News | USC and UCI Alum Dr. Gabe Jiangbo Yu at ISERT 2020

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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 this 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 sixth and last in a series of articles detailing the Symposium itself as well as individual presenters.


Meet Dr. Gabe Jiangbo Yu, a PSR alum who presented his research, in collaboration with three colleagues, on choice model development for decision under pressure and risk at ISERT 2020. Yu is currently working as a Senior Travel Demand Modeler at Cambridge Systematics in the Washington, DC area. His areas of expertise at Cambridge Systematics include travel demand model development, decision support tool development, and data analytics, primarily for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), as well as private companies. Prior to his work with Cambridge Systematics, Yu held positions at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and was a Transportation Engineer/Data Scientist at Fehr & Peers, where he contributed to a wide range of planning and modeling projects.


Yu earned a BS in Transportation Systems Engineering from the Beijing Institute of Technology and holds a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from USC. In 2017, Yu earned his PhD in Transportation Systems Engineering from UCI, with a dissertation on uncertainty and information in transportation systems. His research specialties and professional experiences include a focus on systems modeling, behavioral analysis, and data science to support transportation policy and investment decisions.


Dr. Gabe Jiangbo Yu in Downtown Los Angeles.


When describing his choice model development research, Yu notes that decisions in travel and transportation are frequently made under pressure and with incomplete information. Evidence has shown that preference varies with the degree of pressure and risk. The interactive effect of time pressure and perceived risk further adds the challenge of behavioral modeling and prediction. “This paper proposes a feedback model that jointly applies system dynamics (SD), decision field theory (DFT), and dual-process theory (DPT) so that both the decision problem and the pressure level are the model inputs, and both the preference and the response time are the model outputs,” he explained.


“I was presenting a dynamic model that jointly applies dual-process theory and decision field theory to capture the empirical evidence that people tend to make decisions based heavily on belief and intuition when under pressure,” Yu shared after his presentation. “This study was in parallel with my research effort on the quantum decision model, and I hope, eventually, these two sub-tracks can converge,” he added.


Speaking on his experience at the Symposium, Yu shared that “ISERT provides a wonderful platform to present new ideas and learn from other researchers on a wide range of topics related to transportation.” He also appreciates the networking aspect, and being able to expand on connections he made at the annual TRB conference in January.


We wish Dr. Gabe Jiangbo Yu luck in expanding his research project, and in his work with Cambridge Systematics. Yu is an exemplary asset to the field, and we know he will continue to positively impact data science and modeling within transportation.


About the Author:

Adylbek Abdykalikov is a recent graduate of the Masters of the 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.