Transportation Engineering Masters Projects

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 14
  • Publication
    Over-Citing or Under-Citing? A GIS-based Analysis of the Relationship Between Crashes and Citations
    (2019-01-01) Page, Mitchell
    In July of 2017, the Boston Globe published an article titled “Driving Through These Towns in Mass.? Watch Your Speed” [1] that among other elements, included a series of maps and a brief summary identifying Massachusetts municipalities that had the most traffic violations issued between 2010 and 2016. The article stated that the Massachusetts State Police issued the most citations of any police agency in the state, and that many citations were given along major highways, especially Interstate 90 and major highways and routes that intersect it, such as Interstate 84 and Route 20. Despite the public attention-grabbing nature of the article, and the implication that traffic citations are being used as a mechanism of revenue generation, the article stops short of discussing the different types of citations, or the resulting roadway safety trends in those same areas.
  • Publication
    (2019-01-01) Parthasarthy, Aamani Ramanathan
    Traffic Control Devices (TCDs) are integral to driver-to-infrastructure (D2I) and vehicleto- infrastructure (V2I) interactions. The non-conformation (or non-perception) with signage on the part of the driver leads to several compounded safety problems. The need exists for a more robust, low-cost, and user-centric mechanism of delivering information to the driver that can directly bear on the safety of the driver. Technology has now advanced to the point where we can deliver information from a real-world physical environment to the driver in a non-invasive manner using holographic display [1]. With this rapid advancement in-vehicle display (IVD) technology, the transportation industry must undergo a transition period before entering the world of connected and autonomous vehicles. Here, the integration of IVD in vehicles will play major role. The advantage here is the level of flexibility and control offered by dynamic IVD which allows us to provide very specific traffic control information to the driver at situations and epochs deemed appropriate. The research questions will be focused on how such safety-critical traffic control information (and what specific information) can be delivered effectively to the driver using dynamic IVD without causing any form of distraction or engagement related problems. Vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit present an optimal application. In regards to the hierarchy of TCDs, there is an urgent need for drivers to comply to speed limits. According to NHTSA, 26% of traffic fatalities in 2017 resulted from crashes where at least one of drivers’ was speeding [2]. In addition to this, the act of unintentional speeding has been identified in research as the most frequent driving violation [3]. This forms the primary objective, which is to investigate the driver behavior and compliance to IVD speed alerts. This research investigates the characteristics of visual cues that minimize the drivers’ perception time without adding to the redundant visual clutter at the same time accounting the safety aspects required in a driving environment. This research endeavor evaluated drivers in a controlled environment using a full-scale driving simulator with active in-vehicle displays and eye-tracking equipment. The experiment investigated driving parameters such as head/eye movements, vehicle handling measures, task-engagement behaviors, and physiological parameters. Ultimately, the goal of this study was to understand driver sign compliance with the implementation of IVD in the driving simulator environment. The results were helpful to gain a better understanding of drivers’ responsiveness depending on the nature of the cue.
  • Publication
    (2019-01-01) Ryan, Alyssa M.
    Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, have become increasingly utilized for a myriad of applications in the vicinity of the roadway and can offer a low-cost alternative to many labor-intensive data collection techniques, including infrastructure inspection, roadway marking data collection, and more. To collect much of this data with a desired degree of accuracy, UAS must be flown near moving vehicles, pedestrians, and/or bicyclists. However, UAS, and their pilot/crew, have the potential to be a distraction to drivers. A study by Hurwitz et al. suggests that UAS operations are more distracting to drivers as the UAS traverses closer to the roadway laterally. Through a combined literature review and full-immersion driver simulator study, this study furthered the current state-ofthe-literature and investigated the potential for UAS to be flown near roadways in the future as well as potential safety implications of those circumstances. Specifically, driver performance due to drone height and the presence of drone operators was evaluated. The literature synthesis portion of this research revealed that UAS flights in the vicinity of roadways will continue to increase. The results of the driving simulation study showed that participants were more visually distracted in situations where the pilot and drone were both present compared to the drone only. Further, in 11% of all analyzed situations, participants were critically visually distracted (continuous glance of two seconds or more) by the drone or pilots. Ultimately, this research provides recommendations to policymakers for creating regulations on the use of drones in the vicinity of roadways.
