Allegheny County

With one of RAND's principal North American offices located in Pittsburgh, RAND has an understandable interest in addressing issues relevant to the Allegheny County region. Research studies have focused on topics ranging from child health and well-being and the structure of Pittsburgh Public Schools to the region’s government and infrastructure.

  • Vegetables in a supermarket

    Journal Article

    New Findings on Food Deserts

    In a neighborhood where a full-service grocery store opened after decades of absence, residents reported eating fewer calories and less sugar, perceived better access to healthy foods, and were more satisfied with their neighborhood. Yet, the changes in dietary intake were not related to use of the new store.

    Nov 10, 2015

  • The grand opening of a Shop 'n Save grocery store in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh, October 2013

    Research Brief

    What Happens When a Food Desert Gets a Supermarket?

    Introducing a new supermarket into a Pittsburgh “food desert” led to some improvements in residents' diets. However, most improvements were not linked to supermarket use.

    Nov 3, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    Education Policy: Challenges in Implementing New Standards and Assessments

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, a panel of educators and policy experts discuss Pennsylvania's approach to standards and assessment, what challenges remain, and what the future holds.

    Oct 8, 2015

  • Pittsburgh skyline with Point State Park and the Allegheny River


    Resilient Stormwater Management in Allegheny County

    Allegheny County in southwestern Pennsylvania faces major challenges in managing its water resources, and lacks key information about climate change and future vulnerability. This study will provide a framework to evaluate options and identify cost-effective solutions.

    Oct 2, 2015

  • Woman consulting shopping list in grocery store

    Journal Article

    Using a Grocery List May Lead to Better Health Outcomes

    A shopping list may be a no-cost, easily implemented tool to help high-risk, low-income individuals living in a food desert make healthier food choices.

    May 12, 2015

  • Police stopping on a crowded street


    Examining Police, Community Relations

    The “Strengthening Police-Community Trust” panel held Wednesday at RAND's Pittsburgh offices felt ripped from the headlines, and from the outset the discussion was focused on what the moderator called “the intersection between the community and the police.”

    May 8, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    Strengthening Police-Community Trust

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, Pittsburgh Chief of Police Cameron McLay joins Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle and RAND's director of Safety and Justice, Brian Jackson, for a conversation about why building and maintaining trust between police and the public is critical for the health of American democracy.

    May 6, 2015

  • African American man shopping for produce

    Journal Article

    A Natural Experiment Opportunity in Two Low-Income Urban Food Desert Communities: Research Design, Community Engagement Methods, and Baseline Results

    A growing body of evidence has highlighted an association between a lack of access to nutritious, affordable food (e.g., through full-service grocery stores [FSGs]), poor diet, and increased risk for obesity.

    Apr 14, 2015

  • Downtown Pittsburgh


    Building the Best Pittsburgh Possible

    Pittsburgh's journey toward its bright future has only just begun. To realize its potential, the city needs a vision as well as an innovative, inclusive, and data-driven approach to community development.

    Apr 9, 2015

  • Downtown Pittsburgh, PA at sunset from the Westend overlook

    News Release

    Project Aims to Improve Resilience Planning in Allegheny County and Pittsburgh

    The Pittsburgh region faces major challenges to stormwater management. These challenges could grow with climate change, complicating the investment decisions that need to be made for new or replacement infrastructure. The pilot study aims to take a first step toward improved stormwater and climate resilience planning at the county and city levels.

    Apr 9, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    Building Urban Resilience: A Look at Challenges Facing the Pittsburgh Region Today and Tomorrow

    RAND's Board of Trustees joined RAND donors and partners, as well as local Pittsburgh civic and community leaders, to discuss urban resilience efforts. Pittsburgh is at the forefront of municipalities considering how to develop resilience as a framework for managing change.

    Apr 8, 2015

  • Attention-getting sale balloon at a grocery store

    Journal Article

    In-Store Promotions and Obesity Risk: Is There a Connection?

    A close look at marketing tactics (like special displays and price cuts) in Pittsburgh "food deserts" revealed that stores allocate more price reductions to low-nutrient foods than to healthy choices. These strategies are associated with increased body mass among regular shoppers, but more research is needed to confirm a causal link to obesity.

    Jan 7, 2015

  • The view from a shopping cart at a grocery store

    Journal Article

    Improved Access May Not Be the Key to Addressing Food Deserts

    As part of the ongoing battle to fight obesity in the U.S., current policies are aimed at improving access to healthy foods, especially in neighborhoods designated as food deserts. However, research indicates proximity to full-service supermarkets was unrelated to weight or dietary quality.

    Dec 9, 2014

  • Fresh produce at a grocery store


    Location, Location, Location: Does the Food Desert Narrative Hold Up?

    There's little rigorous evidence to support the notion that 'food deserts' are driving the U.S. obesity epidemic but this narrative has nearly become conventional wisdom. In response, stakeholders have poured hundreds of millions into bringing supermarkets to these neighborhoods.

    Oct 28, 2014

  • Arms pushing a cart at the supermarket

    Journal Article

    What’s Inside the Neighborhood Store May Matter More Than Its Location

    Placing supermarkets in food deserts to improve access may not be as important as offering better prices for healthy foods, actively marketing healthy foods, and helping consumers resist junk food appeals.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • Report

    Links Between Air Quality and Economic Growth: Implications for Pittsburgh

    This report assesses what evidence exists for the ways in which local air quality could influence local economic growth and how those effects might be relevant to the Pittsburgh region.

    Dec 20, 2013

  • A 40-foot-high inflatable rubber duck, created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, is towed up the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 2013


    Here's to Our Health

    Atop the new mayor's agenda should be improving the health and well-being of Pittsburgh residents. With an unassailable electoral mandate in hand, Mr. Peduto is positioned to take bold steps. And the best way to do that is by applying scientific and medical evidence to shape an integrated, citywide, health-policy framework.

    Nov 25, 2013

  • Commentary

    School Principals Respond to Performance-Based Evaluation System

    It's fair to say the program turned out to be an important step for the district in the context of its overall reform plan considering how important high-quality school leadership is for improving teaching and learning, write Laura Hamilton and John Engberg.

    Aug 15, 2012

  • Research Brief

    Improving School Leadership Through the Pittsburgh Principal Incentive Program

    A RAND Corporation report examines the Pittsburgh Principal Incentive Program's implementation, how principals have responded to the reforms, and what outcomes followed program implementation.

    Jul 2, 2012

  • Report

    What Are the Effects of Performance-Based Compensation for Principals?

    This study examines the effects of financial incentives for Pittsburgh principals on teacher supervision, student achievement, and gaps between high- and low-achieving students. Findings suggest that the incentives have had positive impacts, however, performance-based compensation requires more scrutiny.

    Jun 25, 2012