My name is Rafael Pereira (Rafa for short). I am a senior researcher (tenured) working in the fields of urban analytics, spatial data science and transport studies at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea - Brazil), where I'm currently the Head of Data Science.

My research looks broadly at how urban policies shape the spatial organization of cities, human mobility as well as their impacts on social and health inequalities. Some of my key contributions to the fields of urban analytics and urban and transport planning involve the development of new methods and open-source computational tools to the study of urban systems and transportation networks. These contributions emerge from substantive interests around social justice and sustainability concerns with urban development; specifically focused on issues of inequalities in access to opportunities, and the environmental impacts of built environments and mobility patterns. I am particularly interested in the equity concerns underlying impact assessment of urban and transport planning policies and their effects on inequalities in access to opportunities.

Since 2020, Rafa leads the Access to Opportunities Project where he and his team generate annual estimates of accessibility to employment opportunities, education and health services for Brazil’s largest urban areas, and develop new open access computational tools for transport accessibility and emissions modeling.

Rafa received the 2017 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship from the World Resources Institute (WRI). In 2019, his work received the award for best PhD thesis in transportation by the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and the Young Researcher of the Year Award by the International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD).


  • Transport justice
  • Cities and Equity
  • Spatial Data Science
  • Transport policies


  • DPhil in Geography, 2018

    Oxford University, UK

  • MSc in Demography, 2008

    State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil

  • BSc in Sociology, 2006

    University of Braslia (UnB), Brazil

Grants and Awards (selected)

Best presentation award

V Oxbridge Conference on Brazilian Studies

PhD Fellowship at Oxford University

Master Scholarship at University of Campinas (Unicamp)

Research assistantship at University of Brasília