  • Publication
    (2018-01-01) Deliali, Aikaterini
    Globally there have been considerable efforts of decarbonizing the transportation sector, as it has been found to be largely responsible for greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. One strategy to achieving this is the implementation of zero-emission buses in transit fleets. This paper summarizes the characteristics of three zero-emission bus technologies: 1) battery electric buses; 2) fuel cell battery electric buses; and 3) fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric buses. All of these technologies do not produce tailpipe emission and can potentially be emission-free in a well-to-wheel content, depending on the fuel source. This study aims in gathering the needed information for transitioning to zero- emission buses in transit fleets, providing insights from implementations across U.S. Data collection efforts consists of three approaches: a systematic literature review emphasizing on reports released by transit agencies and other relevant organizations, an online survey of several transit agencies that have implemented or are planning to implement zero- emission buses, and interviews with transit agency representatives. Overall, the collected information was used to identify performance measures, cost characteristics, emission savings, and fuel economy, as well as implementation approaches and refueling strategies. A comparison among the three technologies and conventional fuels (diesel, compressed natural gas) suggests that zero-emission buses outperform in fuel economy compared to conventional fleets, but their capital cost is still higher than the cost of a diesel or a compressed natural gas bus. Battery electric buses have been chosen by the majority of transit agencies and present the highest fuel efficiency among the three zero emission technologies. Challenges associated with the implementation of such vehicles and lessons learned are also summarized. Commonly admitted among all agencies is that for a smooth transition to zero-emission fleet it is important to fully understand the technology and its requirements while starting with a small number of buses should be preferred and eventually increase the size. Further, it is critical for the staff to receive a proper training about the new technology and finally, all the involved stakeholders should maintain a good communication among them that would allow for efficient troubleshooting and information exchange.
  • Publication
    A Safety and Emissions Analysis of Continuous Flow Intersections
    (2018-01-01) Wolfgram, Joshua
    Increasing travel demand, and challenges associated with high percentages of left-turning vehicles, have encouraged the introduction of significant infrastructure advancements. Certain alternative intersection designs, such as continuous flow intersections, median U-turns, and jughandles, eliminate the traditional protected left-turn, increasing the intersection's optional efficiency. While the design and operations of these intersection types have been studied to varying degrees, their safety and emissions-related impacts are not well-understood. This project develops a series of microsimulation models for two continuous flow intersections (CFI) located in Missouri and Colorado, and uses the Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM) to determine the impact of those designs on the location and type of conflicts compared to conventional signalized intersections. Additionally, an emissions model, CMEM, was used in the analysis of the Colorado study site to determine whether CFIs have the potential to reduce emissions compared to conventional signalized intersections. As hypothesized, the number of total conflicts did decrease upon installation of a CFI for both study sites, despite lane-change conflicts experiencing an insignificant increase at the Loveland, CO study site. While too small of a sample size to provide a definite validation of SSAM, these results show SSAM can accurately predict the types of conflicts likely to occur as well as indicate a reduction in total vehicle conflicts when a conventional signalized intersection is converted into a CFI. Emission rates per mile at the CFI were lower than those at a conventional signalized intersection, most likely due to fewer total stops and lower delay times for users. The CMEM analysis was repeated for four other volume scenarios, varying left-turn demand. Under all scenarios, the CFI performed better than the conventional signalized intersection. This improvement increased as volume increased, showing that the environmental performance of a CFI is less sensitive to demand than a conventional signalized intersection. This project set forth to quantify sustainability benefits to the installation of a CFI for practitioners. Ultimately, this research can aid transportation decision-makers by providing quantitative evidence that CFIs can improve the safety impacts for vehicle users and environmental impacts for the general population in both rural and urban applications.