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Fresno State Transportation Institute

Projects  

Year 1 (2018)

PI's Background: Dr. Nancy Van Leuven
Project's Start date: 1 July, 2018
Project's End date: 31 December, 2018

Executive Summary: As outlined by the Fresno County Transportation Institute (FSTI), this research project focuses on Objective 7 of SB 1: "To inform and improve decision-making on transportation-related issues through timely, relevant, and nonpartisan public opinion polling of Californians"; specifically, the Fresno County area. In addition to researching best practices about public opinion polling, this project will strengthen regional partnerships by involving local leaders in discussions about needed information and audiences. The aim is to create, pilot and evaluate a polling and survey tool to use in a deliberative decision-making process appropriate for issues associated with transportation-related topics. This will be accomplished by:
● Identifying existing tools and previous scholarship
● Analyzing major constructs or focal points of existing tools to identify major issues
● Identifying key informants or stakeholders who represent a broad sub-sample of the population in the FSTI region
● Soliciting participation in the structured interview
● Prioritizing issues identified by key stakeholders, including: Advanced multimodal and transit solutions and optimization of existing systems; facilitating mobility, improving air quality and reducing traffi congestion and energy demand; and other topics discovered in this research project
● Creating the focus group/interview script
● Administering the tool after capturing a full representation of publics from multiple cultures
● Analyzing data results compiled by researchers with student assistants
● Review of draft results with key informants or stakeholders
● Finalizing results and recommendations for submission to FSTI
● Disseminating report to desired audiences as requested by FSTI
● Identifying future funding and research possibilities

California's Central Valley area -- especially the FSTI area of focus among the 15 cities within Fresno County -- faces many challenges related to transportation, energy development, and air quality. As recognized in Senate Bill 1, this area is increasingly recognized as a congested corridor needing policies to address these challenges. Such policies require technical and scientific expertise, as well as support from multiple stakeholders, including the public. The inherent tension between policies that have a scientific basis yet require consensus among diverse stakeholders can lead to gridlock and inaction (Anderson, 2015).

Decision-making processes for transportation management have evolved over time and become more complex with increased pressure from exploding populations and subsequent development, as well as advances in transportation technologies. The risks and uncertainties of such processes (in both the near and long term) are heightened by controversial activities as well as opposing viewpoints such as rural vs. urbanized areas. This project aims to explore a decision-making approach based on informed deliberation between experts, stakeholders, decision-makers, and the public that could avoid the potential for gridlock.

Final Report: Please click here.

PI's Background: Dr. Maryam Nazari

Project's Start date: 16 June, 2018

Project's End date: 31 December, 2018

Executive Summary: This project aims to investigate the application of Tire-Derived Aggregates (TDA) in precast ‎concrete slabs in road pavements and bridge decks serving non-auto traffic, such as bicycle ‎routes. Application of TDA as a green, durable, and economically-efficient material, enhances the ‎sustainability of transportation infrastructure. The project addresses the following objectives, which ‎are aligned with the goals of the SB-1 and the FSTI Consortium:‎
• ‎"Long-term road and bridge maintenance and pavement/concrete rehabilitation needs" (SB-1 ‎Objective 3) of the bicycle routes, through the application of durable rubberized aggregate ‎concrete in the design and construction of precast concrete panels for pavement and bridge ‎decks; and
• ‎"Facilitating road and bridge rehabilitation/maintenance decision-making" (SB-1 Objective ‎‎2), through performing life-cycle cost analysis incorporating application of TDA in the ‎construction of durable precast pavement slabs and bridge decks.‎
The use of precast concrete elements in pavement applications has been successfully applied for ‎over 40 years in the USA (AASHTO). Precast concrete has also proven to be a durable, high-performance solution for bridges. To design and construct non-auto transportation routes in this ‎project, precast concrete panels will be used for pavement and bridge deck applications. To ‎address their long-term maintenance and rehabilitation needs, tire-derived aggregate concrete ‎‎(TDAC) will be used in the construction of precast elements. The TDA, recycled from waste ‎rubber materials in tires, replaces coarse aggregates in concrete. As reported in CalRecycle ‎‎(2016), TDA has been used for a number of applications in the state of California. Examples are ‎embankment fill material, retaining wall backfill material, vibration-damping material, and asphalt ‎pavements. Tires are made of very durable engineered materials in order to provide reliable, safe, ‎and predictable behavior while on the wheels of vehicles. Using these durable materials in ‎infrastructural construction will lessen their maintenance and rehabilitation needs. Further, this ‎application will divert waste tires from landfills. Higher energy dissipation and lower strength of ‎the rubberized concrete compared to the conventional concrete were reported in different ‎research studies (Tupco and Avcular 1997; Al-Tayeb et al. 2012; Miller and Tehrani 2017). Some ‎researchers (Atahan and Sevim 2008) also utilized this material in traffic barriers. As shown in ‎these studies, energy absorption enhancement is a unique feature of TDA concrete, which could ‎be efficiently used in bicycle routes and infrastructure. The application of rubberized precast ‎concrete panels cushions effectively the impact with the ground in case of falls and therefore ‎ensures a safe non-auto transportation system (Dondi et al. 2011). In this research, the possibility ‎of application of TDA concrete in precast pavement slabs and bridge decks will be investigated ‎by understanding their mechanical properties and presenting the optimal percentage of aggregate ‎replacement to achieve the best performance for precast applications. Moreover, a life-cycle cost ‎analysis will be developed to investigate the long-term benefits of constructing green and durable ‎infrastructure on transportation investments. ‎

