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Center for Transportation Studies


Seminar Series – 2004

September 14

"Evacuation Planning"

Qingsong Lu
Computer Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Seminar Article
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Evacuation planning is critical for numerous important applications, e.g. disaster emergency management and homeland defense preparation. Efficient tools are needed to produce evacuation plans that identify routes and schedules to evacuate affected populations to safety in the event of natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Current methods are based on a linear programming paradigm and suffer from inherent limitations. This seminar presents a new heuristic approach, Capacity Constrained Route Planning (CCRP), to quickly identify a feasible evacuation plan. The CCRP approach model has two key ideas: First, it models node/edge attributes as functions of time rather than fixed numbers. Thus node/edge capacities, node occupancies, etc. are modeled as time-series. Second, it iteratively considers all pairs of sources and destinations. In each iteration, it schedules evacuation of a group of evacuees across the closest source-destination pair. Evaluation of this method for evacuation planning for a disaster at the Monticello nuclear power plant near Minneapolis/St. Paul shows that the new method lowered evacuation time relative to existing plans by providing higher capacities near the destination and by choosing shorter routes.

September 28

"Maintaining Safe Headways While Driving"

David Shinar
Industrial Engineering and Management
Ben Gurion
University of the Negev, Israel

Seminar Article
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David Shinar, Industrial Engineering and Management, Ben Gurion University of the Negrev, Israel will present knowledge on the (in)ability to perceive headways accurately, the ability to learn and retain that skill, and the change in driving habits once we acquire such a skill. The lecture will be based on the results of a series of observational and experimental on-road and simulation studies spanning the last eight years.

October 12

"Inexpensive Attitude-Determination Systems for UAV Applications"

Demoz Gebre-Egziabher
Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Seminar Article
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Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with appropriate instrumentation are now being considered for use in traffic infrastructure and highway monitoring applications. In order to enable accurate pointing of remote sensing equipment onboard the UAV, an inexpensive and accurate attitude determination system (i.e., orientation in three-dimensional space) is indispensable for these applications. In this presentation, the design of inexpensive multi-sensor attitude determination systems will be discussed. The systems discussed fuse information from a triad of solid-state rate gyros with an aiding system mechanized using GPS or magnetometers and accelerometers. This research developed both Euler-angle- and quaternion-based sensor fusion algorithms, and included methods for gain scheduling and estimator pole placement. Using simulation and flight test results, quaternion-based algorithms were shown to simplify gain scheduling and improve transient response.

October 26

"Finding the Fountain of Youth for Snowplows and Other Fleet Assets"

David Wyrick
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Seminar Article
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How old is old for a fleet asset? When should an old asset be salvaged and a replacement purchased? How can you tell? This seminar will present fleet management research dealing with life cycle costing, with a particular focus on the single-axle Class 330 snowplow used by Mn/DOT. Minimizing costs over the life cycle of an asset is especially important in containing costs. A general model for the costs associated with an asset will be presented. From a previous national benchmarking survey on performance measures used by DOTs, critical cost measures were identified. Next, cost data were gathered, analyzed, and used for one of the major assets at Mn/DOT, the single-axle snowplow. Using both forecasting and historical data, total costs of ownership were plotted for assets in Districts 1 and 6. The results indicate that selecting different life cycles does have an impact on costs of ownership, and setting an appropriate age can provide substantial savings. This model can be used for other assets as well.

November 9

"The Minnesota Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan"

Bernie Arseneau
Minnesota Department of Transportation

Seminar Article
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The Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan (CHSP) is an effort lead by the Minnesota, Transportation (Mn/DOT) and Department of Public Safety (DPS). The first initiative in the development of the CHSP was to develop the critical emphasis areas. The next step was to develop the most important strategies within the emphasis areas that would have the highest impact on fatal and life changing crashes on Minnesota roadways. The final step was to develop action plans for these strategies. The strategies were developed at workshops with input from numerous traffic safety partners. All of the 4 "E's" (Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Emergency Medical Systems) were considered, as were all roadway types (State, county, City and township). The presentation will show the steps in development of the CHSP, with emphasis on the final product: action plans to achieve the goal of reducing fatal and life changing crashes.

November 23

"Investing in Robustness and Reliability in Transportation Networks"

David Levinson and Lei Zhang
Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Seminar Article
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For several economic and geographical reasons, transportation networks typically evolve into hierarchical structures where few links carry the bulk of traffic and a large number of smaller links have very low flows. A subsequent question is whether such a hierarchical structure is susceptible to random failures (fragility) and targeted attacks (vulnerability). More importantly, what kind of policies tend to create a network form that is neither fragile nor vulnerable? This seminar will focus on answering these questions.

December 7

"Proactive Crash-Prevention Solutions"

John Hourdakis
Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

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Growing concern over traffic safety, as well as rising congestion costs, have driven researchers to redirect their efforts from traditional crash detection and clearance reactive traffic management toward online, proactive crash prevention solutions. Research efforts at the, University of Minnesota, funded by the ITS institute, seek such a proactive solution. Such a solution is explored by identifying the most relevant real-time traffic metrics and combining them in a crash likelihood estimation model. Unlike earlier attempts, this one is based on a unique detection and surveillance infrastructure deployed on the freeway section with the highest crash rate in Minneapolis. Mr. Hourdakis' presentation will focus on the process and results of this research.