Category Archives: Activities Collaboration

Leveraging New Vehicle Technologies to Address Congestion, Environmental Impacts and Traffic Safety

With increasing frequency, the public is exposed to news coverage announcing the autonomous vehicle (AV) revolution and the ways in which mobile devices, sensors and other connected vehicle (CV) technologies are redefining the automotive world. As engineers and other specialists contend with the technical aspects of AVs and CVs, society grapples with questions about safety, reliability and other potential effects on personal mobility.

Connected vehicles leverage a number of communication technologies, often sensors and mobile devices, to communicate with the driver, other vehicles and roadside infrastructure. Autonomous vehicles, often referred to as driverless or self-driving cars, are capable of sensing their surrounding environment and reacting without human input. Together, CVs and AVs represent the leading edge of innovative solutions to address congestion, environmental concerns and traffic safety. However, they also represent complex public policy issues related to social, economic and consumer impacts.

Researchers within the MATS UTC consortium are seeking to understand how ever-evolving CV and AV technical advances can be leveraged for more efficient and safe use of the built environment. CVs and AVs represent the opportunity to gather real-time mobile data, revealing important traffic information and driving behaviors not available through existing monitoring devices such as stationary cameras. Many of these research efforts are being applied to existing traffic issues, such as safety and movement through intersections, and environmental concerns, such as fuel economies and emissions.

Examples of these research efforts include:

Connected Vehicle Technologies for Energy Efficient Urban Transportation

Researchers at the University of Delaware and Morgan State University are using connected vehicle technology to optimize a vehicle’s control system in real-time to reduce congestion, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Using hybrid buses operating at the University of Delaware, the team is studying how intelligently integrated components can respond to both routine and atypical traffic situations, resulting in optimized traffic control and vehicle fuel economy.

Eco-Speed Control for Hybrid Electric Buses in the Vicinity of Signalized Intersections

Communication between a traffic signal controller and a vehicle equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) and communication hardware provides a research team from Virginia Tech and Morgan State University with sufficient information (vehicle position, vehicle speed and signal phasing and timing data) to compute fuel-efficient speeds. The team is leveraging this communication, developing Eco-Speed Control algorithms for buses using predictive energy estimation models. These models identify optimum speed profiles using information from surrounding vehicles and upcoming signalized intersections. The goal is to predict the most efficient speed to move a bus through an intersection and reduce ‘stop/go’ behavior, a key reason for inefficient fuel economy.

Investigating the Relationship between Driving Patterns and Traffic Safety using Smartphones-Based Mobile Sensor Data

Collecting high-resolution speed and acceleration data is now feasible with mobile consumer devices such as smartphones. Smartphones are equipped with sensors capable of recording vehicle performance data at a very fine temporal resolution in a cost-effective way. Researchers at Old Dominion University used this mobile sensor data to identify unsafe driving patterns and quantified the relationship between these driving patterns and traffic crash incidences. The models with microscopic traffic measures were shown to be statistically better than traditional models that only control for roadway geometry and traffic exposure variables.

Connected Vehicle Freeway Speed Harmonization Systems

Research conducted at Virginia Tech seeks to develop a dynamic speed harmonization application (SPD-HARM) that makes use of the frequently collected and rapidly disseminated multi-source data drawn from connected travelers, roadside sensors, and infrastructure. Using the connected vehicle environment, the research team is developing systems and algorithms to generate traffic condition predictions, alternative scenarios and solution evaluations in real-time. The goal is to reduce crashes, whether due to speeding, poor visibility, inclement weather or construction activities.

Leveraging Connected Vehicles to Enhance Traffic Responsive Traffic Signal Control

With growing use of connected vehicles equipped with communication technologies such as GPS to communicate with the driver, other cars and roadside infrastructure, researchers at Old Dominion University, Virginia Tech and Marshall University are exploring optimization of current adaptive signal control technology to estimate queue length and develop enhanced signal coordination through communication with CV sensors. The research focuses on Traffic Responsive Plan Selection (TRPS), an underutilized adaptive control product enabling the selection of pre-programmed traffic signal timing plans based on vehicle demand observed from selected vehicle detectors along a signalized corridor.

