Transportation Infrastructure and Systems Engineering Highlights

This year was an active one for the Transportation Infrastructure and Systems Engineering (TISE) group.

In 2019, Gerardo Flintsch and his group at the Center for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure secured more than 2.2 million dollars in research funding, published 23 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and initiated a collaboration with the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Dr. Flintsch and colleagues from the Mechanical Engineering were awarded the best 2019 paper in the SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars – Mechanical Systems and received the Arch T. Colwell Merit Award. Dr. Flintsch co-chaired the organization of two international events, the Pavement Evaluation 2019 conference and the International Symposium on Pavement. Roadway, and Bridge Life Cycle Assessment 2020.

Hesham Rakha and researchers in the Center for Sustainable Mobility (CSM) continued their work on various projects funded by the US Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Highway Administration, and various automotive manufacturers. Dr. Rakha was named an IEEE Fellow for contributions to optimization, modeling and assessment of transportation. Dr. Osman (a Research Associate in CSM) and Dr. Rakha were awarded the User Information Systems (AND20) 2019 Best Paper Award at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting.

Alex Brand was the invited keynote speaker at the International Seminar for Upcycling of Construction and Demolition Wastes.

Antonio Trani, Arman Izadi, Nick Hinze, and Amy Seo completed a two-year project to evaluate the use of advanced convective weather information in the flight deck for oceanic flights. The study was commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)and estimated annual fuel savings to oceanic flights of 15.3 million dollars and up to 7 million dollars in injury costs avoided due to improved pilot awareness to avoid bad weather. The FAA and industry team that collaborated in the project received the FAA 2019 Safety Award.

Sayantan Tarafdar and Mihir Rimjha’s (graduate students working with Susan Hotle and Antonio Trani) received the best student paper award at the 2019 Integrated Communications Navigation and Surveillance (ICNS) Conference.

Nick Hinze, Navid Mirmohammadsadeghi and Antonio Trani released the latest version of a runway exit design model for the FAA (called REDIM 3). An earlier version of the model has been used in hundreds of airports studies to locate optimal runway exits worldwide. Dr. Trani introduced the new version of the model and a landing database developed for FAA to industry and FAA in June and July 2020.

Linbing Wang was promoted to Fellow of the Engineering Mechanics Institute of ASCE in recognition of his overall achievements in research, education and service. As a Co-PI of a $2.0 million NSF Harnessing Data Revolution multiple university grant on MemoNet, he has been conducting research on developing innovative machine-learning approaches for understanding neural nets. Under his leadership, he and his colleagues including Dr. Monty Abbas, Carin Wollmann, Matthew Hebdon and Rodrigo Sario have acquired multiple grants from the Regional UTC. During his faculty leave at University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB), Dr. Wang and Lindy Cranwell have jointly developed a global education course on Comparative US-China Civil Engineering. In this class, Dr. Wang leveraged the resources at USTB by inviting practicing engineers in major bridge, tunnel, highway, sports stadium design and construction companies to talk about real project design and construction in China. Dr. Wang also led the renewal of the MOU for research, education collaborations between Virginia Tech and USTB.

Kevin Heaslip was promoted to full professor this year. Also, he was appointed as one of the two CACI Faculty Fellows in the College of Engineering. The CACI Faculty Fellows are in recognition of work in the field of cybersecurity. Dr. Heaslip has been working to promote the importance of cybersecurity in the operations of cyber physical systems, especially for critical infrastructure. In April, Dr. Heaslip was named a Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Fellow. The Commonwealth Cyber Initiatives seeks to elevate the state-wide ecosystem of innovation and excellence in cyberphysical systems with an emphasis on trust and security and to further secure Virginia’s role as a global leader in secure cyberphysical systems. Dr. Heaslip was an invited keynote speaker for General Electric Global Research Edge and Controls Symposium in September.