PacTrans News

  • May 20, 2014

    PacTrans-Sponsored Transportation Seminar with Dr. Stephen Boyles from the University of Texas at Austin

    Dr. Stephen Boyles from the University of Texas at Austin gave a talk to transportation students and faculty at a PacTrans-sponsored transportation seminar on May 16 about uncertainty in travel demand forecasts. Around 30 people were in attendance. Typically, forecasts in travel demand appear in hindsight to have been too optimistic, which has often been attributed to planners personal biases in favor of certain projects. Dr. Boyles presented a hypothesis that the consistent optimism may actually be due to random errors in project evaluations combined with a deterministic project selection process. He has demonstrated that this could be the case by both theoretical deduction and computer simulations. Hopefully this could lead to new forecasting methodology that isn’t systematically biased. Also discussed was the need for distributions of predictions as opposed to an over reliance on point estimates. We would like to thank Dr. Boyles for coming and giving this highly informative talk about what is going on at the cutting edge of transportation research.

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  • May 12, 2014

    Jeff Busby from TransLink Talks to Transportation Graduate Seminar

    On May 2, Jeff Busby, Senior Manager, Project Development at TransLink in Vancouver, BC, came and talked to the University of Washington transportation graduate students at the graduate transportation seminar. He gave a very interesting talk about how areas in Metro Vancouver are using transit stations to stimulate better development and the relationship between development and transportation infrastructure. This is important because Metro Vancouver is projected to grow over the next 30 years, meaning that there will be an increase in the number of trips taken. TransLink hopes that the increase in person trips won’t result in an increase in vehicle trips. Achieving this goal involves everything from designing transit station access to choosing which benches to put at stations. The talk was an excellent opportunity for students to learn about issues in the transportation industry, and how those issues are being solved. One interesting thing about TransLink is that it is organized differently than many of its North American counterparts, as they fulfill the roles of both an MPO and a transit system operator, and also fund a lot of road infrastructure. This enables a degree of coordination that would be impractical in many jurisdictions. We would like to thank Jeff for speaking to our students, as it was a great experience for them.

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  • April 28, 2014

    STAR Lab Participates in UW Engineering Discovery Days

    PacTrans  joined in the celebration of UW Engineering Discovery Days.  Engineers and scientists from across campus displayed their most engaging research and projects during the 2 day event held from April 25-26, 2014.  This event was free and open to the public with almost 600 students, parents and  faculty in attendance.  Some of the highlights included a PacTrans research project with a  display of an earthquake table used by structural engineers to test how structures will withstand earthquakes. This sort of testing is crucial to figuring out how well a structure, such as a bridge, would be able to withstand a major natural disaster.  STAR Lab as well as other labs conducting research demonstrated their research to people of all ages as well. The STAR Lab demonstrated video-based pedestrian detection systems, controllers used for traffic signals, and let kids play “Traffic Hero,” a game similar to Guitar Hero in which players try to detect cars along with the detection system and score points if they can correctly do so.

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  • April 15, 2014

    Pactrans Seminar Series: Making transportation analysis count – Bridging the gap between politics & planning

    Please join us in welcoming Dr. Joe Schofer from the Northwestern University. He will be giving a talk on Friday, May 30th in the HUB (room 334) on the UW Seattle Campus from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. There will be a reception immediately following the talk. The talk is free and everyone is welcome.

    For more information on Dr. Schofer’s talk, click here.

  • April 11, 2014

    PacTrans at the UW Paws-on Science weekend held at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle

    PacTrans was among more than 30 research groups from the UW who shared their research at the annual Paws on Science weekend at the Pacific Science Center this year, from April 4-6, 2014. The exhibit, titled “Red Light Green Light” was co-sponsored by PacTrans and the STAR Lab, a University of Washington transportation research lab led by Dr. Yinhai Wang. Several STAR lab researchers volunteered their time over the weekend to speak with families and school groups about safe and sustainable transportation research in the region. Interactive pedestrian detection and the Drive Net transportation data analysis, visualization, and mapping platform were among the highlights of the exhibit. This weekend event was a great opportunity to engage the next generation of engineers and scientists in the research and development at the UW through hands-on activities and demonstrations. The Paws on Science event was very well attended, with over 11,000 adults and children participating over the weekend.

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