Newsletter of the Mineta National Transit Research ConsortiumWinter 2012: Vol. 19, Issue 3

Consortium’s first year: progress and changes
by Rod Diridon, Executive Director, MNTRC

Rod Diridon, Executive Director

Rod Diridon, Sr.
Executive Director, MNTRC

TRB HSR workshop planned

By invitation of the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board (TRB), MNTRC will offer a full day of high-speed rail programming on Sunday, January 13, at the annual TRB Congress in Washington DC. US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood will keynote, and Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator Karen Hedlund will be a lead moderator for the six panels showcasing the worlds' top experts on the subject. Reservations may be made via the TRB web site.

Thirty-six transit studies underway

As its first year as an organization comes to a close, MNTRC university members have 36 transit research projects in progress and are preparing for a second year of research programs.

MAP 21 competition approaches; MNTRC contracts to end

January 31, 2016 will mark the end of MNTRC contracts and the beginning of the MAP 21 Tiered UTC program. The MAP 21 competition will be held in spring 2013, and the program will begin to operate in 2014, in parallel with the consortium program.
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Breaking News

USHSR honors Rod Diridon with lifetime achievement award

Rod Diridon receives lifetime achievement award

Rod Diridon receives lifetime achievement award from US High-Speed Rail Association.

(Based on a news release from the US High Speed Rail Association)

The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) presented this year's High Speed Rail Awards to Rod Diridon, Dan Richard, and Dr. Anthony Perl at its 10th High Speed Rail Conference in Los Angeles, December 3-5. Mr. Diridon was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award, given to individuals who have spent years dedicated to improving transportation options in America. He has served as executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute, and he has chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs, most related to transit and the environment. Mr. Diridon was appointed by Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger, in 2001 and 2006 respectively, to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board, of which he is chair emeritus. USHSR's High Speed Rail Awards honor individuals who have the vision and courage to help bring high speed rail to America. The award recipients range from visionaries to those at the forefront of the movement to bring 21st century transportation to America.
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Board Member Profile

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General, International Union of Railways (UIC)

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General, International Union of Railways

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux
International Union of Railways

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux has served as director-general of the International Union of Railways (UIC) since 2009. He contributes his long years of experience and knowledge about transportation – especially rail. MTI is honored to have him serving on its Board of Trustees. A graduate of the Ecole Centrale Paris, he worked at the French Foreign Trade Delegation to Hong Kong before joining French railways SNCF in 1978. Mr. Loubinoux holds responsibilities in a large number of institutions and associations, including French foreign trade advisor and chairman of the Transport Committee, chairman of the Medef International France-Argentina Committee, vice-chairman of the Ecole Centrale Association, chairman of AFFI (the French association of railway engineers and managers), member of the Chartered Institute of Transport, and member of the board of the US High Speed Rail Association. He will be a panelist at MTI’s high-speed rail workshop on January 13, 2013, co-sponsored by the Transportation Research Board.
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grand valley State University

Li-ion reuse model nears completion
by Charles Standridge, PhD, Assistant Dean, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing

Discarded lithium-ion phone batteries.

Discarded or returned phone batteries can be remanufactured and redistributed.

Faculty members, graduate students, and staff from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in the School of Engineering and the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) are continuing their research regarding remanufacturing, repurposing and recycling electric batteries from transit vehicles such as buses. With its focus on lithium-ion batteries, the team is working in partnership with Sybesma’s Electronics, a third-generation family owned business in Holland MI, to insure that this work has industrial applications.

The first version of the dynamic simulation model should be complete by the end of this year. The model incorporates a range of demand projections extracted from the published literature. It considers the apparent shift in demand in the lithium-ion battery market toward stationary storage applications. Regarding economics, the model takes into account recycling costs versus remanufacturing costs and benefits. 
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Rutgers University

Taxi GPS data provides traffic insights
by Robert B. Noland, PhD, Professor and Director, Voorhees Transportation Center

Density map compiled from taxi GPS data

Taxi GPS data shows precisely where and when congestion occurs.

The Voorhees Transportation Center has created a research project to leverage valuable data from taxi GPS systems. The project goals are twofold: first, to use GPS data from taxis to understand actual taxi travel characteristics, such as the busiest origins and destination, and second to understand overall network conditions using average travel speeds, distances, and times obtained from the data. Congestion times, locations revealed Taxi traffic accounts for almost 12% of the total street traffic in New York City. This means the GPS data from taxi trips is a valuable resource to understand citywide traffic conditions.
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Understanding bus transit driver availabilityby Robert B. Noland, PhD, Professor and Director, Voorhees Transportation Center

Transit agencies must employ a sufficient number of transit vehicle operators to meet their scheduled service requirements and to account for unforeseen absences, such as illness. To do so, the agencies employ extraboard operators (on-call backups) to account for these unexpected situations and ensure that service is not interrupted. Transit agencies have a burden to meet minimum service requirements for day-to-day operations. However overestimating the number of extraboard operators can also have a significant cost for these usually cash-strapped transit agencies. The Voorhees Transportation Center is investigating a way to address this issue.
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San Jose State University

MTI researchers publish transportation security textbook, and other research news

by Karen Philbrick, PhD, Director, Research

New transportation security textbook

New textbook by MTI transportation security experts Frances Edwards and Dan Goodrich.

