STRIDE E-Newsletter, Fall 2012

STRIDE 2012 Transportation Interns

Three undergraduate students were chosen to participate in the STRIDE Transportation Research Internship Program (TRIP) this summer.  Two students interned at the University of Florida and one at Florida International University. In TRIP, interns participate in research projects under the direction of faculty and graduate students, and the experience is valuable for those who are interested in going to graduate school or purse a career as a transportation engineer. This year, the interns learned to use CORSIM, assisted in gathering and processing data, searched for scholarly articles, helped to prepare research papers, and used diverse techniques to evaluate data. Undergraduate students from the STRIDE consortium as well as from other universities across the U.S. are eligible to participate in TRIP and can choose to intern at any university within the consortium. This is a paid internship that runs from May to August of each year. More information is found at /internship-opportunities-.

The students who participated this year are:

Imad Ghossein, Senior, Civil Engineering, UABImad Ghossein, TRIP 2012 Intern at UF

Project Title: Testing of Implementation of Toll Plaza Modeling in the Highway Capacity Manual Freeway Facilities Analysis Methodology

TRIP Adviser: Scott Washburn, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Florida

Imad Ghossein, a senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, worked on a project at the University of Florida with Dr. Scott Washburn, an associate professor in the transportation program. Recently, Washburn worked with two master’s students to implement toll plaza modeling into CORSIM and develop a toll plaza analysis methodology that could be integrated into the Highway Capacity Manual Freeway Facilities methodology. Ghossein performed testing of the developed toll plaza analysis methodology, with emphasis on the oversaturated (i.e. where the traffic demand is greater than capacity) aspect of the methodology. As part of the testing, he ran simulations in CORSIM with a large number of toll plaza configurations and compared the results to the Freeway Facilities program output.  Ghossein says he gained a lot of knowledge with his exposure to transportation engineering software and how research is carried out in transportation. 

“My research skills have improved a lot throughout the internship program due to all the experiments that I’ve performed.” Ghossein said. “I also learned about ongoing research projects in transportation engineering from all the seminars that were presented.”

Ghossein, originally from Lebanon, moved to the U.S. in 2008 to pursue a civil engineering degree. When he is not studying, you will find him at the swimming pool or playing basketball with his friends. Ghossein will be graduating in December 2012.

Maria Rojas, Junior, Civil Engineering, UFmaria

Project Title:  Estimation of Diversion Rate during Incidents based on Mainline Detector Data

TRIP Adviser: Mohammed Hadi, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Florida International University

Maria Rojas, a junior at the University of Florida, decided to work with Associate Professor Mohammed Hadi and Research Associate Yan Xiao at Florida International University in Miami, on a project called Estimation of Diversion Rate during Incidents based on Mainline Detector Data.

“It was a great experience because I learned more about the transportation field research-wise,” Rojas said. “Also, I observed how research and FDOT projects go hand in hand especially in a very transportation focused city such as Miami.

Rojas added that she learned how to apply engineering principles to research such as data collecting and problem solving, and it provided her with a closer glimpse into conducting research in the transportation field and what graduate school could be like.

Rojas attended the Miami Dade Honors College and later transferred to the University of Florida to pursue a degree in civil engineering. She said she has always had a penchant for math and science, but that living in Miami and using public transportation was what led her to to the transportation field of civil engineering. After graduation, Rojas plans to attend graduate school.


Bryan St. George, Senior, Civil Engineering, UFbryan

Project Title: Lane Changing on Freeways

TRIP Adviser: Lily Elefteriadou, Ph.D., Professor

Bryan St. George, a senior at the University of Florida, worked with Lily Elefteriadou, professor and director of the STRIDE Center on a project looking at Lane Changing on Freeways. His tasks also included working with a graduate student to perform data analysis related to the modeling of lane changes along freeways. St. George also took his internship experience one step further, carrying out his own research and expanding on the original topic.  After consulting various publications, St. George wrote a literature review and a suggested methodology to estimate the critical gap size considering various driver behaviors and characteristics.  He said the TRIP experience helped him to gain some insight on the thesis track and how to prepare a thesis.

“I enjoyed my experience with TRIP,” St. George said. “Aside from the connections I made while in the program, I also learned different data analysis techniques and new ways to search for scholarly articles.”

St. George will graduate this fall with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, and he is hoping to attend graduate school at UF in spring 2013.  As for his future, he certainly knows what he wants to do.

“After school, my dream job is to work for Disney as an Imagineer,” St. George said.

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