Paul Sorensen

Photo of Paul Sorensen
Adjunct Operations Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in geography, University of California, Santa Barbara; M.A. in urban planning, University of California, Los Angeles; B.A., Dartmouth College


Paul Sorensen is an adjunct operations researcher at the RAND Corporation. His research focuses on urban and regional planning, transportation, energy, environment, and emergency response, and his technical expertise encompasses geographic information systems, optimization modeling, simulation, and robust decisionmaking. Recent examples of Sorensen's work include developing plausible long-range transportation energy use scenarios and assessing relevant policy options for state departments of transportation; assessing port infrastructure investments given the potential for significant future sea-level rise; evaluating mechanisms for implementing a national system of mileage-based road use charges to replace current excise fuel taxes; developing short-term policy options to reduce traffic congestion in Los Angeles; examining performance-based accountability systems in transportation planning and policy; quantifying the costs and benefits of endangered species habitat conservation in Riverside County; examining logistical challenges associated with mass distribution of antibiotics in the event of a large-scale public health emergency; and evaluating potential strategies to promote the recovery of affordable housing in coastal Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Sorensen has published peer-reviewed studies in the areas of geographic information analysis, location optimization modeling, emergency response logistics, and transportation finance policy, and he also holds a U.S. patent on a methodology for forecasting the demand for ambulance services. Sorensen received a B.A. in computer science from Dartmouth College; an M.A. in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Recent Projects

  • Options for funding transportation through mileage-based road-use charges
  • Long-range trends in energy use and implications for state departments of transportation
  • Strategies to reduce traffic congestion in Los Angeles
  • State and local public health emergency preparedness logistics
  • Costs and benefits of endangered species habitat conservation in Riverside County

Selected Publications

Paul Sorensen and Richard L. Church, "Integrating Expected Coverage and Local Reliability for EMS Location Problems," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 44:8-18, 2010

Paul Sorensen et al., System Trials to Demonstrate Mileage-Based Road Use Charges, Transportation Research Board, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2010

Brian Stecher et al., Towards a Culture of Consequences: Performance-Based Accountability Systems for Public Services, RAND Corporation (MG-1019), 2010

Paul Sorensen et al., Implementable Strategies for Shifting to Direct Usage-Based Charges for Transportation Funding, Transportation Research Board, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2009

Lloyd Dixon et al., Balancing Environment and Development: Costs, Revenues, and Benefits of the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, RAND Corporation (MG-816), 2008

Paul Sorensen et al., Moving Los Angeles: Short-Term Policy Options for Improving Transportation, RAND Corporation (MG-748), 2008

Paul Sorensen, "Cheaper Gas and More Expensive Shoes: California's Transportation Finance Reform Proposal," Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 1960, 2006

Paul Sorensen and Brian D. Taylor, "Innovations in Road Finance: Examining the Growth in Electronic Tolling," Public Works Management & Policy, 11(2), 2006