Final Report: Please click here

PI's Background: Dr. Yushin Ahn

Project's Start date: 16 June, 2018

Project's End date: 31 December, 2018

Executive Summary: It has been of importance to monitor the actual status of existing structures such as bridges ‎regarding maintenance and assessment of the structure. Remote sensing technique has been one ‎of the efficient, economic and non-intrusive method for this task for years. ‎
Recent technological advancement in digital cameras brings consumer grade digital camera to the ‎game with high resolution and high frame rates. Digital photogrammetry, science of making ‎reliable measurement of photographs is well-suited and well-established for the monitoring tasks. ‎
‎ It is also a typical curriculum in civil engineering to test the reliability and stability of specimen ‎in the lab as in Figure and recent studies show encouraging results and claim the potential of ‎photogrammetric approach of these tasks. ‎
Figure Examples of photogrammetric monitoring in laboratory. (a) Beam deformation test (b) ‎concrete failure test (c) shake-table test (d) shake table displacement changes
Here, we take fullest advantage of Civil Engineering Lab tests at California State University at ‎Fresno. Shake-table test, one of stability test of structure or pile of soil when pressure is given ‎‎(See Figure (c)) is our primary test using digital camera and all necessary knowledge and practice ‎will be sought to perform Bridge Deformation Inspection Monitoring later. ‎
Through this project, we apply digital photogrammetry to investigate 1) the limitation and ‎potential of recent camera system in deformation test, 2) high frame rates, in other word, slow ‎motion capability on fatigue or vibration monitoring and 3) applicability in bridge deflection and ‎vibration in time.‎
We design this project to combine research and education together. In structural/geotechnical lab, ‎this method will be introduced to give students another view in solving problems and critical ‎thinking. This is also beneficial to geomatics students as well, for this topic is relevant for ‎photogrammetry, industrial tooling and deformation monitoring survey. ‎
Two students, one undergraduate and graduate will participate this project and help data ‎acquisition and make tutorials so that material will be utilized in real lab.‎
The core of proposed study have a good potential and flexibility in applying similar works such ‎as change detection, feature tracking and time-series analysis of images. The module that we will ‎be developing and results of this study will attract grants in Caltrans, NSF and will put us in ‎better position in industrial collaboration.‎

Final Report: Please click here

 

PI's Background: Dr. Chih-Hao Wang 

Project's Stardate: March 1st 2019

Project's End date: December 31st 2019

Executive Summary:

Fresno has been regarded as a city with a high concentration of poverty. There-fore, it is extremely important to examine whether transportation inequality exists in Fresno because transportation shapes residents’ economic opportunities, physical activities and social interactions. This study is to address this issue by looking at whether a resident of Fresno would have an equal opportunity to ac-cess to a variety of urban opportunities, such as jobs, physical activities and din-ing, social interactions, and public facilities. Two non-auto (green) transportation modes (i.e. public transit and cycling) are considered in this study since not eve-ryone can afford for a private vehicle. We fist use the GIS (Geographic Infor-mation System) to illustrate the service area by using these two green transporta-tion modes, respectively, for each block group in the city. With the recently com-pleted “open street” data, we then use the service area to count the number of various urban opportunities (jobs, restaurants, parks, multi-use paths, schools, libraries, and schools) that a block group can reach within a 10-, 20-, 30-, 45-, and 60- minute-long travel time by transit or cycling. This is based on the will-known cumulative opportunity approach to measure the accessibility of a com-munity to various opportunities in a city. To examine whether there exist differ-ence in accessibility between a community and one another, we compare an ar-ray of computed accessibilities between better-off communities and worse-off ones. Several economic and social-demographical factors are considered to di-vide the communities into two groups, including income, property value, school enrollment, vehicle ownerships, race, and age. This would allow for a more com-prehensive way to compare the accessibility for many socioeconomic aspects. Another innovation in this study is to create a platform to flexibly group communi-ties into two for the accessibility comparison. This would reveal whether the re-sults are sensitive to the threshold used for grouping. The comparison results suggest that the current green transportation network do help with the accessibil-ity in terms of economic opportunities for economically disadvantaged neighbor-hoods. However, the city might need to focus on improving the efficiency of the bus system to provide a wider service area for more urban opportunities. Stu-dents might be a good target for further study to better understand their needs because there is no consistent patterns found from the results. Finally, the find-ings point out that more efforts on providing multi-use paths need to be done to improve the accessibility by cycling for non-white and adolescent groups. 

Final Report: Please click here

PI's Background: Dr. Christian Wandeler

Project's Start date: March 1st, 2019

Project's End date: October 31st, 2019 

Executive Summary:

The complexity of a globalized world, accelerating technological advances, and rapid change challenge educational systems. Around the world the call is to develop 21st century skills with a focus on career readiness, ability for lifelong learning, and collaboration skills. The development of the foundational elements of civic engagement (civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions) of children and youth is also a dominant concern for educators and policymakers. Unfortunately, not all youth have the same opportunities to develop civic self-efficacy. However, the civic empowerment engagement gap can be closed by providing underserved students with interactive and authentic civic experiences.

We strove to create such an authentic civic experience and piloted the Fresno State Transportation Challenge (FSTI) at an elementary school in the Washington Unified School district, Fresno County, California. The research question for this innovation grant was: Can we leverage the expertise and resources of the Fresno State Transportation Institute to bring high quality educational experience to underserved students and help them improve their communities?

Final Report: Please click here.

 

Year 2 (2019)

 PI's Background: Dr. Chih-Hao Wang

Project's Stardate: May 1st 2019

Project's End dateDec 31st 2019

Executive Summary:

This study aims to develop a multi-objective optimization modeling framework to maximize the total accessibility to multi-use paths while minimizing the gap between low- and high- accessibility neighborhoods by an optimal allocation of active transportation investments for Fresno, California.

