developed the biomechanics section of the facility including the integration of force plates and EMG measuring capability. During this time she built and strengthened links between ARG and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and ASPIRE. This has resulted in a number of PhD studentships as well as the formation of the TARSAN group.

In 2012 she took up her post as Lecturer in Accessibility Engineering.

Research Summary

Catherine is a lecturer in Accessibility Engineering and the director of the UCL Accessibility Research Group (ARG). ARG consists of skilled researchers who are investigating various aspects of accessibility. ARG is dedicated to understanding and progressing the theory of mobility and accessibility, beyond the social model of disability towards a more complete model which incorporates the full complexity of the person-environment interactions and allows practical ramifications of changes to transport systems to be tested.

A key facility within ARG is Pedestrian Accessibility Movement Environment laboratory (PAMELA). PAMELA is the world’s only multisensory pedestrian environment laboratory and is a major component of the Accessibility Research Group at UCL.

My PhD investigated the effect of crossfall gradients on wheelchair user accessibility using the capability model. One strand of my current research builds on this by using biomechanical measurements to populate the capability model and thereby measure accessibility on a micro-level. This has also expanded to include working on how evidence for guidelines is formed and followed as well as how to manage disabled people in disaster situations.

Catherine is also developing methods for measuring wheelchair accessibility which include: a light-weight, waterproof instrumented handrim to measure wheelchair propulsion forces in outdoor environments (SenseWheel); and a map of automatically detected barriers to accessibility to create an ARGmap. Catherine is very interested in using citizen science methods and smart sensing technologies to assess and improve assistive technologies, accessibility of public transport systems and the built environment.

Catherine also runs a number of research projects which investigate specific questions regarding the design of public transport systems with Transport for London and Mott McDonald.

Catherine has close links with Japan through support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and currently have active collaborations with Tohoku University and Kansai University, which were showcased during the recent Accessibility Symposium, which was funded by JSPS and held in London.

Teaching Summary

Catherine’s approach to teaching is to focus courses around projects and case studies. She actively encourages students to question and discuss in class.  Catherine currently teaches the following courses:

  • Introduction to Programming Using Matlab (CEGE2007/CEGE2008)
  • Design of Accessible Transport Systems (T19/09CIG019/09CIM019)
Catherine is also an Academic Supervisor within the Intergraded Design Project and a theme leader on Scenario 2 (CEGE1009).

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