September 27 – 30, 2017
Fifty students, faculty, and distinguished guest speakers participated in the fifth iteration of the Mid-America Transportation Center Scholars Program. The goal of the Scholars Program is to promote graduate study among underrepresented groups in the STEM fields. Faculty who lead the core sessions and students come from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions, including Prairie View A&M University, Southern University and A&M College, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Tennessee State University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and Lincoln University. The curriculum focuses on reasons for pursuing advanced degrees, identifying and selecting a graduate program, budgeting and financing, choosing mentors, and effective communication skills. Guest speakers outline expectations and provide encouragement by sharing their graduate school and professional experiences. The 2017 sessions were held on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, providing students with the opportunity to experience a Big 10 research institution.
September 26 – 27, 2017
NTC graduate student Ahmed Rageh recently had the opportunity to attend and present at the 11th University Transportation Centers Spotlight Conference: Rebuilding and Retrofitting the Transportation Infrastructure in Washington, DC. Ahmed gave a poster presentation titled, “Health Monitoring Schemes for Double-Track Steel Railway Bridges” with Dr. Daniel Linzell, UNL College of Engineering Department Chair and Professor. Ahmed is a third-year civil engineering graduate student focused on the structural health monitoring of steel railway bridges. Ahmed attended several sessions during the conference and enjoyed learning about new smart methods and tools for assessing the conditions of roadway bridges. The leading experts in attendance helped him developed a new research goal—predicting structure deficiencies before they occur. His current research involves remotely monitoring and identifying conditions of a Union Pacific double track steel railway truss bridge located in Columbus, Nebraska.
July 16 – 21, 2017
MATC recently partnered with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs to build the 2017 MATC/NCIA Sovereign Native Youth STEM Leadership Academy. The academy lasted from July 16-21, and took place mostly on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, where students were able to become comfortable with the layout of campus and many different opportunities held at UNL. A central objective of the academy was to help Native American youth engage their potential in leadership in STEM and transportation fields. The group of 11 native students in attendance learned from professors and professionals in STEM fields, while also visiting institutions such as the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Union Pacific, and BNSF railway to learn about potential career opportunities. On Thursday, the students were challenged to utilize critical thinking and teamwork skills to build trailers that could float in water while carrying weight. Simultaneously, the academy emphasized Native American culture and history by including an excursion to the Standing Bear trail, as well as a native experiences panel. During the six day long academy, three teachers, three mentors, and six administrative leaders including Judi gaiashkibos, Larry Rilett, Gabriel Bruguier, Chris Cornelius, Rebekka Herrera-Schlichting, and Scott Shafer interacted with the students and shared their own experiences of getting into leadership in their native communities or the STEM field.
June 12 – 15, 2017
Researchers from the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF), an organization under the Nebraska Transportation Center, received several paper awards at the 1st Transportation Research Board International Roadside Safety Conference in San Francisco, California. Dr. Ron Faller, Director of MwRSF, served on the planning committee and as the chair for the conference. Ron Faller, Scott Rosenbaugh, and Robert Bielenberg submitted a documentation on the configurations, special applications, and critical and unique components of 31-in. tall W-beam guardrail as well as guidance on installation. Cody Stolle, Karla Lechtenberg, Ron Faller, and graduate student Alexis Yim shared strategies for resolving one of the biggest and deadliest problems in roadside safety—trees located in close proximately to the side of the road. With the sponsorship of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Ron Faller, Karla Lechtenberg, Jennifer Schmidt, John Reid, Robert Bielenberg, graduate student Ana Guajardo, and Erik Emerson (Wisconsin DOT) filled an existing gap with their paper submission on the development of a crashworthy pedestrian rail design. These ongoing research projects indicate important progress toward safer, more cost-effective roadways.
May 25 – August 11, 2017
The Nebraska Transportation Center is hosting Santos Ramos this summer as part of the Mid-America Transportation Center Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Santos is a senior civil engineering student from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) interested in transportation systems modeling and traffic analysis. As a MATC Summer REU Scholar, he will conduct research for eleven weeks under the guidance of NTC Director Dr. Laurence Rilett, Ph.D. student Ernest Tufuor, and Research Engineer Gabriela Perales. The MATC Summer REU program is a unique opportunity for Santos to gain research experience in the transportation field while becoming familiar with the UNL campus and facilities, where he hopes to return after graduation to continue his education in the master’s program. The REU program at UNL is an extension of MATC’s Summer Internship Program and sponsored by the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety.
