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Fresno State Transportation Institute


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FSTI congratulates one of its graduate fellows, Eng. Vajidullah Molvizadah on his final graduate project paper completion and winning 2nd position for poster presentation at the IEOM Society International – Sydney, Australia – Hybrid Conference.

Former and current FSTI fellows and assistants reunited at FSTI office and we all wish everyone happy holidays.

FSTI organized an Open House and Transportation Research Showcase with attendance from local transportation professionals at Caltrans and the City of Fresno. It was held at the Smittcamp Alumni House, promoting recent innovations and research in transportation. 

FSTI looking for volunteers who will coach or mentor to help guide the students of Fresno County in this competition. Please check the flyer and sign up page for more details.

  Competition Flyer     Sign up page  

FSTI launches Railroad Model Competition for schools, first 30 schools gets a FREE kit for the competition. Please click the button for more information.

Click here


Maria Calahorra-Jimenez Ph.D., Beavers Assistant Professor of Heavy Civil Construction Management at California State University, Fresno, published a research paper on Contracting Strategies: A Different Approach to Address Long-term Performance. 

Click here to know more about the research.

Rony Marina

podcast snip

The birth of K-12 Railroad Model Competition Explained. 

Youtube Video Link to the Podcast 

marina TRB

Marina Lima, FSTI graduate fellow, attended the TRB 2022 and presented "The K-12 Railroad Competition" a project designed to be an accessible, guided, and engaging educational challenge. Providing Fresno County’s students with the opportunity of experiencing aspects of a real-engineering railroad project. Encouraging the future generation to pursue STEM-related careers and build a better future of transportation sciences. Learn more about the Railroad Competition




Dr. Samer Sarofim's research titled 'Developing an Effective Targeted Mobile Application to Enhance Transportation Safety and Use of Active Transportation Modes in Fresno County: The Role of Application Design & Content' was featured in the TRB Weekly newsletter. Dr. Sarofim's research can be found under the University Research News section, labeled 'An App for Pedestrians and Cyclists.'

Linda Lim


Linda Lim, Fresno State alumna of Lyles College of Engineering and currently a doctoral graduate research fellow at the University of Virginia, recently received the National Science Foundation Fellowship, a highly competitive award. An annual stipend is awarded for both the recipient and their institution for three years.


Bus Study


The methods and devices used to quantify the data for these answers included smoke candles, videotaping, air speed measurers, temperature, relative humidity and CO distributions, pressure differentials, particle counts, 3D numerical simulation models and virus numbers and their infectious abilities. Additionally, three prokaryotic viruses (nonharmful) were utilized to simulate the presence of coronavirus within the bus: MS2, T7 and Phi 6 (Note: the Phi 6 virus is most similar to the coronavirus). The experiment tested various methods to aid in purifying the airflow and surfaces within the bus. In regards to the airflow, the photocatalytic insert and the UV-C lights proved most effective in eliminating the virus. Please see the infographic for further details.

Click here for more information about results

Also visit the COVID-19 mitigation page

Wyatt Greives


Dr. Hovannes Kulhandjian, assistant professor for Fresno State's Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Fresno State alumnus, Wyatt Greives, research paper, titled, "Design and Experimentation of a Low-cost Receiver for Visible Light Communications" was selected for the IEEE LATINCOM 2020 Conference.

All submissions undergo a rigorous peer-review by a committee of internationally
recognized experts. Papers selected for the conference have been judged on criteria of timeliness, technical content, novelty, and quality of presentation. Only top-ranked papers were selected for presentation in IEEE LATICOM 2020. 

Click here for more information about Dr. Kulhandjian and Greive's research


Dr. Christian Wandeler presented a presentation at the “Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) Research Snaps Webinar”, on 08/20/2020. Dr. Wandeler’s project, “The Fresno State Transportation Challenge,” was funded through FSTI CSUTC Innovative Projects. The recording for this webinar and the report in full are available online.

