PacTrans News

  • April 23, 2015

    Tuesday, 4/28: Dr. Imad Al-Qadi, PacTrans Transportation Seminar

    If you are unable to attend in person but would still like to hear the talk, the seminar will be broadcast for live viewing. Watch the seminar online at 9:30 a.m. PST.


    Organized by

    The Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans)
    USDOT University Transportation Center for Federal Region 10

    Presentation Title

    Transportation Infrastructure Assessment Techniques Using Ground Penetrating Radar


    The continuous monitoring of transportation infrastructure is necessary to maintain a durable and safe system. Many noninvasive techniques have been used including instrumentation, acoustic emission, infrared, and electromagnetic waves.  Ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology based on electromagnetic waves has been used to assess the performance of transportation facilities for the past three decades. After all this time, the main question remains: “How well does GPR work and under what conditions?” Results show that while GPR works well for some situations, it is not appropriate for others. GPR has been successfully used for bridge and pavement assessment, primarily for estimating layer thickness and localizing moisture accumulation within structure layers. However, GPR data interpretation is often difficult because the “images” obtained from GPR-reflected signals are dependent on the priori unknown dielectric properties of structural materials. In addition, GPR cannot detect layer interfaces unless a significant contrast in the dielectric constants exists between the two considered materials. GPR data analysis can also be cumbersome and unreliable due to the large amount of data collected during the surveys. Various signal and data processing techniques have been developed to estimate the dielectric properties of surveyed structures from GPR reflected signals. These processing techniques have been successfully used to enhance the accuracy of GPR data interpretation results and to improve the quality of the GPR signal. Among his diverse research interests, Dr. Al-Qadi has been working on GPR research for more than two decades. He is currently working on utilizing GPR data to predict in-situ real-time asphaltic material density. Dr. Al-Qadi will discuss the recently developed techniques and their field application for quality control/quality assurance, predicting the layer thicknesses of pavement systems, detecting flaws, and predicting density of asphalt concrete.


    Professor Imad Al-Qadi is the Founder Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also the Director of the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory (ATREL) and the founding Director of the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT). Prior to that, he was the Charles E. Via, Jr. Professor at Virginia Tech. A registered professional engineer, Professor Al-Qadi has authored/co-authored more than 550 publications and has delivered more than 550 presentations including numerous keynote lectures. He has led more than 100 projects to completion. In addition, he is managing more than 60 projects annually as an ICT director since 2006. He is the past president of the ASCE T&DI Board of Governors and the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Pavement Engineering. Professor Al-Qadi has received numerous prestigious national and international honors and awards including the NSF Young Investigator Award, the quadrennial IGS Award, the ASCE James Laurel Prize, the ARTBA Steinberg Award, the ASCE Turner Award, and the French Limoges Medal. He is a Chapter Honorary Member of Chi Epsilon at the University of Illinois, an Honorary Member of the Societa Italiana Infrastructure Viarie, Emeritus Member of TRB Committee AHD25 on Sealants and Fillers for Joints and Cracks, and an Honorary Professor at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2010 he was elected as an ASCE Distinguished Member, the highest honor by ASCE, for his exemplary leadership and innovation in the civil engineering profession. Dr. Al-Qadi holds a B.S. degree from Yarmouk University and M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees from Penn State University, all in civil engineering. His expertise are on highway and airfield pavement mechanics, tire loading, fracture, and interface, GPR, asphalt rheology, pavement sustainability, and forensic engineering and arbitration.

    For questions, please contact Maria Bayya, assistant director for PacTrans, at or (206) 685‐6648.

  • April 21, 2015

    PacTrans Student Leadership Training: Marsha Anderson Bomar and the Language of Leadership

    Marsha Anderson Bomar is a transportation entrepreneur, leader, and trailblazer for women in transportation engineering with a list of awards and recognitions that rivals the length of a term paper. To get to where she is today, Anderson Bomar recognizes the importance of developing strong communication skills for career and leadership success. For the PacTrans Student Leadership Training on April 20, Anderson Bomar critically examined the way language can work for and against us, the communication differences between men and women, and what students can do now to build skills to grow as strong leaders.

    Of particular focus were the challenges faced by women in light of different communication styles. For instance, Anderson Bomar explained that women “often start off with words that weaken what we say, even if we’re sure.” I think, I believe, I guess all become disclaimers in the way women introduce ideas.