Accessibility to multi-use paths is calculated for Fresno, California that measures the total length of multi-use paths (walkway and bikeway) a resident could reach to from the own block group with a 30 minute cycling ride.
A geographically weighted regression (GWR) model is used to capture the local relationships between accessibility to multi-use paths and previous transportation investments (walkway, bikeway, and primary and secondary roads), while controlling for other socioeconomic factors.
The marginal-effect analysis for the GWR results indicates economically efficient, inefficient, and indifferent locations for further investments.
The GWR results are embedded into a multi objective optimization modeling framework to improve accessibility to multi-use paths over the city and simultaneously address inequality in active transportation accessibility.
The methodology of this multi-objective optimization modeling provides decision makers a new insight into the problem of making of an economicallyefficient and socially-equal active transportation plan to foster public health.

Final Report: Please click here.

PI's Background: Dr. Christian Wandeler 

Project's Stardate: May 1st 2019

Project's End dateDec 31st 2019

Executive Summary:

Project Objective

With the “Fresno State Transportation Challenge” we want to create an authentic civic service learning experience, where K-12 students, K-12 teachers, university students and community members work together on transportation related projects. The goal is to bring an innovative pedagogical approach to the Central Valley, particularly to underserved students.

 As the Fresno State Youth Transportation Challenge we want to engage K-12 students, K-12 teachers, university students and community members in transportation related projects, so that…

 K-12 STUDENTS

a)   develop their knowledge and sensitivity in regards to transportation related issues,

b)   develop awareness of transportation related careers (e.g. law, policy, engineering, advocacy…),

c)   practice their academic skills (e.g. literacy, STEM),

d)   develop their 21st century skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity,

e)   develop their leadership and citizenship skills,

f)    develop an agile, growth mindset,

g)   increase their overall sense of hope and self-efficacy to create a healthier and more prosperous future for themselves, their community, and their planet.

 

K-12 TEACHERS

a)   develop their knowledge and sensitivity in regards to transportation related issues,

b)   develop awareness of transportation related careers (e.g. law, policy, engineering, advocacy…),

c)   learn state of the art pedagogy to support the development of 21st century skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity

d)   teachers passion for project-based learning and service learning

e)   develop an agile, growth mindset

f)    develop teachers’ mindset as change agents and interrupters of negative cycles.

 UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

a)   develop their knowledge and sensitivity in regards to transportation related issues, transportation related careers (e.g. law, policy, engineering, advocacy…),

b)   learn to work with youth

c)   potentially increase their own interest for teaching profession

d)   give back to community

e)   increase engineering paths, recruitment

 COMMUNITY

a)   develop their knowledge and sensitivity in regards to transportation related issues,

b)   develop awareness of transportation related careers (e.g. law, policy, engineering, advocacy…),

engage with youth, share their knowledge and perspectives, support projects.

Background

The complexity of a globalized world, accelerating technological advances, and rapid change challenge educational systems. Around the world the call is to develop 21st century skills with a focus on career readiness, ability for lifelong learning, and collaboration skills (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009). The development of the foundational elements of civic engagement (civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions) of children and youth is also a dominant concern for educators and policymakers. Unfortunately, not all youth have the same opportunities to develop civic self-efficacy. However, the civic empowerment engagement gap can be closed by providing underserved students with interactive and authentic civic experiences (CIRCLE, 2013; Levinson, 2012; Rubin & Hayes, 2010).

We want to examine the create such an authentic civic experience the “Fresno State Transportation Challenge” and examine what the impact is on the various participants (i.e. K-12 students, K-12 teachers, university students and community members). 

Motivation

The topic of transportation lends itself very well for project-based service learning and action civics. We want to leverage the expertise and resources of the Fresno State Transportation Institute to bring high quality educational experience to underserved students and help them improve their communities.

 

Final Report: Please click here.  

This project proposed centers on developing a suite of standards-aligned, rigorous lesson plans for secondary school teachers centered on transportation issues. Each grade level will receive 3-4 lesson plans to cover a complete 2-week unit of study. Each grade level will address a specific major topic within the field of transportation. Examples of such topics will include the societal impact of autonomous vehicles, transportation safety, and traffic flow. The designers of this project believe that education on transportation issues from an early age can elevate awareness of these issues and boost interest in transportation careers. Each lesson plan will span at least one full classroom period; some will span multiple periods. Each lesson plan will be guided by a culminating activity and will include (a) the background knowledge that expected of students, (b) strategies for scaffolding students who do not possess this background knowledge, (c) the facts, skills, concepts, and metacognition address in the lesson plan, and (d) teaching methods likely to prove effective for delivering the lesson plan in the classroom.

Final Report: Please click here

PI's Background: Dr. Samer Sarofim

Project's Stardate: April 1st, 2019

Project's End date: December 31st, 2019 

Executive Summary:

The motivation for this research proposal stemmed from multiple recent meetings (during February 2019) with a variety of transportation stakeholders including Fresno Council of Government, The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 6, and City of Fresno – Public Works Department. Discussions about the role of effective messaging in changing consumer attitudes and behaviors to increase traffic safety indicated the lack of cohesive messaging strategy. Current messages, and their framing, seem to be conducted on an ad-hoc basis, lacking effectiveness, and forgoing the benefit of building on the vast academic research on message strategy and framing. This research is aimed at identifying the most effective messaging strategy and framing that shall induce attitudinal and behavioral changes rated to traffic safety.

