Connected and Automated Vehicles Meet Big Data: Current Research & Future Directions

Date:  Thursday, February 20, 2014, 2 pm to 3 pm

Location:  Matthews Suite, the Reitz Union

Speaker:  Adel W. Sadek, Ph.D., Professor of Civil EngineeringDirector, Institute for Sustainable Transportation & Logistics, Director, Transportation Informatics Tier I University Transportation Center, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York [bio]


The recent years have witnessed the convergence of several driving forces, which when properly integrated and evolved, promise to truly transform transportation systems. Key among those forces are the increased levels of connectivity and automation which will transform the system into a full-fledged Cyber Physical System (CPS) and provide numerous opportunities for improving the quality of service and mitigating transportation externalities.  Like any emerging system, however, Transportation Cyber Physical Systems (T-CPS) applications must be validated and evaluated before they can be implemented and deployed.  This presentation will first describe a trans-disciplinary research aimed at developing next generation testing and evaluation platforms for T-CPS applications.  Among the unique platforms developed is a first-of-its-kind integrated traffic-driving-networking simulator (ITDNS), which allows for human-in-the-loop testing of Connected Vehicle (CV) and Automated Vehicle (AV) applications and their interactions. After overcoming the numerous integration challenges, ITDNS was validated by comparing driver behavior in the “virtual environment” and the real-world; close agreement between the two cases was observed.  The simulation platforms were then used to evaluate three CV/AV applications, namely: (1) eco-signals; (2) reservation-based intersection control; and (3) green routing, and to quantify their likely mobility and environmental benefits.  Moreover, because CVs are expected to result in a wealth of data which can be mined to improve transportation system performance, the presentation will also include a high-level description of some of our recent research related to Transportation and Big Data.  Specifically, we list four examples from our recent initiatives which: (1) developed an extremely computationally efficient forecasting method, inspired by human memory; (2) took advantage of Big Data to develop disaggregate, agent-based models for transportation; and (3) applied data mining and machine learning techniques to classify accident data, identify hot-spots and their attributes, and predict likely accident risk in real-time.  The presentation concludes by outlining some of our future research initiatives and directions related to Connected and Automated vehicles, and Big Data Analytics. 


Dr. Sadek is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo (UB).  He also serves as the Director of UB’s Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics (ISTL), Director of the Transportation Informatics Tier I University Transportation Center (TransInfo), and Chair of UB2020’s Strategic Strength in Extreme Events.  Before joining UB in 2008 to lead the development of the department’s interdisciplinary program in transportation systems engineering, Dr. Sadek was an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Vermont (UVM), and held a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer Science. He also served as co-Director of UVM’s Complex Systems Center. Dr. Sadek is the recipient of the 1998 Milton Pikarsky Award for the best dissertation in the field of Transportation Science and Technology, awarded by the Council of University Transportation Centers, a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, and a 2011 IBM Smarter Planet Faculty Innovation Award.

Dr. Sadek’s research interests span a wide range of topics including Connected and Automated Vehicles, transportation Big Data Analytics, transportation modeling and simulation, artificial intelligence applications in transportation, traffic engineering, transportation planning, and infrastructure management.  His research has been most recently funded by several agencies, including NSF, the Federal Highway Administration, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), Region II University Transportation Research Center (UTRC2), among others.  Dr. Sadek is coauthor of two Transportation textbooks, along with more than 100 papers in peer-refereed journals and refereed conference proceedings.  In 2007, one of his papers won the best paper award by Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Operational Effects of Geometrics.  Dr. Sadek currently serves as Associate Editor for Transportation Research – Part C, Regional Editor for the US for the International Journal of Transportation, and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems. He is Co-chair of the TRB committee on Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Computing Applications (ABJ70), and is a member of TRB committee on Surface Transportation Weather, and of the Advanced Technologies committee of the Transportation and Development Institute (T&DI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).