The findings of Dr. Samer Sarofim’s project, “Effective Communication Message Strategy for Enhancing Traffic Safety in Fresno County: The Role of Time Horizon, Regulatory Focus, and Perceived Personal Control,” has been highlighted in the TRB's July Newsletter as "Framing messages for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.” The Transportation Research E-Newsletter is designed to highlight selected transportation research-related activities taking place at the federal and state levels and within the academic and international transportation communities. More than 70,000 people from around the world receive the E-Newsletter. Learn more about Dr. Sarofim's Research



FSTI research, “COVID-19 Transit Bus Air Circulation and Virus Mitigation Study,” has been highlighted by different media, including The Fresno Beeabc 30NewsCalifornia KSEE24/CBS47CBS47, GV Wire, Golos Ameriki, and Fresno State News. This study aims to understand air circulation patterns inside the cabins of busses, as well as test the impact of different approaches in mitigating potential virus circulation and infection. The results of this study could be significantly valuable and directly lead to improved protection of passengers and drivers on public transportation modes against all forms of air-borne viruses both locally as well as across the entire globe. For more information, please click here

The first quarterly newsletter has been developed, finalized, reviewed and released. The newsletter includes six articles including research and student spotlights as well as a section for Upcoming Events and social media handles. The Marketing Department had put all new newsletters on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic; so, FSTI’s first newsletter was sent out Thursday, June 25, 2020. View the newsletter here.

 Dr. Green’s proposal entitled “Economic Analysis to Optimize Locations of Railroad Cooperative Loading Facilities for Agricultural Products in the Central Valley” has been recommended for ARI campus funding for 2020-21.  

Abstract of the proposal:

Today, the agricultural producers of California’s Central Valley face increasing competition from foreign farms in the worldwide marketplace. As successful practices pioneered in our valley are disseminated overseas, competitors in nations with systemwide lower wage rates or more efficient infrastructure, are putting California’s farmers at a disadvantage. In order to stay competitive, our farms’ costs of production need to decrease. One such area where the potential for improved efficiencies, and therefore cost-cutting exists, is in the area of transportation of the valley’s agricultural products. In particular, railroads are only lightly utilized, despite the mode’s ability to move each ton of freight almost four times more efficiently per mile than trucks. Currently, the vast majority of the Central Valley’s agricultural products are transported from farms to endusers or to Pacific Ocean ports such as the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, and the Port of Oakland, entirely by trucks. Often the truck equipment is owned and maintained independently by individual agricultural producers, which is not an economically efficient method of agricultural products transportation because it does not make use of economies of scale. Current research by Dr. Green and Dr. Liang suggests that the introduction of a combination of shared transportation assets and facilities, and implementation of a greater use of multi-modal transportation strategies involving railroads, has the potential to decrease the total costs of production for Central Valley farms and improve the competitiveness of California’s agribusinesses in the international marketplace.

This proposed research intends to fill this gap. Specifically, our goals are to (a) quantitatively assess the economic potential of substantially-increased utilization of railroad service by California’s agricultural producers, and (b) develop models to suggest specific, Central Valley locations and characteristics of possible agricultural loading facilities for optimal economic results. We will first study the technological changes in railway transportation of agricultural products, and second, assess recent developments in railroad operations strategy such as “Precision Scheduled Railroading” (PSR). Then, agricultural producer data collected through surveys will be utilized in conjunction with railway infrastructure data for the California Central Valley to produce equations to model where construction of cooperative railroad agricultural loading facilities and related infrastructure could be located.

The findings of Dr. Shahab Tayeb’s project, “Securing the Emerging Technologies of Autonomous and Connected Vehicles,” has been highlighted in the TRB's June Newsletter as "Enhancing security of automated vehicle data”. The Transportation Research E-Newsletter is designed to highlight selected transportation research-related activities taking place at the federal and state levels and within the academic and international transportation communities. More than 70,000 people from around the world receive the E-Newsletter. Learn more about Dr. Tayeb's research..