Fresno, due to its high rate of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, is selected as a Focus City. The Federal Highway Administration included Fresno to the list of cities with the highest bicycle and pedestrian fatalities, since 2015. The Focus Cities Program in California, a joint program between UC Berkeley Safe TREC and California Walks is aimed at supporting community efforts geared towards the development of safe walking and biking communities and programs.

Message framing has been increasingly attracting both scholars’ and practitioners’ attention as it influences various behaviors (Gerend & Cullen, 2008; Rothman, Bartels, Wlaschin, & Salovey, 2006). For instance, message framing has been found to affect consumer’s decision making when buying, using, or recommending health care products (Chang 2007) and that positive and negative framing massages are more effective for prevention and detection products, respectively (Chang 2007). In a related vein, Wu et al. (2012) illustrated the differential effect of message framing on the effectiveness of dietary supplement advertisement.

This research investigates the effectiveness of different massaging strategies and frames that are aimed at inducing safer behaviors among pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. The framework will be investigated empirically and includes time horizon (expansive vs. limited), regulatory focus (prevention vs. promotion), and locus of control (internal vs. external) framing. This research theoretically and experimentally studies the differential effects of time horizon, regulatory focus, and locus of control message framing on advancing traffic safety, an endeavor that shall benefit the public, transportation authorities, city administrators, and policymakers.

This research is aligned with SB1, Objective 4 as it will provide evidence-based and theory- driven strategies that contribute 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. Also, the proposed research is aligned with SB1, Objective 7 as it will inform and improve decision-making on transportation-related issues, namely traffic safety. Decision makers will be able to use the results of the proposed research to effectively allocate the communication effort and spending to induce attitudinal and behavioral change that shall impact the safety of active transportation modes.

Final Report: Please click here.  

PI's Background: Dr. Mazen Eldeeb 

Project's Stardate: 3/ 1/19 

Project's End date: 12/31/19  

Executive Summary:

Project Objectives

 •    The development of chemical kinetic models to be used for the investigation of combustion and emission characteristics of the most promising second-generation bio-derived transportation fuels, such as 2,5-dimethylfuran (2,5-DMF), 2-methylfuran (2-MF), and 2-methyltetrahydrofuran (2-MTHF) compared with those of conventional fuel surrogates such as iso-octane and n-decane at different equivalence ratio conditions.

•    The  development  and  utilization  of  simple,  easy-to-use,  and  time-efficient  model  reduction approaches that are capable of producing reduced models of second-generation biofuels, such as furans, with reasonable predictive accuracy relative to their detailed versions.

 Project Background and Motivation

 Second-generation biofuels, such as furans, are an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels which can substitute them without major engine modifications. Moreover, they have significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels, because of CO2 recycling through agricultural activities [1]. In addition, they have superior energy densities, engine knock resistance, and Research Octane Numbers (RON) to first-generation biofuels, such as bio-alcohols [2], making them promising as spark ignition (SI) engine fuels. Also, second-generation biofuels have a great potential for production from sugars and biomass [3-6], unlike alcohols that are mostly manufactured from edible sources such as corn. These properties promote second-generation biofuels as alternative fuels, especially in the transportation sector, which accounts for 21% of the global energy consumption [7]. Therefore, the fundamental combustion properties of biofuels need to be explored with the purpose of developing and validating detailed and reduced chemical kinetic models. 

 The development of detailed and reduced chemical kinetic models has become a main area of combustion research; necessitated by the fact that these models more accurately describe the chemical kinetics of the combustion processes than global reaction models [1]. Developing chemical kinetic models has attracted increased research activity in measuring key combustion properties, such as ignition delay times and laminar burning velocity, mechanistic exploration of new reaction pathways, and evaluation of the propensity of biofuels to emit pollutants such as CO, NOx, SOx, soot, and particulate matter. Modeling efforts are further prompted by the need for combustion models of emerging fuels such as biofuels [1]. 

 Fuel-flexible combustion technology is advanced through validated kinetic models, which can be used for computer-aided development of novel combustion engines, ultimately aimed at the development of clean and efficient transportation systems. Numerical modeling is one of the most powerful tools used for that purpose, as it provides flexibility and low cost, compared to experimental characterization. The synergy between chemical kinetics mechanisms and three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (3D-CFD) flow simulations is necessary for the simulation of combustion and emissions behavior of second-generation biofuels as well as their blends with conventional  fuels  in  existing  compression  ignition  (CI),  spark  ignition  (SI),  dual-fuel  and homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines.

 However, the use of chemical kinetic models for combustion and emission simulations requires efforts to reduce the computational cost, as the use of the resulting chemical kinetic models in computational combustion analysis is limited by their large sizes. Chemical kinetic models often contain tens of thousands of reactions among hundreds or thousands of species. Coupling these to the turbulent flows characteristic of combustion is therefore challenging. One approach to decrease the  computational  cost  of  detailed  models  is  to  reduce  them  to  smaller  sizes  while  retaining prediction  capabilities  of  practical  interest  [8-11].  The  motivation  behind  sustained  search  for

methods of mechanism reduction is to enable researchers in the combustion field to conveniently obtain reduced models efficiently without necessarily acquiring skills in chemical kinetic modeling. While most existing methods do not require detailed chemical kinetic insight, the methods tend to require substantial programming, judging from the few research groups using the proposed methods.

Therefore, the planned research is aimed at developing reduced chemical kinetic models to be used for the investigation of combustion and emission characteristics of the most promising furans in CI, SI, dual-fuel and HCCI engines at different equivalence ratio conditions. To that end, the research is also aimed at providing simple, easy-to-use, and time-efficient model reduction approaches that are capable of producing reduced models of second-generation biofuels with reasonable predictive accuracy relative to their detailed versions.

