Road Warriors: Students Probe Transportation Issues

One of the most productive research areas at NJIT is transportation, drawing expertise from such diverse areas as architecture, civil engineering, management, and electrical engineering. A major component of the university’s outreach programs addressing questions of economic development, quality of life, and productivity in the region, transportation research was a major theme at the recent Dana Knox Student Research Showcase. Student researchers included:

Eugene Maina, doctoral student in transportation engineering, investigated the relationship between capacity and safety on freeways in New Jersey. He found that the number of crashes increased with the road capacity, while lower-capacity roads had a lower crash rate indicating that congestion may result in reduced speeds and a lower number of accidents. Associate Professor Janice Daniel is his advisor.

Civil Engineering’s Bridge Scour TeamJoshua Tooker, master’s student, seniors Shu Yi Tham, Melissa Salsano, and Piotr Wiszowaty led by Professor John Schuring – presented two projects dealing with the erosion around bridges that can cause damage and even failure. Tham presented the team’s survey of scour design and evaluation methods currently used by transportation agencies. Tooker presented findings that current methods tend to overestimate scour which leads to excessively conservative design. The team’s recommendations include new procedures for scour evaluation and a Decision Matrix Model to allow NJDOT to prioritize existing bridges for remediation and better predict scour for new bridges.

Zhaodong Huang, PhD student in transportation engineering advised by Associate Professor Rongfang Liu, developed a new method for measuring the performance of Automated People Movers (APMs) in airports. He proposes a composite index that incorporates system availability, system safety, customer satisfaction and utilization rate to be used to measure the engineering efficiency  of APM systems in airports.

Sim Liu, doctoral student in transportation engineering, developed a Drainage Information, Analysis and Mapping (DIAM) system to evaluate New Jersey’s aging storm water drainage infrastructure. Professor Jay Meegoda is his advisor.

Manvi Saran, master’s student in environmental engineer advised by Professor Taha Marhaba, studied ways in which NJDOT could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their highway maintenance and construction projects.

Hifeng Yu, doctoral student in transportation, developed a Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) to deal with winter weather events in New Jersey. His advisor is Professor I. J. Chien.