Building the ENGIN (Exploring Next Generation IN-Vehicle INterfaces) Consortium at MTTI

Sponsor:  Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI)

PI:  Myounghoon (Philart) Jeon

In the proposed initiative, the PI aims to provide a phased path for an innovative research and educational program at Michigan Tech focused on the driving domain. The proposed effort will eventually lead to a sustainable, officially recognized Driving Research Center under the Michigan Tech Transportation Insitutute MTTI). To this end, the PI plans to (1) initiate a collaborative driving research project with like-minded domain experts; (2) expand the scope across the Michigan Tech campus and build an ENGIN (Exploring Next Generation IN-vehicle INterfaces) consortium that can identify and develop additional driving-related research projects together; (3) make continuous efforts to secure external funding for driving-related projects; and (4) develop a more systematic driving education for undergraduates and graduates and K-12 outreach program by lining-up and integrating related courses across departments, hosting regular seminars with invited external speakers, expanding current and developing new outreach programs, and organizing international workshops and conferences.

Coordinating the initiative is Steven Landry, PhD student in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors Graduate Program.

For more information on the project, see https://sites.google.com/a/mtu.edu/engin/?pli=1.

Myounghoon Jeon
Myounghoon Jeon

 

Novel Optimization Algorithms for Oversaturated Traffic Network Coordination

Sponsor:  Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI)

PI:  Ossama Abdelkhalik

The objective of this project is to solve the Oversaturated Traffic Network Signal Coordination Planning (OTNSCP) optimization problem, through a new problem formulation and using the recent HGGA optimization method. The long term goal is to developed software tools that model and optimize traffic networks both off-line and online, taking into consideration the network uncertainties and travelers’ behavior.

The proposed problem formulation handles the OTNSCP optimization problem as a grouping problem, rather than the standard optimization for the individual signals green times. In the off-line optimization of traffic networks using the standard formulation, the number of variables is the number of design green times. In the proposed formulation, it is assumed that some of the traffic signals in the network have the same green time value; in other words a subset of the traffic network signals has the same green time value for all signals in the subset. The network may have several subsets. The number of signals in each subset is a variable to be optimized.

The nature of the OTNSCP problem is that signals should be coordinated (using green times) to maximize the overall network throughput. So, instead of formulating the problem to optimize the individual signals’ green times, it would be more natural and efficient if it is formulated as a distribution of green times over the network of signals, collectively, as a group to maximize the objective function.

Ossama Abdelkhalik

 

Development of Advanced Ultrasonic Techniques for Air Void Size Distribution in Early-Age and Hardened Concrete

Sponsor:  Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI)

PI:  Zhen Liu, Qingli Dai

The air void size distribution has significant impacts on mechanical, thermal and transport properties of concrete and long-term durability such as freeze-thaw resistance. Measuring the characteristics of air voids in concrete (especially at early-ages) is thus very important in assessing its long-term durability. Nondestructive ultrasonic technique will be developed for potential concrete mixture quality control both in lab and field applications.

Research Objective:

1. Develop ultrasonic air void size distribution measurement techniques for hardened air-entrained concrete and evaluate the accuracy with ASTM C 457 measurements

2. Develop ultrasonic air void size distribution measurement techniques for early-age air-entrained concrete and evaluate the accuracy with the ASTM C 457 measurements

3. Develop the testing procedures and data processing tools for potential field applications

Implementation Plan:

1. Prepare air-entrained concrete samples with/without internal curing reservoirs (using light-weight fine aggregates) for air void distribution measurements

2. Design the ultrasonic measurement system for both hardened and early-age concrete sample measurements and develop the signal processing programs for the air void distribution evaluation of both types of samples

3. Evaluate the measurement accuracy by comparing with RapidAir ASTM C 457 and propose the testing procedures for potential field mixture quality control

Zhen Liu
Zhen Liu
Qingli Dai
Qingli Dai

 


Rail Crossing Behavior with Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS)

Sponsor:  Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI)

PI:  Dave Nelson

Michigan Tech researchers have been involved in developing a program to investigate driver behavior at highway-rail grade crossings over the last couple of years. After a long downward trend for grade crossing accidents and fatalities, the statistics for problems at crossings have plateaued over the last few years.

One of the ways to address the issue is by comparing actual driver behavior at crossing with simulated one. Starting in late 2013 results from the Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), conducted under a major Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) 2 program have been available to researchers that will allow us to fill some of the gap, and begin the process of validating the ongoing simulator research.  This initiative grant is requested to secure NDS data for early analysis, so a stronger case can be made to funding agencies for ongoing research.   The Michigan Tech research team will acquire camera (forward and backward video) and vehicle performance data (braking, throttle, and other data) showing what drivers were doing during normal day-to-day driving situations at grade crossings. Our initial results seem to indicate that drivers are not looking for trains at crossings.  This is a big issue, especially at passive crossings, as drivers do not stop for trains if they do not look for them.  We will use the NDS data to confirm that finding, and then compare the NDS data with our simulation research findings to validate the simulator process.   Information about the NDS project can be found at http://www.shrp2nds.us/index.html, a document from the NDS, The SHRP 2 Naturalistic Driving Study, is included in this package.

This project will analyze driver behaviors at highway-rail grade crossings.  Reducing collisions between cars and trains at these crossings has long been a goal of the Federal Rail Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration.  Improved understanding of driver behaviors can lead to improved traffic control devices for rail crossings and help meet this goal.  The results of this study will also be used to validate research Michigan Tech is working on with a driving simulator to investigate crossing behaviors in a less costly fashion.

Dave Nelson
Dave Nelson

 

Exploring the Science of Sustainability: Robustness and Resilience of Coupled Infrastructure and Natural Networks

Sponsor:  Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI)

PI:  Amlan Mukherjee

The current approaches to studying sustainability uses a triple-bottom line approach that accounts for each of the economic, social and environmental impacts of such system separately without explicitly considering the overall performance of the system. At the same time, there has been a growing movement towards adoption of sustainability standards in transportation with the emergence of rating systems such as EnvisionTM that recognize system robustness and resilience as fundamental to achieving sustainability. As a result, municipal and agency managers, often are left without meaningful operational guidelines that support the prioritization of sustainability as a principle in their long-term planning without compromising on level of service. Hence, the significant problem motivating this research is that currently there are no methods to measure the sustainability of critical infrastructure (such as transportation networks) and natural systems, as a function of systemic robustness and resilience.

In a departure from the triple bottom line thinking, the objective of this research effort is to discover principles of sustainable management that increase the robustness and resilience of integrated systems, based on an acknowledgment of relationships, constraints and margins of tolerance that keep a system stable and viable. In doing so the research will investigate if the sustainability of a system can be formulated as a function of the systemic robustness and resilience.

 

Amlan Mukherjee
Amlan Mukherjee