 The proper chemical kinetic modeling of the combustion and emission behavior of second- generation biofuels would identify potentially favorable characteristics of such fuels relative to conventional fossil fuels used in the transportation sector, both qualitatively and quantitatively. This in turn would be a helpful effort towards reducing the impact of the transportation sector on the environment and climate change, which is one of the main objectives of California’s cap-and-trade program (SB-1 Objective 5). The findings of such modeling effort would provide invaluable information that can support and improve the decision-making process of transportation-related issues. For instance, the results of this project can provide valuable information to the governmental agencies in California, such as the California Air Resourses Board, with regards to the estimated emission levels of furans combustion. Additionally, the results of this project can promote the mass- production of furans from biomass, which can be helpful to the farming businesses in the Central Valley and beyond, as agricultural waste is a main feedstock for cellulose, necessary for the production of furans. Finally, the results of the proposed project are necessary for submission of future research grant proposals to American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund (ACS- PRF), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area, USDA Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), USDA HSI Educational Grants Program (HSI), and National Science Foundation (NSF) Energy for Sustainability funding programs. 

Final Report: Please click here

PI's Background: Dr Hovannes Kulhandjian

Project's Stardate: 03 June, 2019

Project's End date: 27 December, 2019

Executive Summary:

In this work, we plan to develop a visible light communication framework that can be used for intelligent transportation system. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) has been motivated by the need for reducing traffic congestion and offering better user experience in navigation and location-specific services. Recently, visible light communication (VLC) has drawn a lot of attention. ITS is one of its most important applications. Traffic lights have been used to control traffic flow and located at a particular place and rarely moved are competent to indicate and to supply the information about the surrounding.

In this project, our aim is to develop a framework that can support vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-cyclist (V2C) communication using VLC.

 Specifically, traffic lights will be used to not only to orderly provide traffic flow, but also to share some important information to the cars. The traffic light can provide information about the traffic conditions several blocks down the road and in case of accidents this information would be useful for the passenger to detour their original driving route to help reduce congestion and save time.

The infrastructure of the ITS is composed of a central station that controls the traffic flow and when new information is provided to the traffic lights they are routed to the central station to do analysis and smarter traffic control.

Our focus will be on the development of VLC protocols to establish communications back and forth with the traffic light and vehicle for better traffic management. In addition to that our framework will provide smoother traffic flow by collecting data at the traffic light on the number of cars heading towards the next few blocks of traffic lights and controlling those traffic lights such that the flow of traffic is more efficiently controlled by allowing those cars to pass through several green lights before meeting the next red light.

In this work, two undergraduate and one graduate students will be involved. After developing the VLC framework for intelligent transportation systems and obtaining some promising results we plan to write a paper and submit this work to a conference. This project will then be expanded and we will seek for funding from NSF or from US Department of Transportation. 

Final Report: Please click here

PI's Background: Dr. Hongwei Dong 

Project's Stardate: May, 01, 2019

Project's End date: December 31, 2019 

Executive Summary:

Research on the relationship between urbanicity and physical activity yielded mixed results despite many studies consistently showed that residents tended to undertake more transportation-related physical activity in a more urban environment. The purpose of this study is to examine the geographic disparities in transportation-related physical activity at finer geographic scales in the entire nation, with and without controlling for the built and social environment at the neighbor-hood level.

This study takes advantage of a few new questions that were added to the 2017 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) regarding people’s physical activity and their walk and bike trips that were strictly for exercise. Unlike previous studies that adopted a dichotomous urban-rural variable, this analysis categorizes residents into eight geographic locations: four in large metropolitan areas (downtown, inner-ring suburb, mid-ring suburb, and outer-ring suburb), two in small metropolitan areas (urban and rural), and two in the non-metropolitan area (urban and rural). We conducted both descriptive and modeling analyses to evaluate the intra- and inter-metropolitan patterns of physical activity and active travel in the United States. We differentiated walk and bike trips that were strictly for exercise from walk and bike trips for other purposes.

This study shows that the relationship between urban city and physical activity demonstrates a flat U-shape. Residents were more physically active when they lived in the areas from the two ends of the urbanization spectrum: inner cities and inner-suburbs of large metropolitan areas and the rural parts of non-metropolitan areas. Suburbanites, particularly mid-ring and outer-ring suburbanites walked the least. The geographic pattern holds regardless of the inclusion of neighborhood characteristics in the models. There is a very slight geographic variation of the weekly rates of walk and bike trips that are strictly for exercise. There is a lot more variation of the weekly rates of walk and bike trips that are for non-exercise purposes.

Walkers and cyclists in the eight different geographic locations reported different infrastructure and safety barriers that kept them from the walk and biking more. For cyclists in the central cities of large metropolitan areas and cyclists in non-metropolitan areas, a lack of nearby paths or trail was the prominent infrastructure barrier to biking more. For suburbanites, a lack of nearby parks seemed to be a more prominent barrier to biking more. No matter which geographic location they lived in, walkers consistently reported no sidewalks or sidewalks in poor conditions as the most prominent barriers to walking more. The sidewalk issue was more serious for walkers in suburbs and the urban parts of small metropolitan areas than walkers in other locations. Not enough lighting at night was consistently reported as the most prominent safety barrier to walking more in different geographic locations.

