Liisa Ecola

Photo of Liisa Ecola
Senior Project Associate
Washington Office


M.C.P. in city planning, University of California, Berkeley; M.A. in political science, B.A. in international relations, Emory University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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Liisa Ecola is a senior project associate at the RAND Corporation. A transportation planner with interests in transit, transportation demand management (TDM), finance, and environmental and land use impacts, her current work is in two major areas: the intersection of transportation with climate policy, and congestion pricing. In 2008, she organized three workshops on the climate, energy, and transportation policy. She has also conducted extensive work in smart growth, managing the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement for EPA for five years, conducting research on the relationship between transportation network and performance at the regional level, and coordinating both technical assistance as well as conference support. In the TDM field, she conducted several research projects on the effectiveness and best marketing techniques for commuter benefits, and taught courses for the National Transit Institute. Prior to joining RAND, Ecola worked in transportation, land use, and policy consulting; she also served as a Foreign Service officer for six years, stationed in Warsaw and Taipei. Ecola received her M.C.P. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Recent Projects

  • Trials of a mileage-based user fee
  • Reducing traffic congestion in Los Angeles
  • Options for U.S. greenhouse-gas mitigation
  • Understanding and reducing off-duty vehicle crashes among military personnel

Selected Publications

Ecola, Liisa and Thomas Light, Equity and Congestion Pricing: A Review of the Evidence, RAND (TR-680-EDF), 2009

Sorensen, Paul, Liisa Ecola, Martin Wachs, Max Donath, Lee Munnich, and Betty Serian, Implementable Strategies for Shifting to Direct Usage-Based Charges for Transportation Funding, NCHRP Web-Only Document 143 (RP-1395), 2009

Sorensen, Paul, Martin Wachs, Endy Y. Min, Aaron Kofner, Liisa Ecola, Mark Hanson, Allison Yoh, Thomas Light, James Griffin, Moving Los Angeles: Short-Term Policy Options for Improving Transportation, RAND (MG-748-JAT/METRO/MCLA), 2008


  • Traffic Jam Stopped Cars Pennsylvania Turnpike Exit 358 Bristol Levittown

    Paying for Infrastructure, a Taxing Issue

    If the user pays idea is worth saving, the United States needs a different calculation, writes Liisa Ecola. Some states are looking at mileage fees. With mileage fees, you pay based on the number of miles you drive, rather than the number of gallons of gas used.

    May 16, 2013 |

  • man filling car gas tank

    Does U.S. Gas Tax Still Make Sense?

    It's time to consider changing the country's transportation funding scheme from one based on gallons purchased to one based on vehicle miles actually traveled, writes Liisa Ecola.

    Mar 8, 2013 | The Orange County Register

  • Getting Over the Privacy Hurdle to Mileage-Based Road Fees

    There is no need for privacy concerns to halt all discussion of new technologies to help address America's mounting transportation funding crisis, writes Liisa Ecola.

    Jun 6, 2012 |