Exploring the use of LIDAR Data from Autonomous Cars for Estimating Traffic Flow Parameters and Vehicle Trajectories

Autonomous vehicles are typically equipped with LIDAR (light detection and ranging remote sensing technology) or other similar sensors to detect obstacles in the surrounding environment and can be a means to track other vehicles in adjacent lanes. At Old Dominion University, LIDAR is being used to estimate traffic flow parameters along the path of the autonomous car from point-cloud data. New algorithms and models are in development to extract traffic flow information from raw LIDAR data, enabling real-world data collection for safety studies and estimations of traffic flow and driving behavior.

Planning for Walking and Cycling in an Autonomous Vehicle Future

In an automated environment, it is possible bikers and pedestrians will be safer due to improved braking technologies. However, safety may be negatively impacted if drivers, cyclists and pedestrians over-rely on automated technology. If, for example, pedestrians and cyclists assume AVs will ‘automatically’ stop for them, then there may be increases in unsafe walking and cycling behaviors such as jay-walking or failing to use designated bike lanes. Researchers at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia are using semi-structured interviews with various stakeholders to develop planning guidelines for walking and cycling as society transitions to an automated fleet.

These research efforts are contributing to our understanding of the challenges associated with dynamic traffic conditions in an automated and connected environment. Most importantly, these projects are using real-time traffic data to develop new approaches, such as optimized traffic signals and other traffic responsive systems, to reduce fuel consumption, improve safety, and minimize congestion.

Student Spotlight: Seyedehsan (Ehsan) Dadvar, Morgan State University

Sustainability and Safety Considerations in Evolving Transportation Environments

Seyedehsan Dadvar

As a PhD candidate, Seyedehsan (Ehsan) Dadvar has spent his academic career studying road safety and its relationship to the ever-evolving environment related to connected, autonomous and electric vehicles, traffic simulation and freight logistics. He has become increasingly interested in the social and economic impacts of connected vehicle technologies and consumer behaviors related to these technologies.

Working with his co-advisors, Young-Jae Lee, PhD in the Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies at MSU, and Hyeon-Shic Shin, PhD in the City and Regional Planning Program of the School of Architecture and Planning at MSU, Dadvar has contributed to a number of research projects. He is Co-Principal Investigator on an analysis of bicycle and pedestrian crash causes and interventions funded by DDOT. He has studied next generation volume reduction green infrastructure stormwater control measures (Philadelphia’s Green City Clean Waters Initiative) funded by the EPA. Recently, Dadvar and his fellow researchers completed a study funded by the CVI-UTC on applications of connected vehicle infrastructure technologies to enhance transit service efficiency and safety.

MATS UTC provided Dadvar with the opportunity to collaborate with researchers at Marshall University and Virginia Tech on the MATS UTC-funded research project, “Environmental and Safety Attributes of Electric Vehicle Ownership and Commuting Behavior.” The researchers studied attitudes toward electric vehicle (EV) use as well as the differences in commuting behavior between EV and conventional vehicle owners. The results have public policy and transportation planning implications related to EV promotion and subsidies, infrastructure related to charging stations and statewide traffic models. This work was presented at the 1st and 2nd MATS UTC Annual Meetings at the University of Delaware in 2015 and at a poster session at the University of Virginia in 2016. The final report may be viewed at

“Ehsan Dadvar has been one of the most conscientious graduate research assistants with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working,” stated Dr. Andrew Farkas, PhD, Director of the Urban Mobility and Equity Center at MSU. “His insights, analytical skills and attention to detail ensure that final technical reports, presentations, and publications we’ve co-authored over the past three years have been so highly valued.”

Dadvar is working on the final stages of his dissertation titled “Improving Crash Predictability of the Highway Safety Manual through Alternate Local Calibration Process.” The aim is to improve current procedure with a more robust approach to account for attributes of roadway segments or intersections at disaggregate level. Preliminary results were presented as a poster at the Transportation Research Board 95th Annual Meeting in 2016.

Upon graduating next spring, Dadvar hopes to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship to continue these research interests. “As the market for connected and autonomous vehicles grows, there is a critical need for a better understanding of the safety environment in which these vehicles will operate,” explained Dadvar. “As engineers, we must anticipate the evolution of various modes of transportation and be prepared to address related safety concerns. But this is more than an engineering problem. It’s having the foresight to understand their interconnectedness and impact on quality of life within an urban planning context.”

In addition to publishing in the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering, the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the TRB, and the Journal of Transportation Security, he has presented posters and other presentations across the country, including at the 92nd – 96th Annual Meetings of the TRB, the 2015 ITE Mid-Colonial District Annual Conference, the FHWA Highway Institute, and the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Cities, Urban Sustainability and Transportation.