The findings from this study contribute to evidence-based planning of active transportation and public health interventions. Suburban areas in large metropolitan areas seem to be the least physically active places and have the largest potential for improvement. Even incremental improvements in suburbs will generate huge public health benefits given that more than half of Americans live in suburbs. Specifically, addition or improvement of the quality of sidewalks in suburban neighborhoods seems to be a promising strategy given that suburban walkers reported no sidewalks or sidewalks in poor conditions as the most prominent barriers that keep them from walking more. Improving street lighting seems to be a promising strategy to encourage more walking in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Traffic calming and good lighting at night are two potentially effective tools to encourage more biking in urban and rural areas respectively. Rural residents take more walks outside than mid-ring and outer-ring suburbanites. Most extant studies of active travel focused on urban and suburban residents. There is a need for more research to understand how rural residents travel in non-motorized modes and how they manage to take more walk trips than mid-ring and outer-ring suburbanites.

Final Report: Please click here

Executive Summary:

With the proliferation of support for autonomous and connected vehicles in private and public sectors, many Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) of different types, sizes, and sensitivity levels exist. The framework developed herein would be applicable to new and existing CPS, resulting in a more secure physical and virtual network of autonomous and connected vehicles. Autonomous and connected vehicles are increasingly gaining momentum across different disciplines, but the lack of standards and models for their design and implementation are major barriers ahead of such research and development, particularly from a security perspective. The project’s proposed framework would act as a baseline to facilitate security testing and assessment of a given vehicular network which paves the way for the development of advanced security analytics tools, leading to new knowledge discoveries in this area. The security of such networks is a fertile field and establishing a framework to make such networks secure would certainly trigger many interdisciplinary scholarly activities. The proposed research is an original and systematic investigation of security and is potentially transformative in nature as it challenges conventional wisdom in the field.

Smart objects and smart embedded sensors are currently secured based on the same best practices as traditional networks without considering the limitations imposed by the proliferation of smart nodes in terms of processing power and memory. This is mainly due to limited research in this field. Encapsulation of protocol stack layers is done on a single hardware processor, leaving the lower layers unprotected. With so many new forms of data, new forms of threats would come into existence. The main reasons for CPS security breaches are: i) Conventional network security wisdom is not applicable to the IoT realm. IoT is an ecosystem driven by business gaps, rather than just a myriad of devices; ii) IoT vendors compromise security to gain functionality and openness for a broader target market. IoT manufacturers follow Agile manifesto for their development process which opens many security gaps; iii) There are inherent vulnerabilities in individual IoT nodes: a) For many types of IoT devices, physical access cannot be restricted, and thus devices that expose critical information on internal nodes can be compromised; b) Although chip manufacturing innovations have led to the emergence of embedded chips with hardware-based security (e.g. ARM TrustZone) and hardware with cryptography support (e.g. ARMv8), the inclusion of such chips in every device is cost prohibitive. Thus, it makes sense to look for network security solutions that do not require modification of existing and emerging IoT devices; and c) IoT nodes generally don’t support advanced networking capabilities and security protocols.

 Final Report: Please click here.

PI's Background: Mr. Malshana Wadugurunnehalage

Advisor's Background: Dr. Ajith Weerasinghe

Project's Stardate: March 4th, 2019

Project's End date: December 31st, 2019 

Executive Summary: 

This project has three main objectives. The first objective is standardizing battery. There are various types of batteries used in the Automotive Industry. When this comes to Electric Vehicles (EV), battery manufacturers are hiding different recipes that they use for manufacturing batteries. This creates numerous limitations, especially in recycling processes and growth of EV demand. In this project, the importance of standardizing on EV battery technologies are discussed. The second objective is exploring battery switching stations. Battery Switching is identified as a promising technique for secure charging and a better way of maintaining the entire EV battery system in a region. In this project, it's identified the importance of having switching stations instead of fast charging. Fast charging leads to battery degradation and its effects on the grid if the power supply is not properly maintained. Considering tremendous benefits, implementing switching stations are widely encouraged throughout this project. The third objective is exploring IoT(Internet of Things) for efficient green energy transportation. Currently, the Internet plays a vital role in the business world. Through the IoT concept, it creates the connection between Electric Vehicles, Switching Stations, and other private and government organizations which interested to access the relevant data. In this way, it’s expected to energize the total battery switching system, bringing more productive and effective by establishing a robust IoT system. In addition to that, ultimately it's expected to make possible pathways to enhance performances of Electric Vehicles in public transportation.

This project aims to demonstrate the possible pathways to implement battery switching approaches for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) through the Electric Vehicle (EV) battery standardizing. During the past decade, there was significant interest in EVs and their technologies. Due to the number of studies and experiments which carried out for enhancing total performances of EVs, demand a different type of EVs are grown faster. The growth of different battery technologies has led to improving the primary aspects of Electric Vehicles. As a result of relentless research and developments regarding different battery technologies, the distance travel per single charge was growing day by day. Battery design and manufacturing techniques becoming complex, and battery manufacturers tend to hide their battery chemistry intend to increase the performance of their product stay strong in the competition.

EV batteries carry a different kind of chemical which can be harmful to the environment. Properly managed recycling approaches are essential to establish and maintain robust operation due to the increasing usage of EV batteries. Hiding their recipes of battery manufacturing, create complexity on the recycling process and through the enforcement of established rules and regulations for EV battery standardizing, battery manufacturers will be more open with their manufacturing techniques. Through this project, environmental impact due to increasing usage of EV batteries and possible pathways to create new businesses through recycling will be discussed. EV battery standardizing becoming an important concept, and scientists and engineers are found possible pathways to implement other approaches to establish a different type of business model through the EV battery standardizing. Battery switching stations are one of the promising business models, been introduced and, through this project, the values of such a business model will be discussed. 

