BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new transportation research specialization at
the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences will provide New York State's government agencies and
municipalities with access to innovative technologies and systems
that address critical transportation issues facing the region and
As a first step in the development of the new specialization, UB
has appointed its first transportation engineers, Professor Adel W.
Sadek and Assistant Professor Qian (pronounced Chen) Wang of the
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.
Sadek, formerly of the University of Vermont, is an expert on
the application of information technology and advanced computing to
transportation problems. He studies the use of such new
technologies as collision avoidance systems, adaptive traffic
control, and dynamic route guidance to increase safety and
He also has studied how the synchronization of traffic signals
could save time and fuel, especially during snowstorms. Sadek
already has obtained federal funding to apply innovative
computational simulations to study driving patterns and behaviors
on UB's North (Amherst) Campus as a test case for wider use of
Wang focuses on the use of transportation economic principles
and behavioral modeling techniques to plan sustainable
transportation systems. She studies the supply-and-demand
relationship of transportation infrastructure and has developed a
tour-based travel demand forecasting model that captures journeys
that include multiple stops before a vehicle returns to a home
base. Understanding the behavioral factors affecting travel
provides a more precise view of transportation demand.
"The new transportation engineering emphasis at UB fills a
critical research need in the upstate New York region, particularly
in light of deteriorating infrastructure, rising fuel costs and the
need to serve a diverse and aging population with 'intelligent' and
environmentally sustainable technologies," said A. Scott Weber,
Ph.D., chair and professor of the UB Department of Civil,
Structural and Environmental Engineering, in which the new
specialization is based. "Here in Western New York with its rich
history as an international border crossing and Great Lakes
transportation hub, we are uniquely situated to develop real-world
solutions to pressing issues facing both passenger and commercial
The first graduate students with a specialization in
transportation engineering enrolled at UB this fall.
UB's transportation research thrust will focus on improving
traffic flow and developing intelligent transportation systems, in
which information technologies are used to better manage
transportation; develop technologies that promote more efficient,
safe travel during inclement weather, particularly during upstate
New York's harsh winters; develop collision-avoidance sensors for
roads, bridges and vehicles, and more integrated land-use and
infrastructure management, funding and planning.
Weber said that the new emphasis combines and leverages existing
strengths throughout the university and is directly connected to
several UB 2020 strategic strengths.
"UB already has a number of very talented faculty throughout the
university doing research in transportation systems," he continued.
"The new transportation engineering emphasis fills a critical need
in the existing strengths and will serve as a nexus for building a
wider transportation-systems research focus across the campus."
UB's well-established and internationally renowned strengths in
civil and structural engineering, particularly in the physical
protection of transportation infrastructure, provide an excellent
foundation for the new transportation engineering emphasis, added
The new specialization will glean additional strength from
expertise in other departments and schools at UB, ranging from
extreme event mitigation and land-use and urban planning to dynamic
routing of vehicles and driving simulation.
Infrastructure management, in particular, is a concern that is
relevant to the region and the nation, Weber said.
"Many of our nation's transportation systems were built in the
1960s and they are now at the end of their life," he said. "It's a
huge issue to figure out which components to rebuild and how to
optimize appropriations, given budgetary limitations. This need is
even more critical given the uncertain financial times we face in
New York State and the nation."
Within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences,
departments or centers currently involved in some aspect of
transportation research include computer science and engineering,
electrical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, MCEER,
the Research Institute for Safety and Security in Transportation
and the New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial
Other faculty members who conduct research on transportation are
based in urban and regional planning in the School of Architecture
and Planning; economics, geography and the National Center for
Geographic Information and Analysis in the College of Arts and
Sciences; the Center for Transportation Injury Research in the
School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the Center for
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system that is its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.