He is a member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), including serving as the MSU Chapter President (2013-14), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the American Statistical Association (ASA), and the Iranian Construction Engineers Organization (ICEO). He has served as a “friend” to the Transportation Research Board on its Standing Committee on Highway Safety Performance, the Standing Committee on Safety Data, Analysis and Evaluation, the Standing Committee on Pedestrians and Bicycle Transportation.

Dadvar will receive his PhD in Transportation from Morgan State University next spring. He has an MSc in Transportation Engineering from IAU – South Tehran Branch and a BSc in Civil Engineering from IAU – Gorgan, Iran.

He may be contacted at

Faculty Spotlight: Paul Imhoff, PhD, University of Delaware

Environmental Implications of Fluid Flow and Contaminants
on Roadway Soils and Waterways

Paul Imhoff, PhD

Earlier this year, MATS UTC announced eight collaborative research awards selected from 28 submissions, each a strong example of the consortium’s commitment to accelerating the adoption of sustainable transportation practices. Paul Imhoff, PhD, Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Delaware (UDel), along with his colleagues, Pei Chiu, PhD at UDel, and Teresa Culver, PhD at the University of Virginia (UVA), received one of the awards to continue their work to improve stormwater treatment technologies.

Stormwater from roadways, other impervious surfaces in urban regions, and agricultural operations is a major contributor to deteriorating water quality in many watersheds such as the Chesapeake Bay. Nutrients, such as nitrogen, are the leading cause of impaired water quality in the U.S. and worldwide.  Current stormwater treatment technologies, such as bioretention ponds, do not always treat nutrients sufficiently and may require sizable real estate to achieve the necessary removal.

The team’s 2017 MATS UTC-funded project, “Removing Nitrate from Stormwater with Biochar Amendment to Roadway Soils, builds upon their earlier work using biochar, a ‘green charcoal’ produced from agricultural residues or renewable biomass such as wood chips, grass clippings or poultry waste, to remove or transform nitrate. Supported by the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (CBSF) and the Delaware Department of Transportation, this previous work found that amending the top 30 cm of a 2-m wide side slope to a well-traveled state highway with biochar resulted in a reduction of the stormwater runoff volume by 67% on average over 36 storm events. In addition, nitrate concentrations, the most difficult to remove form of nitrogen, were reduced by approximately 50% in some of the limited storms sampled.

The team is now focused on using the same field site to simultaneously sample stormwater flowing over and through biochar-amended soils to quantify its ability to reduce nitrate concentrations in both flow paths. In addition, the researchers will determine the necessary residence time for nitrate-laden stormwater in biochar-amended media for nitrate removal, and confirm that biochar provides electrons to mixed bacterial cultures in soil to convert nitrate into innocuous nitrogen gas. Results are expected to provide a path forward for full-scale evaluation, design, and implementation of this novel and sustainable technology – biochar amendment of existing roadway soils.

Imhoff has spent much of his academic career contributing to our understanding of the transport of fluids and contaminants in multiphase systems, mass transfer processes in soil and groundwater and more recently green stormwater treatment. These interests have global implications. Currently working with the Gates Foundation, Imhoff is developing above-ground toilets for urban communities in India lacking sufficient resources and space to install septic systems. “We’re working with manmade membranes to leverage the flow and reaction of fluid around solid matter,” explained Imhoff. The study is still underway but Imhoff has high hopes for the humanitarian and environmental implications of the project on the welfare of these communities.

Additional research interests include addressing spills from fracking fluids that infiltrate surrounding soil, and developing methods to quantify and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.

In addition to his research pursuits, Imhoff teaches courses in environmental engineering at UDel. Reflecting his commitment to sustainable landfilling and protection of our soil and water, his classes generally focus on recycling and solid waste management, groundwater flow and pollutant transport, and modeling environmental systems.

Near the start of his career, Imhoff received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award. He has since received a number of honors and awards, including the 2005 Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, the 2011 ASCE Outstanding Reviewer Award from the Journal of Environmental Engineering, and the 2016 Top Reviewer Award from Waste Management.

Imhoff received a BS from the University of Cincinnati, an MS from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and his MA and PhD from Princeton University.

