NTC researchers discuss train monitoring research conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
June 5, 2018
NASCAR drivers Michael Annett and Dalton Sargeant visited NTC’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) Tuesday, June 5 to learn about the barriers keeping their tracks safe. Their morning consisted of touring the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier and Motorsports Exhibits at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed, followed by a tour and crash test viewing at MwRSF’s Outdoor Proving Grounds. The SAFER Barrier began development in 1998 and by 2005 nearly every track on the IndyCar and NASCAR circuits installed the device. The drivers will be participating in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Iowa 200 and NASCAR Xfinity Series 250 presented by Enogen on June 16-17 at Iowa Speedway, the first and only NASCAR track with the SAFER Barrier being its sole retaining wall. For more information about the crash test, visit: https://engineering.unl.edu/mwrsf-crash-test/.
The Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) developed a non-proprietary barrier to limit the impact of threat vehicles in Entrance Control Facilities (ECFs) as well as provide safe stops for low-speed, non-hostile vehicles. As the first federally-accepted, non-proprietary barrier system in the Department of Defense (DOD) Approved Barrier List it is less expensive to purchase and install than other systems. The barrier has been in development for two years with the completion of full-scale and component testing in December 2017. Although the barrier was developed for military bases, it has potential to be implemented in urban areas and the publication of collected data could help in future research.
April 24, 2018
The Nebraska Transportation Center is congratulating Civil Engineering Ph.D. student Ernest Tufuor for his reception of the ITS Heartland Award. He received the award at the organization’s meeting for his paper on the usage of a Bluetooth-plus-Wi-Fi device for travel time research. The device developed by the Nebraska Transportation Center, referred to as generic Bluetooth (gBT) was compared with a GPS-probe vehicle to determine its data reliability. The study resulted in Bluetooth travel times comparable to that of the Global Positioning System while saving costs and improving modularity and ease of use. Mr. Tufuor acknowledges the success of this project to the innovative and creative ideas of his advisor, Dr. Laurence Rilett.
Tiffany Treviño is the 2017 recipient of the MATC Outstanding Student of the Year award. Ms. Treviño is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), where she conducts research on traffic calming devices, speed tables, roadway curves, and vehicle dynamics. As an undergraduate at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Ms. Treviño participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates 2015 and 2016 summer program, sponsored by the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety. During this time, she studied finite element analysis, learned new software, and analyzed 1/8 symmetric rail car tank models at NTC. Currently, Ms. Treviño is a Graduate Research Assistant at NTC’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF). Her thesis research investigates the optimal placement of speed tables on roadway curves in order to disrupt or delay threat vehicles without the occupants of non-threat vehicles experiencing excessive discomfort. According to her advisor Dr. Cody Stolle, MwRSF Research Assistant Professor, “Tiffany is an exceptional worker,” who “demonstrates a firm grasp on critical material, integrates new knowledge quickly, completes challenging tasks in a timely manner, and maintains a positive, optimistic, and encouraging attitude.” After completing a Master of Science degree in December 2018, Ms. Treviño plans to begin a career as an engineering professional in the public or private sector.
Jianan Zhou has been selected as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2018 International Road Federation (IRF) Fellow. Jianan is a graduate research assistant at the Nebraska Transportation Center and in the fourth year of his civil engineering Ph.D. program. His research focus includes highway capacity, traffic simulation, and transportation statistics. During the IRF Scholar Program, held January 7-12 in D.C., Jianan will participate in the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, IRF committee meetings, bridge building competitions, and visit the World Bank and Federal Highway Administration. Jianan’s fellowship is sponsored by Lindsay Transportation Solutions, a Nebraska-based company who delivers international expertise and products to improve road maintenance and safety.
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, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 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.
The Mid-America Transportation Center’s after-school program was implemented at two new sites this fall. In support of MATC’s mission to promote STEM careers among underrepresented groups, the Roads, Rails, and Race Cars (RRRC) club was expanded to reach Native American students at UmoNhoN Nation Public Schools and Winnebago Public School. Plans to expand the program to Macy and Winnebago, Nebraska, were developed following the success of the MATC/NCIA Sovereign Native Youth STEM Leadership Academy last July. After participating in the academy, Michele Barcelona, a special education teacher at UmoNhoN, and Samantha Loutsch, a science teacher at Winnebago, were approached by MATC Education and Outreach Coordinator Gabriel Bruguier to pilot the after-school program in their classrooms. RRRC participants at Macy and Winnebago have since been busy building bridges, towers, gliders, boats, and race cars out of various materials while learning about the science behind these structures. In November, the students were visited by Dr. Christopher Cornelius, UNL Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and MATC Education and Diversity Coordinator. Dr. Cornelius spoke to the students about his experience as a Native American in higher education and lead a lesson on energy. MATC plans to continue growing the after-school program in the coming academic year to reach additional Native American students and schools.
August 21, 2017
NTC’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Laboratory captured the 2017 Solar Eclipse while monitoring Lincoln’s roadways.
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 at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where students were able to become familiar with the campus layout and opportunities. 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.
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 University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and facilities, where he hopes to return after graduation to continue his education in the master’s program. The REU program at Nebraska 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, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 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. University of Nebraska-Lincoln 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 University of Nebraska-Lincoln 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 the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 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 the university 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.