COVID-19 Transit Bus Air Circulation and Virus Mitigation Study

COVID-19 has changed the world and our lives dramatically. Unfortunately, it also appears that this situation will likely continue for at least another year. As states and governments in the US and around the globe start easing up the different shelter-in-place policies, life is expected to slowly return to some level of normalcy. People around the globe will start going back to work and catching up on delayed errands and obligations. People will start sharing tight spaces on limited capacity public transportation modes such as busses, metros, trains and planes. Potential infections on these modes could be concerningly high, and rightfully so.  Social distancing policies may not be sufficient on public transportation modes, since HVAC systems are likely to just redistribute the air and air-borne virus throughout the entire cabin, risking the health of both drivers and passengers. Accordingly, this study aims to understand air circulation patterns inside the cabins of busses, as well as test the impact of different approaches in mitigating potential virus circulation and infection.

Many devices, metrics and experiments are utilized and implemented to understand and quantify both air circulation as well as virus mitigation inside the bus. Some of the devices and metrics that are adopted include smoke candles; videotaping; air speed; temperature, relative humidity and CO distributions; pressure differentials; particle counts; 3D numerical simulation models, and virus numbers and their infectious abilities. Two different prokaryotic viruses are utilized: MS2 and T7. And, different approaches are implemented to evaluate the potential of mitigating COVID-19 infections in public transportation modes; e.g. positive pressure environment inside the cabin, HEPA filters (with MERV rating above 15), concentrated UV exposure with charged carbon filters in the HVAC systems, center point photocatalytic oxidation technology, and surface antiviral agents. Additionally, these different experiments are implemented under different vehicle conditions, e.g. stationary, in motion, with doors open and shut, with driver and passengers windows open and shut, and with HVAC in cooling and heating operations. Furthermore, these experiments are conducted on different vehicles, with different sizes and with different HVAC configurations. Results of this study could be significantly valuable and directly lead to improved protection of passengers and drivers on public transportation modes against all forms of air-borne viruses both locally as well as across the entire globe.Learn more about Transit Bus Air Circulation

Developing a Feasible Business Model for Expanding the EV Market to Lower Income Californians

The ultimate objective of this research project is to develop a feasible business model for expanding the EV market to lower income Californians. The developed model would address existing barriers to both auto dealers as well as low income Californians. Different tasks, employing a multi-method approach, have been designed to achieve this objective. The methods include: An extensive review of current knowledge and experiences; Data collection via a quantitative statewide survey; Qualitative focus groups and in-depth interviews with relevant stakeholder groups, advocacy groups and experts; and A feasibility analysis and business model development. The research team believes that the result of this work will lead to the development of a feasible business model that will be beneficial for both auto dealerships and low income Californians. Expansion of the EV market to lower income households would lead to cleaner air, reduce speed/impacts of climate change, and decrease cost of energy. Accordingly, results of this work would be initially benefiting the private sector, low income Californians and all Californians. Yet, later expanding to other states, countries and possibly worldwide. Learn more about Expanding the EV

Creating Safer Communities for Use of Active Transportation Modes in California: The Development of Effective Communication

Message Strategy and Outreach for Vulnerable Road Users

The ultimate objective of this research project is to develop a model to showcase the differential effect of message framing on attitudes and intended behaviors related to pedestrian and cyclists traffic safety practices. Further, this research project will determine effective outreach strategies and communication channels for each segment of the vulnerable road users. This research will investigate, through experiment, survey, focus groups, and interviews whether and why various message and outreach strategies have different motivational, attitudinal, and behavioral effects on various vulnerable road user groups and subgroups.

This research contributes to creating safer communities and greater opportunities for use of active transportation modes (i.e., biking and walking) through inducing positive behavioral changes to enhance traffic safety via effective messaging. Results will inform and improve decision-making on transportation-related issues, namely traffic safety. The research team believes that California transportation authorities, professionals, and advocacy groups will be able to use the results of the proposed research to effectively allocate the communication effort and spending to induce attitudinal and behavioral changes that shall impact the safety of active transportation modes.  Learn more about transportation modes.

