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NDSU Staff and Students Present at Annual Meeting of Transportation Research Board

Posted: Jan 24, 2018

Staff and students from NDSU presented several papers and moderated sessions at the 97th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board Jan-7-11 in Washington, D.C. The meeting is the largest gathering of transportation-related event in the world with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops. The program covers all transportation modes and attracts policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry and academic institutions.

NDSU presentations and participation included:

Strategic Transportation and Logistics Management for Importing Crude Oil to Produce Asphalt and Road Oil in the United States. Raj Bridgelall, assistant professor of transportation and logistics and researcher with NDSU's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, examined several factors such as customs, regulations, security, environmental compliance, and natural events that will affect the costs, schedules, and risks. This study provides a framework for the decision-making to source feedstock for the production of asphalt. Coauthors included EunSu Lee and Michael Bell of New Jersey City University.

Performance of Hyperspectral Imaging with Drone Swarms. Bridgelall also developed a model to compare the performance of hyperspectral-imaging platforms in terms of their spatial coverage and spatial resolution envelope. Results show that subject to cost and operational limitations, a platform implemented with drone swarms has the potential to provide greater spatial resolution for the same daily ground coverage of existing airborne platforms. Coauthors were NDSU researcher James Rafert and Denver Tolliver, director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.

Managing the Safety of Older Drivers. Brenda Lantz, associate director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute moderated this session which focused on managing the safety of older drivers operating commercial vehicles. Discussion focused on an examination of recent heavy vehicle crash data to identify risk factors most prominent among older drivers; challenges to safety program management; and evidence used to determine medical fitness to drive in the context of research needs and opportunities.

Truck and Bus Safety. Lantz also presided over this research session featuring posters on various topics focusing on commercial carrier safety research. She also presided at a meeting of the TRB's Truck and Bus Safety Committee. Lantz received a certificate of appreciation recognizing her six years as chair of the committee. At the meeting, Lantz stepped down at the end of her second three-year term. Under Lantz's leadership, the committee developed a strategic plan that included establishment of six subcommittees to focus on specific areas of motor carrier safety. The committee recently identified 61 truck and bus safety research and development needs in 11 different topical areas to guide research investment in motor carrier safety across the country.

Solving the Log-Truck Routing Problem Accounting for Forest Road Maintenance Policies: A Case Study of Oregon. Amin Keramati, a Ph.D. student in transportation and logistics, presented results of a study assessing the travel-time between wood mills and timber production areas while considering the impact of forest road maintenance policies. Moreover, the effect on forest area coverage was also analyzed. Coauthors were Ahmad Sobhani of Oakland University, NDSU transportation and logistics Ph.D. student Seyed Ali Haji Esmaeili of NDSU and Pan Lu, assistant professor of transportation and logistics at NDSU.

Converting Paved Roads to Unpaved: North Dakota Experience. Dale Heglund, director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute's North Dakota Local Technical Assistance Program described efforts in North Dakota where local road agencies have converted paved roads to engineered unpaved roads. The presentation was part of a workshop on the topic that tapped expertise from across the country.

Integrating GIS with Optimization Method for a Switchgrass-Based Bioethanol Supply Chain. Transportation and logistics Ph.D. student Seyed Ali Haji Esmaeili developed a model to examine commercial production of switchgrass-based bioethanol. The study determined the number and locations of biorefineries and multimodal storage facilities based on a GIS method and served as input for an optimization model to define the amount of biomass shipped, processed, and converted into bioethanol together with the system related costs. Coauthors were Ahmad Sobhani of Oakland University, NDSU transportation and logistics student Amin Keramati, and EunSu Lee, assistant professor of management at New Jersey City University.

Incorporating Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) 2 Solutions into Academia. NDSU assistant professor of transportation and logistics Diomo Motuba discussed how he is modifying curricula to incorporate products from the U.S. DOT's Strategic Highway Research Program. Revised modules will enable the transportation and logistics program to include the latest state-of-practice applications and information. Courses incorporating the SHRP2 products will be shared eight other universities in the region.

Microsimulation Approach to Rural Freight Movement Modeling. Transportation and logistics Ph.D. student Ali Rahim Taleqani developed a multimodal agent-based freight transportation model to simulate production, distribution, and consumption. The research focused on the N.D. grain industry and models mainly the transportation flow and vehicle miles traveled. The research provides insights into freight demand modeling and may be of interest to transportation planners, agricultural producers, and government policy makers and along with others involved in the upstream grain supply chain. Coauthors include New Jersey City assistant professor of management EunSu Lee and Jill Hough, associate professor of transportation and logistics at NDSU.

Future of Rural Transit. Taleqani presented this paper to the Committee on Rural Public and intercity Bus Transportation. The paper provided a contemplative description of the future of rural and public transportation. It considered emerging technologies along with their long-term implications and corresponding impacts on rural communities. Coauthor was Jill Hough.

Aging in Place in Small Urban and Rural Communities. Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute researcher Del Peterson presented results of a study to determine the state of aging in place in small urban and rural settings and quantify the costs for residents to live at home and rid public transportation vs. moving to an assisted living facility. Results showed that the cost of assisted living was almost always higher compared to other alternatives. Coauthor was Ted Rieck, TJR Advisors.

Using Big Data and Travel Time Analysis to Enhance the Calibration and Validation of External—Internal and External—External Models for a Small MPO Travel Demand Model. NDSU assistant professor of transportation and logistics Diomo Motuba described a study to determine if Bluetooth and cellphone data could be used to improve the accuracy of travel demand models which are used by researchers and policy makers for transportation planning. Coauthors were NDSU transportation and logistics Ph.D. students Babak Mirzazadeh and Muhammad Khan.

Use and Future of Photo Logging Apps on Low Volume Roads in North Dakota. Andrew Wrucke, researcher with NDSU's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, described a photo-logging application developed by UGPTI that allows a cell phone to be used to log photos of roadways at various intervals. The app is coordinated via GPS and photos are uploaded to a mapping service. The photos can help local road managers monitor roadway condition and maintenance needs over time. Work is also underway to link the logged photos to a cell phone app for measuring road roughness that is being developed at NDSU. Wrucke's made the presentation to a meeting of the TRB's Standing Committee on Low Volume Roads.

Great Plains Analytical Approach of Habitat Suitability and Connectivity Analysis of Road Fencing. Matthew Kirkwood, director of NDSU's Landscape Architecture Program, used GIS mapping and remote sensing techniques to examine diverse environmental conditions such as landforms, prairie communities, soil types, water resources, etc. as well as human disturbance activities in transportation, agriculture, energy production, housing, etc. He then analyzed habitat suitability and connectivity to model animal's most efficient movement patterns without compromising economic activities. The research is able to identify and prioritize future removal or modifications of road fencing and provide specific roadside design and management plan.

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