Imhoff may be contacted at

List of Posters Presented at 2016 MATS UTC Annual Meeting–Part 1

This is the first 18 of 32 posters presented at the 2016 MATS UTC Annual Meeting August 4-5 in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The hyperlinks reveal a PDF of each poster.

1.  Integrated Data for Improved Asset Management: Case Study for Flood Risk Assessment presented by Jon Goodall and Yawen Shen (A)

2.  Impact of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise on Stormwater Design and Reoccurring Flooding Problems in the Hampton Roads Region presented by Jon Goodall and Jeff Sadler (A)

3.  Road and Traffic Modeling for Evacuation: Identifying Roads Likely to be Flooded and Comparison of Micro and Macro Simulation Models presented by Pamela Murray-Tuite and Jianhe Du (B)

4. Transportation Infrastructure Flooding: Sensing Water Levels and Clearing and Rerouting Traffic out of Danger presented by Pamela Murray-Tuite (B)

5. MATS UTC AnnualUse of Graph Theory to quantify resilience in multimodal transportation systems presented by Lindsay Ivey-Burden (A)

6. Utilizing a Neighboring Weighted-Estimation Method for Outlier Detection with a Continuous Compaction Control Data Set presented by Will Baker (A)

7. Accelerating Use of Sustainable Materials in Transportation Infrastructure presented by Zhangfan Jiang (A)

8.  Structural Enhancements to Adapt to Impacts of Climate Change presented by Osman Ozbulut (B)

9. Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Wraps for Next Generation Sustainable and Cost-Effective Rehabilitation of Coastal Transportation Infrastructure in the Mid-Atlantic Region presented by Wael Zatar, Hai Nguyen, and Osman Ozbulut (B)

10. Bacterial Communities in Pavement Concrete Susceptible to ASR presented by Julie Maresca (A)

11. Exploring the use of LIDAR data from Autonomous Cars for Estimating Traffic Flow Parameters and Vehicle Trajectories presented by Reza Nezafat and Mecit Cetin (B)

12. Aerosol Detection in Lidar-Based Atmospheric Profiling presented by Mohamed Elbakary, Khan Iftekharrudin, and Hossam Abdelghafar (A)

13.  Leveraging Connected Vehicles to Enhance Traffic Responsive Traffic Signal Control presented by Andrew Nichols (B)

14. Evaluation of Emergency Vehicle Preemption and Emissions-based Performance Assessment of Traffic Control Using High Resolution Data presented by Andrew Nichols (B)

15. Connected Vehicle Technologies for improving fuel efficiency and durability of Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles presented by Yongqiang (John) Wang (A)

16.  Exploring Environmentally Sustainable Traffic Signal Warrant for Planning Application presented by Seongah Hong (A)

17. Optimizing Isolated Traffic Signal Timing Considering Energy and Environmental Impacts presented by Alvaro J. Calle (A)

18. Development and Testing of Eco-routing and Eco-Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control Systems presented by Ahmed Elbery and Jinghui Wang (A)


Register for the MATS UTC Annual Meeting or Open House August 4-5 in Charlottesville

We are happy to announce that registration is open for the MATS UTC Annual Meeting, August 4-5 in Charlottesville, VA. Following a similar format to last year, we will start at noon on Thursday with a lunch and poster session featuring most of our 30 active or newly completed projects.  Then we’ll have a State of the Center presentation and featured junior faculty speakers from around the region.  The poster session and afternoon sessions will be open to the public as our first MATS UTC Open House.  After a dessert reception and candlelight tours of the UVA Grounds, we will meet Friday morning with break out discussions.  Friday afternoon features a Transportation Sustainability Workshop.  More details are provided below.

We’re staying at The Graduate Hotel and a limited number of rooms are available at the government rate.  Please register for the meeting with the link below and then reserve your $128 hotel room by calling 434-295-4333, option 1 as soon as possible but before June 30, 2016.

MATS UTC Affiliates:
Full Meeting Registration:
MATS UTC faculty, staff and researchers will pay a $50 registration fee.
Students and Advisory Board Members, please register as “Local Government” and select “Pay by Check” to receive complimentary conference registration.

Non-MATS UTC Affiliates:
Open House Registration Only (Free!):
Includes Thursday activities from 12-4:30pm.

(After registering (and paying as appropriate) you will receive an automatic confirmation that suggests that you have signed up for a Transportation Training Academy class.  This confirms your registration to the Annual Meeting.)