The Central Valley Transportation Challenge

The Central Valley Transportation Challenge 2020 is an opportunity for K-12 students to explore transportation topics and careers in meaningful and authentic contexts. We will pose a transportation related challenge to students (e.g. How might we make walking to school safer?) and then support them in the development of a solution by guiding them through a design thinking process and teaching them eduScrum (a novel pedagogy) to self-manage their project. During the challenge, we will connect K-12 students with university faculty and students, and transportation professionals. These interactions will deepen students’ knowledge as they engage in exploring transportation topics. Students will also explore transportation career opportunities in meaningful and authentic ways. The current target group are underserved minority students from rural areas in California. To improve accessibility, the project will develop a virtual transportation education hub with a shared repository of transportation-related resources. These resources will be available for future use by a wide audience of educators so that they can engage their students in examining transportation issues and career opportunities in meaningful and authentic ways. We hope that this project raises the interest of California youth in transportation-related careers, their interest as citizens in transportation related questions, and that their projects have a positive impact on their community. Learn more about Central Valley Transportation Challenge.


FSTI staff have been working on designing the details of the competition. Different bases to hold a train set have been tested to finalize the best one based on size, material, thickness, portability, cost, stability, etc. Also, different train tracks from different vendors have been tested. The idea of the map has been developed, which is connecting the main cities of California with High-speed rail. The competition is in the process of being designed for all grade levels from elementary to high school. 


Dr. Chih-Hao Wang gave a presentation at the FSTI advisory board meeting about his project titled "Developing a Fair Accessibility Framework Through Green (Non-Auto) Transportation Modes For Fresno, California.


Dr. Christian Wandeler organized an event for the West Fresno Elementary School students to visit the Fresno State and present their presentations on 1/24/2020. Dr. Wandeler’s project, “The Fresno State Transportation Challenge,” was founded through FSTI CSUTC Innovative Projects. View transportatin channelnge final report.

Dr. John Walkup’s project, “Effective Lessons Plans in Transportation, Phase II: The Lesson Plans,” has involved many students. Mr. Stephan Squire was one of the students trained in this FSTI grant-funded project on Dr. John Walkup curriculum model used for developing the transportation-related lesson plans. As a result of this training, Mr. Squire developed an intense interest in the curriculum model. He worked with Dr. Walkup on his book last summer and was named a coauthor. The book was made available for sale in January 2020.

Walkup, J.R. and S. Squire. The Art & Science of Lesson Design: Practical Approaches to Boosting Cognitive Rigor in the Classroom, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield (2020). ISBN-13: 978-1475854428  

Twenty of the lesson plans developed during the project were made available to public school teachers throughout the state by their submission to CTE Online, the California Department of Education's online repository for career-technical education resources. View lesson plans


Dr. Christian Wandeler’s project, “Youth Design the Future of Transportation for Their Community,” has received media attention from KSEE Television station. KSEE, virtual channel 24, is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Fresno, California, United States. The Fresno State Transportation Institute works to improve transportation issues all around the Central Valley. Now, the institute is helping kids imagine new ways to get to class. “The number one issue that came up was safety, safety,” said teacher Efrain Tovar. 

Students from Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Selma are among a group of students involved in a big project that could one day change how they get to and from school. For more information, WATCH VIDEO. 


The High-Speed Rail tour was a great opportunity to see the High-Speed Rail’s construction, meet with the rail engineers on the site, and learn about the challenges of the right of the way and purchasing the private lands that are on the way of the High-Speed Rail path.


Dr. Christian Wandeler organized an event for the Selma Middle School students to visit the Fresno State and present their presentations on 12/12/2019. Dr. Wandeler’s project, “The Fresno State Transportation Challenge,” was founded through FSTI CSUTC Innovative Projects. View the final report.


Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro and the University of Wuppertal (Germany), recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing to exploring international joint education and research programs in transportation engineering over the next five years. Established in 1972, the University’s name in German is “Bergische Universität Wuppertal” has a total of three campuses located in Wuppertal. Similar to Fresno State, Wuppertal offers a variety of programs from arts and humanities to mathematics and engineering. The University of Wuppertal has one of the largest transportation engineering programs in Germany. 


The transportation engineering students shared more information about transportation engineering related topics with kids. They did this through presentations to address the questions from the kids or the challenges that kids saw in their community (e.g., pedestrian safety).