Throughout the project, battery switching stations are identified as the most important aspect of harvesting benefits from all around. To make this battery switching process more effective and efficient, Introducing of the Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the major aspects of this project. The suggested network is something that goes beyond the traditional data acquisition and performance monitoring system. Through this system, the vehicle driver, the staff of battery switching station and data center for performance monitoring and system development, will be aware of each and every switched battery. This system will be demonstrated throughout the project and advances will be highlighted. In this way, there are numerous benefits that will be demonstrated and discussed throughout the project. Though it will be a time-constrained project, in the beginning, the further developments will be discussed at the end of the project. Depending on the availability of time and funds, this project will be continued for developing further, meeting its’ all aspects.

 Final Report: Will be available soon. 

  

Year 3 (2020)

 PI's Background: Dr. Chih-Hao Wang

Project's Stardate: March 1st 2020

Project's End dateDec 31st 2020

Executive Summary:

Objectives:

  • Explore the explicit local relationships between cycling activities (utilitarian and/or recreational) and the accessibility to multi-use paths through cycling computed from the previous CSUCT SB1 project for Fresno in California, using a geographically weighted (GWR) regression model;
  • Provide planning information for active transportation strategies for Fresno, California;
  • Present the analysis results in a planning conference, such as the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) annual meeting.

 Motivation:

This research proposal is an extension of the two previous SB1 projects that (1) one calculated the accessibility to multi-use paths through cycling using the network analysis in the ArcGIS, and (2) the other found an optimal allocation of transportation investments that would maximize the total accessibility to multi-use paths through cycling while minimizing the gap between high- and low-accessibility neighborhoods. Along this line, it is interesting to explore whether the accessibility to multi-use paths would affect residents’ cycling activities, especially for those from socioeconomic disadvantaged neighborhoods. Therefore, this proposed project is designed to serve this purpose using a GWR model to examine the local relationships between the intensity/frequency of cycling activities and the effects of accessibility to multi-use paths through cycling while controlling for other built environment and social demographical factors. The results will point out where the accessibility does not work and therefore some other policy interventions might be needed to promote cycling activities. In other words, this study aims at revealing whether the residents who do not cycle is because of the lack of accessibility or their cycling perception or behavior. The findings will provide a new insight into the planning problem of promoting active transportation for Fresno, California.

 Final Report: Will be available in 2021.

PI's Background: Dr. Christian Wandeler 

Project's Stardate: Feb 1st 2020

Project's End dateDec 31st 2020

Executive Summary:

The goal of the Fresno State Transportation Challenge is to create an authentic civic service-learning experience, in which K-12 students and teachers; university students and professors; and community members work together on projects addressing transportation concerns and related issues in the region. During 2019 we piloted the Transportation Challenge process with 9 teachers. In 2020 the goal is to expand, refine, and create structures to sustain the implementation of the Transportation Challenge across subsequent years.

The objectives to meet this goal are as follows: 1) Conduct research on the implementation and expansion of the Transportation Challenge program to identify content and procedural supports and challenges; 2) Develop a pipeline for recruitment and continuous participation of K-8 teachers across the Central Valley; 3) Convene participating teachers and FSTI members to analyze instructional procedures and materials to develop a Transportation Challenge curriculum; and 4) Develop structures for increasing the connections between local educators and FSTI members and resources.

 Final Report: Will be available in 2021.

PI's Background: Dr. Jaymin Kwon

Project's Stardate: March 1st 2020

Project's End dateDec 31st 2020

Executive Summary:

Objectives: To promote active transportation modes (such as bike ride and walking), and to create safer communities for easier access to transit, it is essential to provide to the public that the consolidated data-driven transportation information to the stakeholders and the public. The relevant and timely information from data facilitates the opportunity for improving decision-making processes for the establishment of public policy and urban planning for sustainable growth and promoting public health in the region. The goal of our project aligns with the SB-1 objectives 4 and 7.

Transportation Emitted Air Pollutant Data: The vehicle transportation-related air pollution was measured at 150 neighborhood walking routes within 22 zip codes including 58 census tracts in Fresno/Clovis area for over four years from the previous NIEHS/USEPA funded research, Children’s Health to Air Pollution Study – San Joaquin Valley (CHAPS-SJV) with PIs of UC Berkeley, Stanford University and Fresno State. To characterize the spatial variation of transportation-emitted air pollution in the Fresno/Clovis neighborhood, various species of particulate matters emitted from traffic sources were measured using real-time monitors and GPS loggers. The pollutants include particulate matters (PM10, PM2.5, PM1), black carbon (BC), ultrafine particles, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Spatial Analyses of Geocoded Data: Vehicle transportation, especially diesel trucks, is known as a major emission source of fine particulate matters (PM2.5). Black carbon and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the toxic components of the fine particulate matter and the trace of the diesel emission. The real-time concentrations of particulate species varying in different transportation sources will provide a remarkable insight to analyze the dynamic temporal impact on transportation-related pollution patterns. For aligning various pollutant concentrations synchronously over the accurately geocoded neighborhood locations from the walking routes, quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) from the pollution and positional data are necessary. 

Final Report: Will be available in 2021.

PI's Background: Dr. Samer Sarofim

Project's Stardate: March 1st, 2020

Project's End date: December 31st, 2020 

Executive Summary:

The motivation for this research proposal stemmed from multiple interactions (during 2019) with a variety of transportation stakeholders including Fresno Council of Government, The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 6, and City of Fresno – Public Works Department. Discussions about the role of effective messaging in changing consumer attitudes and behaviors to increase traffic safety indicated the lack of cohesive communication strategy and targeted mobile media platforms. Current media vehicles used to target vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists) seem to be lacking effectiveness, and forgoing the benefit of building on the vast academic research on media platforms design and content effects on altering motivations and behaviors. This research is aimed at identifying the most effective mobile application design and content that shall induce attitudinal and behavioral changes rated to traffic safety among vulnerable road users. Also, the mobile application will aim at enhancing the use active transportation modes. Fresno, due to its high rate of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, is selected as a Focus City. The Federal Highway Administration included Fresno to the list of cities with the highest bicycle and pedestrian fatalities, since 2015. The Focus Cities Program in California, a joint program between UC Berkeley Safe TREC and California Walks is aimed at supporting community efforts geared towards the development of safe walking and biking communities and programs.

