PacTrans News

  • December 11, 2014

    PacTrans-Sponsored Transportation Seminar: Dr. Yafeng Yin, University of Florida


  • December 10, 2014

    Dr. Dan Work Visits PacTrans STAR Lab, Presents Seminar

    On November 11, Dr. Dan Work, assistant professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering and research assistant professor at the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, visited the PacTrans STAR Lab. Dr. Work met with Dr. Yinhai Wang, PacTrans director, to learn more about the research program and activities. While at the lab, Dr. Work also presented a seminar, “Estimating traffic incidents and quantifying resilience to events,” that outlined new approaches to monitor traffic in the presence of incidents and events.

    Dr. Work received his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, each in civil engineering. Work was a guest researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond in 2010 and a visiting researcher at Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto from 2008-2010. His research interests are control, estimation, and optimization of transportation systems, mobile sensing, and inverse modeling and data assimilation.

    Dan Work PacTrans talk

  • December 4, 2014

    PacTrans Sponsors TransOvation Workshop

    The fourth annual Dr. J. Don Brock TransOvation Workshop was held November 17 – 19, 2014 at Microsoft Corporate Headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Transportation design and construction professionals gathered to hear from private sector and government thought leaders, learn how Microsoft is impacting infrastructure, and discuss the potential impact of big data and other technological and social changes on transportation over the next 15 years.  PacTrans was pleased to be a co-sponsor of this important event.

    Greg Nadeau, acting administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, and Ross Smith, director of test at Microsoft, delivered the keynote presentations at the TransOvation Workshop. Lynn Peterson, secretary at the Washington State Department of Transportation, Kirk T. Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, and several other industry leaders also presented and shared their vision and experience on big data applications in transportation.

    Dr. Yinhai Wang, PacTrans director, presented in the “Big Data, New Technologies and Transportation Infrastructure” panel and discussed the challenges and opportunities for transportation professionals in harnessing big data.


  • November 20, 2014

    PacTrans Regional Transportation Seminar: Dr. Michael Cassidy from UC Berkeley

    Dr. Michael Cassidy is Chancellor’s Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, and Director of the University of California Center on Economic Competitiveness in Transportation.

    PacTrans hosted Dr. Michael Cassidy of UC Berkeley, professor and director of the Region 9 University Transportation Center funded by US Department of Transportation, on November 5 for his lecture entitled “Lessons Learned from Spatiotemporal Studies of Freeway Carpool Lanes.” (Watch the recorded seminar here).

    PacTrans UTC Regional Transportation Seminar

    Virtually all cities of the world are plagued by cross-modal conflicts on roadways. Our best hope to make cities more sustainable, explained Dr. Michael Cassidy, will be to tackle the low-hanging fruit of segregating distinct travel modes on roadways into their own reserved lanes. While bus lanes and carpool lanes are not new, Dr. Cassidy looked at freeway carpool lanes as case studies to examine how reserved lanes can be used to segregate distinct travel modes in ways that are Pareto improving, and mistakes made in practice that can diminish the effectiveness of reserved lanes.

    Freeway carpool lanes are often met with controversy, as concerns exist that underuse of such lanes can lead to congestion. To truly understand the impact of underused carpool lanes on congestion, Dr. Cassidy asserted that spatiotemporal data must be analyzed. Spatiotemporal study shows that a continuous-access carpool lane triggers reductions in vehicle lane-changing maneuvers, and the reduced lane-changing can “smooth” and increase bottleneck discharge flows in a freeway’s regular lanes. Even underused carpool lanes can decrease both the people-hours and the vehicle-hours traveled by smoothing cross-modal conflicts.

    Dr. Cassidy also demonstrated how certain practices, due to the friction effect, can degrade the effectiveness of carpool lanes. Citing a California policy to improve carpool-lane speeds, spatiotemporal traffic data demonstrated that the mandate to evict certain hybrid vehicles from carpool lanes caused expanded queues in regular lanes during the rush. This, in turn, slowed vehicles in adjacent carpool lanes.

    Watch the full seminar.

    PacTrans UTC Regional Transportation Seminar


  • November 17, 2014

    PacTrans Conference Newsletter now available

    On October 17, 2014, the second annual PacTrans Region 10 Transportation Conference was held at the University of Washington. The conference, entitled “The IOUs of Safety – Infrastructure, Operations, and Users,” brought together leaders in the field of transportation safety. Read our special conference report for a recap of the sessions.

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