Newsletter of the Mineta National Transit Research ConsortiumFall 2013: Vol. 20, Issue 2

Message from the Executive Director
by Rod Diridon, Executive Director, MNTRC

Rod Diridon, Executive Director, MNTRC

Rod Diridon, Sr.
Executive Director, MNTRC

Welcome to MNTRC’s current edition of World in Motion, with updates on our latest research and activities.

Consortium hits its stride

MNTRC is operating at full capacity, with 49 research projects in process, full and expanding academic programs, and 23 outreach activities conducted during the past year. While the research and education components are obvious and highly valued, the outreach may be even more important. 

Multiple outreach events

The energetic MNTRC outreach effort systematically brings the new research to the attention of the transportation community, inviting potential users to discover and, ideally, incorporate the latest research findings. Don't miss these upcoming events planned by the Mineta Transportation Institute, in some cases with participation from other MNTRC university members.

See the full list of events »

Congratulations to Leo Hanifin

Congratulations to MNTRC director Leo Hanifin, dean of the College of Engineering and Science at the University of Detroit Mercy, who has been appointed to the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

The confirming letter noted, “It is with great enthusiasm about your skill set, as well as your commitment to improving public transportation in our region, that we write to invite you to serve a two year term on the CAC, starting immediately.”

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Board Member Profile

Diane Woodend Jones, Chairman of the Board, Lea+Elliott, Inc.

Diane Woodend Jones

Diane Woodend Jones

A recent addition to the MNTRC Board, Diane Woodend Jones is the Chairman of the Board for Lea+Elliott, Inc., a transportation consulting company with a dozen U.S. offices and an international practice. As a principal in the company’s Dallas/Fort Worth office, she is also involved in the management of the company’s central region. MNTRC chose Diane in part for her transportation and board of directors experience.

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Grand Valley State University

Li-Ion battery recycling makes progress
by Charles Standridge, PhD, Professor and Assistant Dean, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing

Professor Lindsay Corneal and Master of Science in Engineering student Eric Li of the School of Engineering of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) have been working on recycling processes for lithium-ion batteries that have reached the end of useful life in a vehicle. This work is in keeping with the GVSU core value of sustainability – meeting current needs without compromising the needs and resources of future generations. It has been performed as part of our partnership with Sybesma’s Electronics in Holland MI.

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Howard University

Summer program stimulates high school students
by Errol Noel, PhD, Director, Howard University Transportation Research Center

Howard’s NTSI students with sign equipment

Students try their skills in the District DOT sign shop.

Howard University has been hosting the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) on campus in Washington DC since 1998. More than 300 students have participated. The objective is to expose high school students to the many opportunities available in transportation and to inspire them to pursue transportation professions through a variety of educational, motivational, recreational, and cultural activities.

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Rutgers University

Measuring benefits of transit-oriented development
by Robert B. Noland, PhD, Professor and Director, Voorhees Transportation Center

Cranford (NJ) Crossing

Cranford (NJ) Crossing, with rentals above ground-floor retail.
Source: Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center

A team of researchers at Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers University led by Prof. Robert Noland, PhD, will soon be completing work on a two-year study “Measuring the Benefits of Transit-Oriented Development.” This study provides an overview of the beneficial impacts of transit-oriented development (TOD) – compact, mixed-use pedestrian land uses within walking distance of transit stations.

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San Jose State University

MTI awards 15 new research grants

by Karen Philbrick, PhD, Director, Research

Bicycles at bus stop.

One funded study will focus on cyclers’ access to transit.

In response to the 2013 Request for Proposals (RFP), MTI received 40 high-quality transit-oriented submissions. These proposals were sent to MTI’s Research Associate Policy Oversight Committee (RAPOC), which is composed of the seven San Jose State University deans and department heads (or their designees) of the academic units with which MTI is associated, as well as to designated research liaisons from Caltrans and USDOT FTA.

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Transportation Safety & Security
Prepare for disaster as climates change

by Frances Edwards, PhD, Deputy Director, MTI National Transportation Safety and Security Center

As world populations prepare for climate change, they also must prepare for the inevitable disasters that are predicted to go along with it. These include hurricanes, “super storms,” floods, fires, and even new diseases as tropical pathogens move northward with warming temperatures. MTI has been very involved in the kinds of conferences addressing those issues. Here is a sample of the Institute’s activities so far this year.

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MSTM alumni gain career advancement

by Peter Haas, PhD, Director, MTI Education Program

What happens when transportation professionals take the Mineta Transportation Institute’s Master of Science in Transportation Management? They move ahead in their careers. The program offers a complete range of relevant courses, such as disaster management, legal and legislative issues, leadership, funding and finance, security management, and much more. In this issue, we highlight two recent promotions.

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Information & Technology Transfer
MTI group goes into the bridge

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

MTI group on Bay Bridge during construction.

MTI hosts a tour into the understructure of the new Oakland Bay Bridge eastern span.

Millions of people will be driving over the new eastern span of the Oakland Bay Bridge, but how many will get to see the inside? MTI hosted a group to visit the bridge during construction, and Caltrans tour guides had a surprise. The tour went into the tunnel-like structure beneath the roadway, and this was the only “outsider” group to do so.

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MTI co-sponsors industry workshops

As a way to help promote the importance of public transportation, MTI has sponsored or co-sponsored a growing number of conferences and industry meetings. All of them have featured nationally or internationally prominent speakers, thanks to MTI’s deep roots within the transportation professions.

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University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Summer camp engages future transportation leaders
by Hualiang "Harry" Teng, PhD, Director, Railroad, High Speed Rail, and Transit Initiative

Summer campers board train.

UNLV summer camp participants tour railroad museum.

The University of Nevada Las Vegas Transportation Engineering Summer Camp was part of the two week camp held on the Reno (UNR) and Las Vegas (UNLV) campuses. The program recruited 11 boys and 9 girls. During their week at UNR, they took lectures on traffic engineering and transportation planning, and they visited local airport and highway facilities.

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University of Toledo

Biodiesel reduces particulate matter for buses
by Ashok Kumar, PhD, Chair, Department of Civil Engineering

Hamid Omidvarborna and conference visitor.

Mr. Hamid Omidvarborna (right) listens to a visitor’s discussion about his poster at the AWMA 106th Annual conference during the Technical Poster session.

In the past decade, biodiesel has become more prominent as an alternative renewable fuel to replace conventional fossil fuels in transportation. The University of Toledo (UT) had played a valuable role in conducting research related to biodiesel emissions from transit buses during the past eight years. Today, the focus of UT has shifted to examining the “Combustion Chemistry of Biodiesel for Use in Urban Transport Buses” under a research grant.

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