Micozzi Pays a Visit to NTC

November 23, 2011



The Nebraska Transportation Center (NTC) had the opportunity of hosting Ms. Martine Micozzi. She is a Senior Program Officer of Transportation Research Board. Ms. Micozzi came to learn more about the current research projects and educational initiatives of NTC and the Mid-America Transportation Center (MATC) earlier this fall.
NTC Director Dr. Laurence Rilett gave Micozzi an overview NTC’s and MATC’s focuses for the upcoming year. He highlighted initiatives such as increasing multi-disciplinary research efforts and student research activities.

Dr. Rilett also highlighted NTC and MATC’s educational outreach programs such as the Lincoln Public Schools After-School Transportation Engineering Club and MATC Scholars Program.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with presentations from more faculty and staff. Dr. Dean Sicking, Dr. Andy Nowak and Dr. Hamid Sharif began the session speaking about their latest works.

Dr. Sicking spoke about the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF)’s recent research, which included its findings on guardrail design. MwRSF found by increasing the height of guardrails that it would decrease the number of fatalities especially for higher vehicles such as pickup trucks.

Dr. Nowak followed focusing on the Civil Engineering Department’s work on improving bridges. For example, the Civil Engineering faculty and students have been working on bettering the maintenance of bridges, so they can last for 100 years. They have also been researching cost-effective ways to build safer and more reliable bridges.
Dr. Sharif ended first half of the session discussing his research on wireless technology such as using Wi-Fi sensors to have continuous real-time data to monitor freight cars. He says the goal is “to improve the existing technologies and improve them for the future.”

After a quick break and tour of new Whittier Research Center, the day was completed by four more presenters: Dr. Shannon Barlett-Hunt, Dr. Eric Thompson, Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Jones and Dr. Yong Rak Kim.
Dr. Shannon Barlett-Hunt focused her presentation on NTC’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly. She shared the center’s goal to reduce runoff and improve the water quality around roads and bridges, and the research projects surrounding that mission.

Dr. Eric Thompson discussed transportation benefit and cost analysis. He also spoke on the economic consequences of developing new roads across the state.

Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Jones presented the latest about Transportation Systems Engineering, which includes her work of enhancing the collection and usage of data. Her colleague Dr. Aemal Khattak along with Dr. Karen Schurr and Dr. Ram Bishu was recently published in the revised Nebraska Driver’s Manual for their roundabout research.
Dr. Yong Rak Kim capped off the afternoon by sharing his work of advancing and maintaining pavements and its materials.

NTC currently has 93 projects active, which are worth about $1.76 million. The center also funds 121 students. MATC currently has 115 funded research initiatives that worth more than $12 million. It funds 187 students. To learn more about NTC and MATC’s research, programs, or current initiatives, visit ntc.unl.edu or matc.unl.edu.