Research Projects


by Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020

From January 17 through 18, 2020, the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and sponsor Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center (PSR) hosted the Third Annual Irvine Symposium on Emerging Research in Transportation (ISERT 2020). Each year, the Symposium brings together academics, researchers, graduate students, and industry professionals in transportation to exchange ideas on emerging research and applications in transportation. ISERT spotlights new research ideas that may still be under development or that involve preliminary results. This is the second in a series of articles detailing the Symposium itself as well as individual presenters.


ISERT’s interactive poster session provided a platform for seven UCI students to share their exciting transportation research project methodologies and preliminary results with symposium participants. The presenters, all affiliated with UCI’s Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), addressed a variety of pressing transportation issues, including the management of electric vehicles (EV), improving urban multi-modal transport systems, and the efficient usage of transportation supply.  In this article, we highlight three of these presentations.


UCI PhD in Transportation Science student Tanjeeb Ahmed presented his research on “Exploring the Role of Ride-Hailing in Trip Chains,” conducted under Advisor and UCI Professor Michael Hyland. Ahmed shared that the study “oriented towards finding the association of the use of ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft, and the formation of trip chains, which is a series of trips with one primary destination and at least one secondary destination.” He noted that significant findings of the study indicate that people are more likely to include ride-hail in trip chains if they are from high-income households and travel for non-home-based activities in higher residential density areas. “Tendency to use ride-hail also increases when the main purpose of [a person’s] trip chain is work, eating-out and healthcare,” Ahmed explained.


Tanjeeb Ahmed describes his research methodology to interested symposium participants.


Ahmed recognizes that our transportation system is undergoing a tremendous amount of change, change which will considerably impact how we travel in the next several years. “Automated, electric and shared mobility services can be considered at the forefront of these changes,” he predicts. “There are a growing number of researches from various disciplines to understand the effect of this transformation on travel behavior, network efficiency, road safety and land use. ISERT 2020 provides a great opportunity to bring together novel works in this field under one platform which enables stimulating discussions and future collaborations.”


UCI Civil Engineering PhD candidate Irene Martinez introduced her research project, entitled  “Improving Urban Multi-Modal Transport System through Congestion Pricing and Bus Fleet Sizing: Bi-Modal Network Fundamental Diagram Modeling Approach.” Conducted under the supervision of Professor Michael Hyland and Professor Wen-Long Jin, the study proposes a modeling framework to analyze mode choice and transportation system impacts of setting congestion pricing tolls and bus fleet sizes within a dense urban area. “The results in this study clearly indicate the value of jointly setting the toll and bus fleet sizes, rather than just tolling or just setting the bus fleet size, in terms of the system performance,” she explained. “The model results include valuable findings related to the importance of congestion pricing on the performance of bus systems. When demand is high, and there is no toll, the bus agency cannot unilaterally improve the bus system’s performance significantly because the bus agency cannot decrease congestion levels without tolling. However, with tolling and bus fleet sizing, the transport agency can significantly improve the bus system’s performance. Hence, bus riders and bus operators in dense urban areas are likely to be major beneficiaries of congestion pricing.”


Martinez regards ISERT as a great atmosphere to discuss projects heard in passing, such as during the annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting, or ideas that could benefit from further exploration. She attested that the symposium occurs in “a very friendly environment with plenty of young researchers and professionals.”


A third UCI PhD candidate and presenter, Youngeun Bae, is also pursuing her doctorate in Civil Engineering.  Her project, “Factors Influencing Alternative Fuel Adoption Decisions in Heavy-duty Vehicle (HDV) Fleets in California,” aims to better understand heavy-duty vehicle fleet operator perspectives towards alternative fuels. The research project, co-authored by Dr. Suman Kumar Mitra and Dr. Craig Ross Rindt, and supervised by Professor Stephen Ritchie, was an impressive undertaking. “This study attempts to identify the factors that have influenced the decision for alternative fuel adoption or non-adoption made by HDV fleet operators in California,” noted Bae. Bae also vouched for the symposium’s learning-conducive environment, citing the significant connections that participants make with each other.


Four additional student poster presentations were  “A Dense Background Representation Model for Traffic Surveillance Based on Roadside LiDAR” by Yingji Xia, Zhe Sun, Andre Tok, Stephen Ritchie; “Dynamic Advisory Speed Limits and its Impact on the Overall Performance of Signalized Networks: A Network Fundamental Diagram Approach,” Xi-Meng Fan, Pengyuan Sun, Wen-Long Jin; “Fair and Efficient Usage of Transportation Supply with Envy Minimization and Allocated System Efficiency,” Daisik Nam, R. Jayakrishnan; and "Management of EV Fast Charging Stations: Dynamic Pricing Schemes Based on Station Queues with State-Dependent Arrivals,” Dingtong Yang, Navjyoth Sarma J.S., Michael Hyland, R. Jayakrishnan.


Daisik Danny Nam poses proudly with his ISERT poster.


We would like to congratulate all presenters on their impressive work, and we wish them the best of luck in further polishing their research projects.


About the Author:

Adylbek Abdykalikov is a recent graduate of the Masters of International Public Policy and Management Program at USC Price. He has working experience in various positions at the Ministries of Transport and Communication and Investment and Development of Kazakhstan and was in charge of Transportation and Civil Aviation policy development and implementation. He served as the lead writer to METRANS Newsletter and lead student event coordinator for METRANS and PSR.