    “If the idea is even worthy of being spoken, don’t undermine it,” said Anderson Bomar. She offered a more confident way of posing an idea: “I have an idea I would like to run by you. It may need some refining, but it’s good.”

    In addition to gender, generational differences offer an opportunity to bridge the language style divide. Anderson Bomar cited sports as a galvanizing force of the baby boomer generation. By using sports-oriented terms such as “game plan,” one can appeal to and incite action in this age group, particularly with men.

    Anderson Bomar also offered suggestions for how students can prepare for leadership now, including practicing public speaking. Also, when the opportunity for volunteering to participate on a project arises, say yes. Eventually, volunteer to lead a project and in the process, Anderson Bomar explained, students will simultaneously learn and build confidence.


  • April 15, 2015

    PacTrans Newsletter – Issue #11 now available

    Read the April 2015 PacTrans newsletter here.

  • April 14, 2015

    Region 10 Transportation Safety Workshop

    Time: 8:00am – 4:00pm on May 5, 2015

    Location: Talaris Conference Center
    4000 NE 41st Street
    Seattle, WA 98105


    This Region 10 Transportation Safety Workshop is jointly organized by PacTrans, ITE Washington, ITE Oregon, ITE Idaho, and ITE Alaska. PacTrans is the Region 10 University Transportation Center funded by the US Department of Transportation with approximately $2.6 million per year. The main purposes of this workshop include:

    1. Bring agency, industry, and university people together to identify the most critical regional transportation safety issues that should be on the PacTrans’ research agenda
    2. Exchange success stories and ongoing efforts in addressing critical safety problems
    3. Set up collaborative partnerships in transportation safety research and education.

    The final product of this workshop will be a list of prioritized research topics under each research category (safe user, safe infrastructure, and safe operation). This list will be an important document for setting up PacTrans’ future research directions.


    The current PacTrans center theme is Developing Data Driven Solutions and Decision-Making for Safe Transport. PacTrans will spend funds to address the safety and security needs of our road users (vehicle occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists), road infrastructure (pavement, bridges, tunnels), and multi-modal operations (intersection, freight, rural, and urban mobility). All workshop participants will be assigned into one of the three working groups: safe user, safe infrastructure, and safe operations for the afternoon breakout sessions. We encourage workshop participants to discuss with your colleagues the critical safety problems your agency or company wants to address and bring them to our group discussions.

    8:00 – 8:30AM Networking Continental Breakfast
    8:30 – 9:00AM Welcome and Overview of PacTrans Safety Projects
    9:00 – 9:30AM Transportation Safety Priorities – Federal Perspective
    9:30 – 10:00AM Transportation Safety Priorities – State Perspective
    10:00 – 10:15AM Break
    10:15 – 11:15AM Transportation Agency Panel
    11:15 – 12:15PM ITE Panel
    12:15 – 1:15PM Lunch – Transportation Technology/Safety Updates
    1:15 – 3:10PM Breakout Sessions Addressing Specific Research and Education Needs
    3:10 – 3:25PM Break
    3:25 – 3:55PM Summarize Discussions from Breakout Sessions
    3:55 – 4:00PM Closing Remarks
    4:00PM Adjourn


  • April 13, 2015

    PacTrans and WSTIP Form Research Partnership

    The Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP) consists of 25 Washington public transit agencies that pool their resources in order to provide and purchase insurance coverage, manage claims and litigation, and receive risk management and training. Nearly $7 million a year is paid for third party property damage and bodily injury claims against WSTIP members. In order to mitigate transit related collisions and enhance traffic safety, WSTIP and PacTrans are establishing a collaborative research partnership to test transit vehicle collision avoidance systems. As part of this effort, Mr. Jerry Spears, Deputy Director of WSTIP, invited PacTrans Director, Professor Yinhai Wang, to attend the WSTIP Board’s Executive Meeting on March 26. Dr. Wang delivered a speech at the Work Session to introduce PacTrans and its past and active research on transportation safety. There is a clear need for WSTIP and PacTrans to partner for transit related safety research. Dr. Wang’s introductory presentation helped the WSTIP board understand PacTrans and its research strengths, and laid a foundation for future collaborative activities.


1 2 3 19