Kuan’s research into spatial and temporal mapping of perception has brought him from Dhaka to Singapore, and now his efforts have engaged him in a long-term project related to intermodal station development in Mexico City.
City Planning grad student, Kuan Butts, researches peseros service operations at intermodal transit hubs


Kuan’s summer efforts in Mexico City build upon ongoing “Flocksourcing” research performed by Urban Planning and Studies professor Christopher Zegras. Over the course of the summer, operations and design functions of the existing redeveloped CETRAM sites of Mexipuerto and El Rosario were performed. CETRAMs are large intermodal stations located about the periphery of the Federal District of Mexico City and represent unique junction points between the more developed urban transit systems in place inside the D.F. and the rudimentary network of peseros and collectivos operators that service that large swath of urban and exurban developments sprawled about the central city.

Data collecting

Kuan managed a group of over twenty volunteers, along with a team of three other MIT students and two UNAM students operating through the support of our professional local partner UTL (Urban Travel Logistics), in the modification of a prior developed smartphone application used in field work in Dhaka, Bangladesh to conjoin traditional origin-destination survey data with perception based qualitative data and highly specified route data that included a constantly updated (live-tracked) ridership level, speed, longitude, latitude, and timestamp.


In addition to the data collection efforts and mapping exercise, design development input was performed on a new proposal at the site of Cuattro Camino, the largest of CETRAM operations in the Mexico City region. Kuan sat down with architects and planners and observed key stages in the stakeholder engagement and site analysis efforts in order to better understand how these unique intermodal Latin American developments were crafted. A full report is available online and a paper is set to be presented on the efforts in December at the UCLA + Regional Studies Association 2013 International Conference.

  • Mexico
  • Internship
  • Arch & Planning