More Agenda Details

THURSDAY, August 4

OPEN HOUSE from 12:00-5:00 in Rice Hall on the University of Virginia Grounds in Charlottesville.  Open to all.  Registrations preferred.

12:00-2:00  MATS UTC Research Project Posters  (over 30!) and Lunch

Move to Rice Hall Auditorium.  This portion is available as a webinar:  Register Here

2:15-2:45 State of MATS UTC Presentation (Brian Smith)
2:45-5:00  Emerging Research Areas and Opportunities
                2:45-3:00  Rajesh Paleti, Old Dominion University
                3:00-3:15  Hao Chen, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
                3:15-3:30  Celeste Chavis, Morgan State University
                3:30-3:45 Wrap Up and Audience Discussion
4:00-4:15  Julia Maresca, University of Delaware
                4:15-4:30  Hai Nguyen, Marshall University
                4:30-4:45 Cody Fleming, University of Virginia
                4:45-5:00 Wrap Up and Audience Discussion


5:00-5:15  Announcements (Dinner and Evening Event Logistics; Friday Morning)
Dinner on your own
7:30-9:00 Dessert Reception at the Garden Room on UVA Lawn
9:00-10:15 Candlelight Tours of UVA Grounds

FRIDAY, August 5

7:45-8:30 Breakfast
8:30 Announcements/Break-out Logistics
8:45-9:30 Breakout Session #1
                Breakout A:  Sustainable Freight Movement
                Breakout B:  Coastal Infrastructure Reliability
                Breakout C:  Reaching Underrepresented Groups
                Breakout D:  Technical Transfer
9:30-10:15  Breakout Session #2
                Breakout E:  Energy Efficient Urban Transportation
                Breakout F:  Preserving the Environment
                Breakout G:  Outreach and Collaboration—Internal and External; Academic and Agency
                Breakout H:  Technical Transfer
10:30-11:15  Breakout Session #3
                Breakout I:  Enhanced Water Quality Management
                Breakout J:  Sustainable Land Use Practices
                Breakout K:  Education
                Breakout L:  Technical Transfer
11:15-12:00 Breakout Reports

12:00-1:00 Boxed Lunches
1:00-4:00 Transportation Sustainability Workshop:  Mobile, Wearable Sensing for Sustainable Transportation Systems (Andrew Mondschein)

Information about the 2015 Annual Meeting can be found here.


Looking for Undergraduate Summer Research Internship Program Participants — Apply by February 15!!

The Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability University Transportation Center (MATS UTC) will be hosting an Undergraduate Summer Research Internship Program (USRIP).  Researchers from across the country will be working with faculty and staff at all six MATS UTC consortium universities and the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) on a variety of projects. Rising seniors and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply!

  • Participating Research Facilities: U Delaware, Morgan State, Old Dominion, U Virginia, Marshall, Virginia Tech, VA Transportation Research Council
  • Program dates: May 31 – July 29, 2016
  • Stipend: $4000 + out-of-town housing (a limited number of meal stipends available, if federal aid-qualified)
  • Application requirements:  Application form, Personal statement, Resume, Two letters of recommendation, Unofficial transcript
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2016
  • For more information, please see the application form and last year’s Symposium web page for a video of last summer’s researchers and a list of their projects. Please direct all questions to Dr. Emily Parkany (MATS UTC Managing Director) at

ODU TRI Director Dr. Cetin to Chair a January 10th Workshop on Big Data Analytics at the TRB Annual Meeting

The Annual TRB Meeting will be held in Washington D.C. on January 10-14, 2016. Dr. Mecit Cetin (Old Dominion University) will preside over “Big Data Analytics and Applications: The Role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning” on Sunday, January 10th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Convention Center (Event 109).

This workshop is focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for turning high volumes of fast-moving and diverse transportation data into useful information. Advanced data survey and analytics techniques and their applications to various emerging big datasets (e.g., trajectory, social media, mobile sensing, connected and automated vehicles) and the potential of big data in supporting various needs, e.g., performance measures, forecasting, real-time control, are explored.

 The detailed program can be found here

Thirteen Presentations at TRB Related to MATS UTC

The following nine papers were all accepted for the 2016 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting to be held January 10-14, 2016 in Washington, D.C. This meeting includes over 11,000 participants and over 500 technical sessions.   These papers were submitted for consideration by August 1, 2015 when the Center was a year old. We are excited about this success related to our one-year old University Transportation Center.

