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Transportation and logistics faculty and students present research

Staff and students from NDSU’s Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute and the transportation and logistics graduate program presented research at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting Jan. 8-12 in Washington, D.C. It is the world’s largest gathering of transportation researchers and professionals.

The meeting attracted more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world and covered all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in approximately 800 sessions and workshops.

The following NDSU papers were presented:

• “Connected-Vehicle Method of Estimating International Roughness Index” by Raj Bridgelall, UGPTI researcher; Md Tahmidur Rahman, Fugro Roadware, Inc.; Denver Tolliver, UGPTI director; and Jerry Daleiden, Fugro Roadware, Inc. The research estimates the international roughness index from the connected vehicle method that produces a roughness index called the road impact factor. The authors establish a theory that the ratio between the road impact factor and the international roughness index changes with the dominant profile wavelengths.

• “Revamping Tribal Road Networks from Various Sources and Improving Quality” by EunSu Lee, New Jersey City University and UGPTI affiliated faculty. The objectives of this study are to integrate road networks to provide comprehensive road network using multiple public sources and provide guides to perform a quality control assessment before delivering data and using it for geospatial analysis. The study focused on North Dakota’s Forth Berthold Reservation.

• “Three Affiliated Tribes Seat Belt Primary Intervention Assessment” by institute researchers Kimberly Vachal and Andrew Kubas. The Three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Reservation recently enacted a primary seat belt law to try to improve public safety on its roads. An assessment in the initial months shows early gains in increased seat belt use which may have been eroded in towns. On highways, however, the intervention appears to have produced sustained gains in seat belt use by male car and sport utility vehicles drivers.

• “Accessibility Analysis of Emergency Services to K-12 Schools in North Dakota – Using Virtual Sensor Data” by institute researcher Diomo Motuba, and transportation and logistics doctoral student Muhammad Khan. The objective of this study was to analyze the accessibility of emergency care services to K-12 schools in North Dakota using a gravity model. The main dependent variables used where real-time travel data obtained from virtual sensor data and the trauma center level. Results suggest the spatial distribution of emergency services relative to K-12 schools in North Dakota are not well balanced and need further location optimization.

• “Integrated Multimodal Transportation Model for Switchgrass-Based Bioethanol Supply Chain with Case Study Based on North Dakota” by transportation and logistics doctoral student Yong Shin Park, NDSU professor of management and marketing Joseph Szmerekovsky, Minnesota State University Moorhead assistant professor in the College of Business and Innovation Atif Osmani, and transportation and logistics Ph.D. student N. Muhammad Aslaam. The objective of this study is to minimize the total cost for cultivation/harvesting, infrastructure, storage process, bioethanol production, and transportation. Strategic decisions, including the number and location of intermodal facilities and bio-refineries, and tactical decisions, such as amount of biomass shipped, processed and converted into bioethanol are validated using North Dakota as a case study.

• “Estimating Demand for Intercity Bus Services in a Rural Environment” by institute researcher Jeremy Mattson. The research developed an intercity mode choice model that can be incorporated into a statewide travel demand model to estimate demand for rural intercity bus services. Four intercity transportation modes are considered in the study: automobile, bus, rail and air. The study was conducted in North Dakota, but results could be transferable to other areas with similar geographic characteristics.

• “Exploring Transit’s Contribution to Livability in Rural Communities: Case Study of Valley City and Dickinson, North Dakota” by institute researchers Ranjit Prasad Godavarthy, and Jeremy Mattson. The study investigates the nexus of transit and rural livability by conducting case studies in the North Dakota communities of Valley City and Dickinson. For each of the communities, public/resident surveys, local transit rider surveys,and stakeholder interviews were conducted to understand differing opinions on livability and how transit contributes to livability.

• “Estimating Ridership of Rural Demand-Response Transit Services for the General Public” by institute researcher Jeremy Mattson. The study developed a model for estimating demand for rural demand-response transit services for the general public. Lack of data for demand-response service characteristics and geographic coverage has limited the estimation of such models. Compared to previous research, the inclusion of a greater number of variables and more specific service information improved the performance of the models.

Institute researchers also led sessions at the meeting.

Researcher Jill Hough presided at the “Case Studies and Surveys of Transit Needs in Rural Communities” session. Participants learned about estimating the demand for services within and between rural and small communities. Case studies and surveys were conducted at the local, regional and national scales to identify needs and trends in rural public transportation.

Associate director Brenda Lantz led the Motor Carrier Alternative Compliance subcommittee meeting. Participants explored potential ideas aimed at assisting federal truck and bus regulators in establishing a congressional mandated “alternative” compliance program that would reward carriers for exceeding regulatory requirements. She also chaired the TRB’s Truck and Bus Safety Committee meeting. The committee identifies and articulates research needs related to commercial vehicle safety.

Lantz also presided at the Truck and Bus Safety Research session, which featured 14 posters and practice-ready papers on commercial carrier safety research.

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