The 2019 Fresno Regional Transportation Innovations Summit was a joint production of Fresno State Transportation Institute and Fresno Council of Governments, designed to provide an opportunity for hundreds of residents, professionals and stakeholders to become familiar with the latest in advanced, clean transportation technology through an up-close and personal experience. It also brought together businesses and individuals that have invested in cleaner transportation technology, to share their successes and challenges with the community.  View details for FRTIS event.


“The value of technology in a car today is better than the technology that was in the lunar lander in the '60s," says Fresno State's Dr. Clement. “Your car has a tremendous amount of computing power." Learn more about car computing power. (The above picture's source


Ms. Roshanak Farshidpour is selected to receive the 2019 Outstanding Civil Engineer Student Award by the ASCE San Francisco Section! This is her second award in this category, after the one awarded by the ASCE Fresno Chapter. Roshanak is also a team-member of the 2019 Outstanding Research Project led by Dr. Nazari, who will accept the award in the same ceremony. She has also doubled this award, as she was a team-member of another 2019 Outstanding Research Project led by Dr. Tehrani and selected by the ASCE Fresno Chapter. She will be recognized at the Annual Section Meeting taking place on September 12th in the Historic Green Room at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center. Ms. Farshidpour begins her master program at UCLA this Fall.


Dr. Maryam Nazari's project has been selected for the Outstanding Research Project award of the ASCE San Francisco Section! She and her research team aimed to investigate the application of tire-derived aggregates (TDA) in combination with expanded clay (EC) aggregates in precast concrete slabs in road pavements and bridge decks serving non-auto traffic, such as bicycle routes. Given that TDA is a recycled, durable, and economically-efficient material, this project aimed to enhance its usage and its ability to increase the sustainability of such transportation infrastructure, along with attempting to influence future decisionmaking on the rehabilitation and maintenance of such roads. View the report


The goal of his research was to study how improving regenerative braking strategies affects energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in electric vehicles. View the presentation.


California State University, Fresno and the University of Colorado, Denver presented an innovative system called Business+ Commute Optimization System (B+COS) at Fresno Council of Governments (Fresno COG). The system can identify the optimal selection of business commute alternatives to minimize negative environmental impacts and commute time and cost.  


Dr. Tawfik and his colleagues from Fresno State Transportation Institute had a presentation about transportation engineering for elementary school students. 


FSTI is pleased to announce that Dr. Maryam Nazari’s research assistant (undergraduate) student, Mr. Faiaz Rahman, was awarded the Outstanding Oral Presentation in Engineering at the 40th Central California Research Symposium (CCRS) this year. He presented the FSTI Project at CCRS. Very well done!


FSTI is pleased to have Dr. Shahab Tayeb working on the security of connected and autonomous vehicles project! Read more about his research and achievements.


The Fresno State Transportation Institute supported a pilot study of the “Fresno State Transportation Challenge” with an innovation grant to test ways to do outreach in schools and engage the community. The goal is for the kids to learn about transportation, about transportation-related careers, and practice their 21st-century skills by solving a transportation-related issue in their community. We brought in university engineering students to support the K-8 students in their work on the transportation-related project. We taught them an agile mindset and eduScrum to solve complex issues, and then apply it to improve their community. The project members worked with the students over a time span of 8 weeks, and the culminating event was the presentation of their work to the community to advocate for the needs of children and to present their work at Fresno State to other researchers supported by the Fresno State Transportation Institute.



Dr. Aly Tawfik’s student, Ms. Linda Lim, presented her presentations at two conferences, and her conference travel applications were selected by the FSTI. She presented her first transportation-related research, “Estimating the Future Travel Costs of Using Shared Autonomous Vehicle (SAV) Systems,” at International Conference on Transportation and Development 2018, on 07/16/2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She presented her other transportation-related research, “Estimating Future Travel Costs for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) and Shared Autonomous Vehicles (SAVs),” at 21st International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSC) on 11/05/2018 in Maui, Hawaii. Ms. Linda Lim began her Doctoral program in Transportation Engineering at the University of Virginia in Fall 2020.