Dr. Frances Edwards, MTI’s Deputy Director of the National Transportation Security Center, and MTI Research Associate, Dan Goodrich, recently published the textbook Introduction to Transportation Security. Their approach emphasizes the important connection and integration between “security” and “emergency management” and plays close attention to theory, practice, and application. This book stresses the importance of reducing the risk of disaster from the beginning concept and design through operation and maintenance of the nation’s transportation systems.

TRB annual meeting to feature MNTRC research

Twelve MTI/MNTRC research papers were selected for presentation at the 2013 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. The MNTRC travel grant program enables many researchers to present work at a variety of professional conferences during the year. Though most of the currently funded research is still in progress, many of the project teams have preliminary results that have reached larger audiences.Read the rest of the story »

Students from 13 high schools attend Summer Transportation Institute

by Peter Haas, PhD, Director, MTI Education Program

MTI’s 2012 Summer Transportation Institute (STI) brought together a diverse group of students from 13 high schools in and around San Jose, Calif. Led by STI Program Director Rosaleen “Roz” Zisch, this year’s curriculum went “green,” eliminating or reducing paper. This meant the students final projects were given as PowerPoint presentations. Despite necessary budget reductions, the Institute maintained its usual academic standards and hosted six professional guest speakers representing several types of transportation. The class also walked to San Jose’s Diridon Metro Station for a firsthand discussion of its future from the facility’s namesake, Rod Diridon, who is also executive director of the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium.
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Garrett Morgan Competition underway

by Donna Maurillo, MSTM, Director, MTI Communications and ITT

Garrett Morgan award winners with Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and MTI Board Chair Steve Heminger

Garrett Morgan award winners with Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and MTI Board Chair Steve Heminger

Will tomorrow’s transportation use the power of wind or sun? Can algae produce a viable alternative to gasoline? Could a flying bus make commuting easier? And how can transit services be delivered more profitably? Those are some of the questions addressed during the annual Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition. MTI works in concert with California’s DOT (Caltrans) to plan and organize this curriculum that challenges middle-school students to think creatively about solving transportation problems.

Each student receives a free workbook from MTI, which provides the entire curriculum, including quizzes and thought-provoking questions. Then the student teams create a project that they demonstrate during a live streaming video broadcast.
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University of Detroit Mercy

UDM holds annual transit camp
by Pamela Rhoades Todd, Principal Investigator, Summer Transit Camp

Transit students in class.

Students dedicate a week of their summer vacation to learning about transit.

University of Detroit Mercy held its sixth Transit Summer Camp, in which students from the greater Detroit area spend a week at the University exploring transportation engineering as a career. They also learn how transit systems affect their communities. The summer program focuses on underrepresented students, with collaboration among university, corporate and government partnerships. Hands-on projects, guest speakers from industry, field trips, and expert university input from civil and manufacturing engineers provided information that opened new career ideas for the students.

Hands-on projects, guest speakers from industry, field trips, and expert university input from civil and manufacturing engineers provided information that opened new career ideas for the students. Specific topics included traffic control management, vehicle infrastructure integration, social justice in transportation and flow of transportation concepts, identification and innovative solutions to transit and paratransit problems, the history of transit, and workforce development issues. Each morning, students heard from corporate and university speakers, and in the afternoon, they worked with the LEGO SMART MOVES Curriculum and Challenge.
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UNiversity of nevada, las vegas

Distinguished seminars discuss mobility issues
by Hualiang (Harry) Teng, PhD, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Students and educators attending mobility seminar.

Seminar given by Dr. Edward Neumann

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) presented two distinguished seminars with the support of MNTRC and the Institute of Transportation Engineers Intermountain Section, Nevada Chapter. The first seminar – “Railroads, Civil Engineering, and Nation Building” – was given by Dr. Edward Neumann, a senior faculty specialized in transit technology in transportation engineering of the Civil Engineering Department at UNLV.

Dr. Neumann provided a historic overview of railroad construction in the US, from the first railroad to the formation of a national railroad network. He provided the background of railroad technology development, the financial mechanism for construction, the engineering characteristics of initial railroads, the manpower required to construct the railroads, including Chinese participation, how some railroads failed, and the people who became wealthy from railroad construction.Read the rest of the story »

© 2012 Mineta National Transit Research Consortium. All rights reserved.