May 15, 2017
MATC was pleased to welcome participants to the 2017 internship program during the orientation on May 15. The students selected for MATC’s Intern Program will gain professional experience in the transportation field under the mentorship of industry or university sponsors. The orientation was an opportunity for the interns to meet one another and receive advice on having a successful internship. Dr. John Sangster, UNL Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, provided individual feedback on students’ resumes and their next steps in higher education or the profession based on their career interests and goals. UNL graduate student Sean Murphy shared his experience as a former MATC intern and encouraged the interns to ask their employers questions and emphasized the value of networking. At the close of the program, students will reflect on their internship experience in a written report and oral presentation given during the awards banquet on August 14.
NTC student Ernest Tufuor received one of three Commendation Awards from the College of Engineering Graduate Poster Competition at the 2017 UNL Spring Research Fair. Ernest, a PhD student in civil engineering, designed his poster presentation for a research project entitled, “In-Vehicle Evaluation of Milled Rumble Strips at Pre- and Post-Chip Sealed Maintenance Periods.” His experiment investigated the relationship between the depth of milled rumble strips and the noise and vibration in a vehicle cab. The research project was completed in collaboration with Dr. Laurence Rilett, NTC Director and Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, and Christopher LeFrois, NTC ITS Sr. Transportation Technology Engineer. Ernest received his award during the annual Engineering Graduate Student Recognition Event on April 28.
March 20, 2017
Dr. Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at UNL, and her team of faculty recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of more than $300,000 to fund the expansion of their summer research program. The project titled, “REU Site: Sustainability of Horizontal Civil Networks in Rural Areas” focuses upon engaging students from outside UNL to participate in research about creating sustainable infrastructure in rural areas. Though the project has already completed a successful two-year pilot period, this grant will enable the program to expand to ten students per program for the next three years. During the ten-week session, students will conduct research under the supervision of a faculty mentor, while also participating in professional development seminars and workshops. Other faculty members involved in the project include Drs. Yong-Rak Kim, Joshua Steelman, Yusong Li, Xu Li, Daniel Linzell, John Sangster, and Elizabeth Jones.
March 10, 2017
Kyle Schneweis, Director of the Nebraska Department of Roads, and members of his team visited the Prem S. Paul Research Center at Whittier School for a meeting with Nebraska Transportation Center and Midwest Roadside Safety Facility faculty and staff. The event began with tours of NTC’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Laboratory and MwRSF’s Small-Scale Structures & Visualization Laboratories. Drs. Dan Linzell (Structures), Hamid Sharif-Kashani (Computer/Electrical), Ron Faller (Roadside Safety), Eric Thompson (Economics), Shannon Bartelt-Hunt (Environmental/Water Resources), Laurence Rilett (Transportation), and Yong Rak Kim (Geotechnical/Materials) presented on their current research, department facilities, and potential projects. Attendees had the opportunity to become further acquainted and discuss opportunities for collaboration between NDOR and NTC during the luncheon that followed.
Paul Ivey Jr., an undergraduate Civil Engineering student, was selected as the 2016 recipient of the Tom Ogee, Sr. Memorial Scholarship. The $1,400 scholarship is awarded to a high-achieving Civil Engineering undergraduate student with a desire to pursue a career in the railroad industry following graduation from the University of Nebraska system. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Paul has always dreamed of being part of a railroad executive team at Union Pacific Railroad, a goal he’s begun pursuing through his summer internship with them last year.