  • Green, A., H. Park, D. Recht, B. Smith, “Investigating Cost Savings Expected from Connected Vehicle-Enabled Applications:  Virtual Dynamic Message Sign System Case Study” A. Green worked on this paper as a MATS UTC Undergraduate Summer Researcher.
  • Babiceanu, S., D. Gonzales, E. Parkany, B. Hungate, “Assessing the Wider Economic Benefits of Intelligent Transportation System Deployments: A Virginia Case Study” D. Gonzales and B. Hungate worked on this paper as MATS UTC Undergraduate Summer Researchers.
  • Parkany, E, “Webinars, Advisory Boards, T2 Implementation Plans and other Examples of University Technical Transfer Best Practices” MATS UTC Managing Director E. Parkany wrote this based on experiences with the regional UTC.
  • Project: Structural Enhancements to Adapt to Impacts of Climate Change
    Khakimova, E., Sherif, M., Tanks, J. D., Ozbulut, O. E., Harris, D. K., Ozyildirim, H. C. “Feasibility of using shape memory alloys as fiber reinforcement in concrete.”
  • Project:  Enhancing Traffic Control Systems to Reduce Emissions and Fuel Consumption
    Chou, J. and A. Nichols, “Characterizing Emergency Vehicle Preemption Operation Using High-Resolution Traffic Signal Event Data”
    Hong, S., J. Hu, B. Park, “Development and Evaluation of Environmentally Sustainable Traffic Signal Warrant for Planning Application”
    Laguna A., Rakha H., and Du J. (2016), “Optimizing Isolated Traffic Signal Timing Considering Energy and Environmental Impacts,” Accepted for presentation at the 95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington DC, January 10-14. [Paper # 16-1092]
  •  Project: Multimodal Freight Distribution to Support Increased Port Operations
    Makahon, I, Cetin, M, Ng, M.W., Nguyen, D.T., “Unloading and Premarshalling Algorithms with Java Computer Animation for Terminal Yard Operations”
  •  Project: Virginia Sustainable Travel Choices: Effects of Land Use and Location on Current and Future Travel Options
    Mondschein, A. and E. Parkany, “Hitting the Sweet Spot: Variability in Commute Lengths and Vehicle Emissions across a Diverse State”
  • Project: Alternative Fuels Usage in Maritime Transportation Systems
    E. Carr, J. Corbett, “Assessment of Potential Emissions from LNG as a Marine Fuel in the Inland Rivers”
  • Project: Network-wide Impacts of Eco-routes and Route Choice Behavior/Evaluation of AERIS Applications
    Elhenawy M. and Rakha H. (2016), “Expected Travel Time and Reliability Prediction using Mixture Linear Regression,” Accepted for presentation at the 95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington DC, January 10-14. [Paper # 16-2813]
    Elhenawy M. and Rakha H. (2016), “Traffic Stream Speed Short-term Prediction using Machine Learning Techniques: I-66 Case Study,” Accepted for presentation at the 95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington DC, January 10-14. [Paper # 16-3805]
    Venkat Ala M., Yang H., and Rakha H. (2016), “Sensitivity Analysis of Eco-Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control at Signalized Intersections,” Accepted for presentation at the 95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington DC, January 10-14. [Paper # 16-2891]

DCT, IPA , MU Research Team Collaborate on MATS UTC Project

[Material taken from University of Delaware Center for Transportation Studies Newsletter:]

By Bill Stavru

Researchers from UD’s Delaware Center for Transportation (DCT) and the Institute for Public Administration (IPA), along with collaborators from Marshall University’s Rahall Transportation Institute in West Virginia, have been conducting research on the use of smart growth scorecards/assessment tools to advance sustainable land-use practices. Funded by the Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability (MATS) University Transportation Center, the research team is studying how the concept of smart growth and scorecards/assessment tools have co-evolved and are currently being used to assess state, regional, and local sustainability goals.

The core principles of smart growth support landuse management practices that foster mixed-use development, a range of transportation options, pedestrian-scale development, and efficient, compact land use. Because smart growth has significant environmental, economic, and social benefits for communities that choose to curtail sprawl and implement more sustainable land-use practices, its principles are widely accepted and have been advanced in the past several decades by advocacy groups and professionals across all sectors.

