PacTrans News

  • August 28, 2015

    UAF Engineering Team Takes First Place in Regional Steel Bridge Competition

    Students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Engineering and Mines won first place in all categories for their steel bridge entry in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Northwest Conference.

    Every year, the ASCE issues a new set of rules designed to challenge young engineering students. Students apply must apply concepts learned in the classroom and develop a competitive and innovative scale-model steel bridge that is within the guidelines set.

    At the competition, the bridge is then scored on many different factors, such as weight and rigidity, construction speed and even the number of team members building the bridge. The UAF team led the way in all areas from overall performance to structural efficiency and even aesthetics.


    Photo by JR Ancheta/UAF

    “The bridge weighed less than 120 pounds and was assembled at the competition with only three team members in less than 17 minutes,” noted team captain Daniel Hjortstorp. “We scored 40% better than even second place”.

    The conference was held at Idaho State University, where 13 different Universities from the region convened to compete in many challenges, including a concrete canoe competition.  This was UAF’s second year competing in the concrete canoe challenge and they earned 4th place.

    “Our success is built on camaraderie and team-spirit…build a team and the project will build itself,” says Hjortstorp. “Our countless hours spent designing and constructing taught us a lot about what a team with a common goal can accomplish.”

    The UAF Steel Bridge team will go on to compete in the national competition on May 22 at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

    In addition to Hjortstorp, student members of the Steel Bridge Team are:

    Will Riley*, a senior in mechanical engineering
    Elliot Anderson*, a junior in civil engineering
    Nathan Goering*, a senior in civil engineering
    Nathaniel Barnett*, a freshman in mechanical engineering
    Chase Delatush*, a junior in mechanical engineering
    Catherine Estus*, a sophomore in civil engineering
    Zack Sherman, a junior in construction management
    Scott Taylor, a freshman in civil engineering
    Alexa Hinzman, a senior in civil engineering
    Fei Li, a graduate student in civil engineering
    Doug Keller, a sophomore in mechanical engineering
    Krish Balasubramanian, a graduate student in civil engineering
    Daniel Bozone, a sophomore in civil engineering
    Ryan Burnham, a sophomore in civil engineering

    *The core team members

  • August 20, 2015

    Hybrid Poster Session: Call for Abstracts



    To raise the visibility and awareness of PacTrans sponsored research at all participating campuses.


    One presenter from each poster will have 60 seconds at the podium to provide an innovative introduction to their poster. The moderator will time each presenter and will end each presentation promptly at 60 seconds. Technical summary descriptions of the research are strongly discouraged, however, poems, dance, skits, humor, and any novel approach is highly encouraged. The intention of these brief presentations is to spark interest in conference participants so that they will wander by your poster during the remainder of the hybrid poster session.

    Date and Time

    During the PacTrans Regional Transportation Conference on October 16, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

    Submission Requirements

    Title of poster, list of co-authors, and a maximum 250 word abstract submitted via email to Maria Bayya,

    Submission Deadline

    August 28, 2015 by 5 p.m. PST.

  • August 10, 2015

    Friday, 8/14: Dr. Simon Washington, PacTrans Seminar


    Organized by

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

    Presentation Title

    The Effect of Government Policy on the Promotion of Energy Efficient Vehicles


    A wide range of government policies have been implemented around the world to increase demand for energy efficient vehicles (EEVs) including cash rebates, reduced sales taxes, registration fee waivers, and toll road exemptions. Despite these efforts, the available literature analyzing the effects of these incentive policies on EEV demand is quite limited.  Further complicating matter is that EEV marketplaces are dynamic, and sales prices of EEVs may fluctuate in response to government incentives, since increase demand can influence market forces to in turn increase EEV prices. A comprehensive analysis that examines the influence of EEV policies on market demand, therefore, must account for possible endogeneity between market demand and sales prices.  In this presentation, I examine and estimate the effects of different types of government incentives on both EEV demand (market and fleet penetration), and EEV price premiums across 15 metropolitan regions from 2008 to 2012. Using error components three stage least squares, I dis-entangle the endogeneity between EEV demand and price, and quantify the effects of a variety of additional factors that influence both price and demand including inflation rates, population density, and fuel costs. Up-front one-time subsidies such as cash rebates increase EEV market penetration by 1.4% and fleet penetration by 0.3%, however, unlike other types of incentives, also lead to 11.3% higher price premiums.


    Simon_washingtonDr. Simon Washington Professor Washington holds the ASTRA Chair at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He contributes to the fields of behavioural econometrics in transport safety and risk analysis, urban planning, evaluation, and travel behaviour. He is Associate Editor of two leading international transport journals (Journal of Sustainable Transport; and the J of Anal Meth in Acc Res), Editorial Board Member of four leading international journals (Acc Anal & Prev,Trans Res A and C, and the J Trans& Stat). He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings, a 2ndedition of a textbook adopted in over 20 countries (1000+ citations), and 6 book chapters. His work has been cited by more than 4000 other transport researchers. He has been lead CI on $28 Million on externally supported research and has secured nationally competitive Australian research grants from the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, and Cooperative Research Centres programs, and in the US including the US National Academy of Sciences, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (US), and the Federal Highway Administration (US). Prior to joining QUT he served on the faculties of UC Berkeley, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

  • August 5, 2015

    WSU Student Awarded Dwight David Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship

    James Amundsen, recent Washington State University BS in Civil Engineering graduate, received the 2015 Dwight David Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship. The Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program competitively awards fellowships to students who are pursuing transportation-related degrees, and attracts the brightest minds to the field of transportation and research while advancing workforce development.


    Amundsen will begin his graduate studies at WSU this semester and will perform a research assistantship under Dr. Haifang Wen, focusing on the evaluation of the effects of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) on the fatigue performance of hot-mix and warm-mix asphalt.


  • July 29, 2015

    PacTrans Sponsors, Demonstrates Lab at ITS America Symposium

    The ITS America Symposium on Building a Smart, Diverse, and Shared Travel Network, held July 16 – 17 at the University of Washington, brought transportation professionals from both public and private sectors together to discuss shared-use mobility and technology-driven solutions. The symposium featured a variety of panels and speakers, and keynote addresses were delivered by Regina Hopper, President and CEO, ITS America, Scott Kubly, Director, Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Hon. Secretary Lynn Peterson, Washington State Department of Transportation. Dr. Yinhai Wang, PacTrans Director, provided closing remarks and described the center’s work and research.


    PacTrans, a sponsor of the event, provided a technical tour of the STAR Lab to symposium participants.  Attendees learned about the lab’s work supporting advanced ITS research, cultivating ITS professionals, exploring effective solutions to transportation problems, and constructing a bridge between the UW and agencies of transportation practice. Specific research work demonstrated included UAV-based traffic data collection, Media Access Control (MAC) address sensing for multi-modal data collection, Microsoft Kinect-based pedestrian detection, and the Digital Roadway Interactive Visualization and Evaluation Network (DRIVE Net).

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