April 13, 2016
On Wednesday, April 13, UNL’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility research and test site manager Jim Holloway along with project lead engineers Scott Rosenbaugh, Jennifer Schmidt, Ronald Faller, and team performed a crash test with a 36,000-kg tractor-trailer vehicle for a group of over 50 attendees. The test was designed to evaluate the capacity and ability of Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation’s (MIT) Narrow Single-Slope Bridge Rail to contain and redirect the heavy, tractor-trailer. The vehicle impacted the barrier at approximately 50 mph and a 15-degree angle and was successfully redirected with minimal damage to the system, meaning that the new barrier is a good candidate to replace aging barriers across Canada. In addition to MIT sponsors, this rare event drew interest from Governor Pete Ricketts; NDOR Director Kyle Schneweis and representatives Khalil Jaber, Miki Esposito, Mark Traynowicz, and Phil TenHulzen; Nebraska FHWA representatives; and law enforcement officers from Lincoln, Omaha, and the State Patrol.
October 4-7, 2015
This year, nine NTC students attended the 2015 American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) conference. The conference, which took place at the Minneapolis Convention Center, MN, brought together students, faculty, researchers, and industry leaders from around the country to present research, introduce the newest technology, and network. The students found the exhibits and the opportunities to speak to railroad professionals to be informative and insightful because of close connections to their own research.
August 13, 2015
The Nebraska Transportation Center had the honor of hosting US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer for a roundtable discussion, which drew over thirty leaders from Nebraska's public and private sector and educational institutions and took place in NTC's Intelligent Transportation Systems Lab at the Whittier Research Center. The roundtable discussion marked the opportunity for Nebraska's transportation industry's leaders to share their future plans and concerns with the Secretary and Senator. Topics discussed include driverless vehicles, state and federal funding for infrastructure repair and upkeep, laws relating to private drone use, EPA regulations, road safety, and the best way to communicate the state's needs to Washington.
September 13-17, 2015
Gabriela Perales, a graduate research assistant at NTC, recently presented her research, "Analysis of Empirical Side Friction Factors on Circular Horizontal Curves near Highway-Railway Grade Crossings," at the annual International Highway Engineering Exchange Program (IHEEP) Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Given the exceptional quality of her work, Perales' presentation won in Area III of the Education Scholarship Presentations (ESP) Program competition and will advance to the International IHEEP Conference ESP Competition. The ESP program is intended to introduce young engineers who are training in transportation-related disciplines to IHEEP and potential DOT or sponsor employers.
May 18 – August 7, 2015
Seventeen bright and eager undergrads made up the 2015 Mid-America Transportation Center Summer Internship Program, working with ten different private and public sponsors over the summer to learn about the transportation field, get hands-on experience, and network with industry leaders and fellow peers. As part of the program, students conducted their own research, visited Olsson Associates, the City of Lincoln, the City of Omaha Traffic Signal Shop, and presented on their work experience at the end of the summer. MATC is proud to say that over 330 students have been impacted by the internship program since its inception in 1997.
January 20th, 2015
NTC Director, Laurence Rilett, MwRSF Director, Dr. Ronald Faller and Post-Doctoral Associate, Dr. Cody Stolle are featured in the 2013-2014 UNL Research Report. You can read all about their project here: http://go.unl.edu/gzms. Follow The Nebraska Transportation Center on Facebook to stay up to date with all current news items: https://www.facebook.com/NETransportationCtr?ref=hl.
September 8th, 2014
Dr. Aemal Khattak, Associate Professor and affiliated Nebraska Transportation Center faculty member, was appointed as the Area Editor for the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security (JTSS) by the Journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Stephen Richards. The Area Editor serves as the main contact point for authors when they submit manuscripts for publication in a particular area and plays a very visible role in the editorial process of peer-reviewed journal publications. JTSS is an initiative of the Southeastern Transportation Center, the University of Tennessee, Beijing Jiaotong University, and publishers Taylor and Francis LLC. The goal of the journal is to meet the needs of both academicians and practitioners who perform research and work in the related areas of transportation safety and security.
April 24th, 2014
NTC Director, Dr. Laurence Rilett is featured in UNL Today in conjunction with his research project titled: Traffic Calming Elements for Entry Control Facility Threat Delay and Containment. Dr. Rilett and his project are both included in the National Strategic Research Institute's first annual report.
April 15th, 2014
The Nebraska Transportation Center has received $13,046 in funding from State Farm for the Roads, Rails and Race Cars Afterschool Program. You can read more about the award in this article from the UNL Newsroom.