To provide communities a means to measure the extent to which plans and policies have achieved local sustainability goals, smart growth scorecards and other assessment tools have been developed by federal, state, and local governments; metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), regional councils of government; and advocacy groups like Smart Growth America. However, many static, paper-based or early geographic information systems (GIS)–based analytical tools that were created and lauded as “best practices” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the late 1990s and early 2000s are now out of date and no longer used.

Few studies have examined whether policy implementation tools provided a method for determining how well communities were meeting sustainability goals, or gauged how new focuses of smart growth align with the contemporary use of smart growth assessment tools. Consequently, the research team is investigating the development, evolution, and use of smart growth scorecards/assessment tools. As part of the study, the research team developed an electronic survey on the current use of smart growth scorecards/assessment tools. The survey was distributed broadly to approximately 250 state, regional, and local land-use and transportation planning practitioners and smart growth advocates in the Mid-Atlantic region.

In addition, to explore the extent to which digital tools are produced, socialized, and used, the research team conducted informational phone interviews with two separate regional planning organizations that have an extensive, sophisticated digital presence. Staff members were interviewed at the New England Sustainable Knowledge Corridor, which represents three regional planning agencies across central Connecticut and western Massachusetts. The second interview was with staff members at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, a metropolitan planning organization that serves Philadelphia and its bordering counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

Last, the research team examined the EPA’s use of GIS–based analytic tools. EPA has been involved in the creation of tools and models used to measure land use change and transportation efficiency. The research team studied the EPA’s shift from its use of the Smart Growth INDEX® (SGI), a GIS sketch tool, to its current use of the Smart Location Database (SLD) to address the growing demand for data products and tools that consistently compare the location efficiency of various places.

Preliminary findings show that smart growth and scorecards/assessment tools have co-evolved in recent years and have tremendous potential to not only perform expected analyses, such as quantifying performance on key indicators of sustainability, but also to better educate and engage the public–a smart growth principle that previously has been difficult to operationalize–through scenario planning and the development of interactive, visualization tools.  Further digital assessment tools are offering a much needed, dynamic platform with which to satisfy mandates for increased transparency, accountability, and public engagement.

Members of the University of Delaware research team are Marcia Scott, policy scientist with the Institute for Public Administration (IPA); Mingxin Li, postdoctoral research fellow at the Delaware Center for Transportation; Philip Barnes, postdoctoral fellow with IPA; and Bill Stavru, graduate research fellow with IPA.

UD article 2 UD article UD article 3

The graphics are Web-Based Interactive Smart Growth Maps, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission:



2015 MATS UTC Annual Meeting to be held August 6-7

Undergraduate and graduate students, faculty researchers and other consortium members will come together on August 6-7 in Wilmington, DE for the first MATS UTC Annual Meeting. In addition to transacting the official business of the center, the two-day event is an opportunity for consortium members from six partner universities to share ideas and to plot future directions for transportation research and engineering.

Day 1 of the meeting features a panel on emerging research in transportation sustainability. Experts from across the country will provide their insights on sustainable freight movement, coastal infrastructure reliability, energy efficient urban transportation, enhanced water quality management and sustainable land use practices in a session called “Emerging Research in Transportation Sustainability” that will be simultaneously broadcasted as a webinar. Register here.

The opening lunch includes poster presentations by students and their faculty advisors on twenty MATS UTC-funded research projects.

Day 2 focuses on small and large group discussions to identify strategic research needs that will create innovative approaches to transportation sustainability, specifically targeting transportation issues that have a direct impact on the mid-Atlantic region. Day 2 also features a State of the Center address by Brian Smith, P.E., MATS UTC Strategic Director.

Presentations on Regional, State and Local Perspectives on Infrastructure Impacts of Sea Level Rise will take place on Day 2 from 4-5 pm, and this will be also broadcasted as a webinar. Register here.

Meeting organizer, Ellen Pletz of the University of Delaware’s Center for Transportation, explains that, “the goal of the annual meeting is to create opportunities for our consortium researchers to meet face-to-face and to build upon their collective knowledge. Our hope is that these discussions will lay the groundwork for collaborative projects that leverage the expertise of each researcher and the technical strengths of each university.”

At the conclusion of the Annual Meeting, optional sustainability training will be provided for attendees who are interested in the infrastructure impacts of sea level rise.

Click here for additional information about the Annual Meeting or contact Ellen Pletz at or 302-831-1446.