Sustainable Transportation is Focus of IBM Grant Won by UB Professor

Traffic volume data collected at region's U.S.-Canada border crossings will be analyzed

Release Date: May 5, 2011 This content is archived.


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Adel Sadek has been awarded an IBM Smarter Planet Faculty Innovation Grant to develop a new course in sustainable transportation.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Each year, American drivers waste an estimated 3.7 billion hours, or the equivalent of five days, sitting in traffic, burning 2.3 billion gallons of fuel. Students at the University at Buffalo will soon be learning how to reduce that waste, creating less congestion and cleaner air, thanks to an IBM grant to Adel Sadek, PhD, UB associate professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering.

Sadek has received an IBM Smarter Planet Faculty Innovation Award to develop an eight-lecture course on "Advanced Technology Solutions for a Sustainable Transportation System." He describes some of the technologies that will be explored in the course in a video at

"Our strategic location here in Buffalo Niagara, with our three international bridges, provides us with a wealth of data on the factors behind traffic congestion," he says. "We will use those data to develop ways to route traffic flows in smarter, 'greener' ways, so that people spend less time sitting in traffic, and less fuel is consumed."

Specifically, Sadek will leverage the volume data he and Qian Wang, PhD, UB assistant professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, obtain from the Peace Bridge authority regarding and other transportation organizations in the region, such as the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition.

The course address traffic flow fundamentals; traffic simulation; emissions modeling; signal optimization and coordination; incident management; sustainable or green routing; congestion pricing; and vehicle-infrastructure integration or IntelliDrive.

"These course modules, which IBM will be making available to a much wider audience, are being designed to directly impact the next generation of transportation systems engineers," says Sadek, who also directs UB's Transportation Systems Laboratory and is acting chair of Extreme Events: Mitigation and Response, a UB 2020 strategic strength. "We are changing the content of our courses so that they reflect the issues that our students are going to encounter once they enter the workforce."

Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM Academic and Developer Relations, adds, "The work of these award recipients should help change the face of education by enabling students to work on pressing issues facing cities today, and at the same time prepare them for leadership in industries like healthcare and transportation."

Sadek is an expert on the application of information technology and advanced computing to transportation problems known as Intelligent Transportation Systems. He studies the use of such new technologies as collision avoidance systems, adaptive traffic control and dynamic route guidance to increase safety and efficiency. He also has studied how the synchronization of traffic signals could save time and fuel, especially during snowstorms.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and 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.

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