Final Report: Please click here.  

PI's Background: Dr. John Green

Project's Stardate: May 1st, 2020

Project's End date: December 31st, 2020

Executive Summary:

 Objective: The objective of this research is to determine if the railroad operations management strategy of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which has had a significantly positive impact on the profitability of major freight railroads has had either a positive or negative, or negligible effect on intercity passenger and high speed rail operations.   

 Background: Hunter Harrison was a railroad visionary, that as Chief Executive Officer for three different Class One (major) North American freight railroads revolutionized their entire basic strategy for business.  The results of this business strategy have been praised for the railroads using it from stock markets and investors, but railroaders as a group have had a less enthusiastic response.  I wish to investigate what effects PSR has had on passenger operations, especially since high speed passenger operations often operate on tracks that they share with freight railroads. 

 Motivation:  I am interested in high speed rail passenger operations, and I recently was talking with an Amtrak employee about the troubles Amtrak has with its Acela trains and trying to operate in shared corridors wit freight trains.   Then I saw AREMA’s list of hot topics for the 2020 Annual Conference, and it included Precision Scheduled Railroading as one of the topics, and I wondered if it could bring improvements to the routes where Amtrak shared tracks with freight railroads. 

 

Final Report: Will be available in 2021.

PI's Background: Dr Hovannes Kulhandjian

Project's Stardate: 03 June, 20120

Project's End date: December 31st, 2020

Executive Summary:

Objective: The objective of this research is to determine if the railroad operations management strategy of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which has had a significantly positive impact on the profitability of major freight railroads has had either a positive or negative, or negligible effect on intercity passenger and high speed rail operations.   

Background: Hunter Harrison was a railroad visionary, that as Chief Executive Officer for three different Class One (major) North American freight railroads revolutionized their entire basic strategy for business.  The results of this business strategy have been praised for the railroads using it from stock markets and investors, but railroaders as a group have had a less enthusiastic response.  I wish to investigate what effects PSR has had on passenger operations, especially since high speed passenger operations often operate on tracks that they share with freight railroads. 

Motivation:  I am interested in high speed rail passenger operations, and I recently was talking with an Amtrak employee about the troubles Amtrak has with its Acela trains and trying to operate in shared corridors wit freight trains.   Then I saw AREMA’s list of hot topics for the 2020 Annual Conference, and it included Precision Scheduled Railroading as one of the topics, and I wondered if it could bring improvements to the routes where Amtrak shared tracks with freight railroads. 

Final Report: Will be available in 2021.

PI's Background: Dr. Hongwei Dong 

Project's Stardate: April 1st, 2020

Project's End date:December 31st, 2020

Executive Summary:

Project objective
The objective of this project is to evaluate whether Californian residents save money on transportation costs by living in neighborhoods that are served by high-quality rail transit.
This study is aligned with SB-1 Objective 4: “Create safer communities, increased access to transit, and greater opportunities for use of active transportation modes (i.e., biking and walking) through complete streets and innovative land use planning so that people of all abilities and socioeconomic levels enjoy the same opportunities for learning, living, labor, and leisure.”

Motivation
The motivation of this study is to contribute to the recent debate on the affordability impact of TODs. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the Housing and Transportation Index (H+T index). The H+T index provides an estimate of affordability that includes both the cost of housing and the cost of transportation at the neighborhood level. In general, the H+T index suggests that though residents may have to pay higher rent or home prices to live in TODs, they save money on transportation costs because TODs provide better transit services and reduce car use (both ownership and travel). Recent research at the individual level, however, found little evidence that living in TODs reduces transportation expenditures. The purpose of this study is to quantify and compare transportation-cost savings for residents in TODs in eight Californian metropolitan areas. To address the potential self-selection bias, I estimate propensity score to match residents in TODs (the treatment group) with similar residents outside of TODs (the control group). The findings from this study will inform transportation planning and practice that aim to promote equitable TODs.

Final Report: Will be available in 2021.

PI's Background: Dr. Shahab Tayeb

Project's Stardate: March 1st, 2020

Project's End date: December 31st, 2020

Executive Summary:

Project Objective: The main objective of this proposal are threefold: (1) to study the impact of data poisoning in sensed vehicular data and neural network training architectures; (2) to design a reconfigurable accelerator based on an adaptive framework for secure design, implementation, and evaluation of the Internet of Vehicles (IoV); and (3) to drive the reconfigurability of (2) using findings of (1). This project aims to make revolutionary progress to close the gap between the existing security mechanisms (e.g. multi-factor authentication), current decentralized vehicular security solutions (e.g. defense in depth), and the security needs of the IoV data. The project’s closely intertwined research activities include: (1) designing a modular framework for secure implementation of emerging autonomous and connected vehicles, covering deterrent, preventive, detective, corrective, and recovery controls; (2) developing and tuning Deep Learning architectures to classify malicious behaviors and target agents using sensed data as the input; and (3) designing the accelerator hardware to translate the security findings into actionable criteria. The Research Questions are: a) What are the security vulnerabilities and challenges presented by the poisoning the sensed data during the training process? b) Can neural networks be as successful in security of connected vehicles as they have been in computer vision and speech recognition? c) How different are the security gaps for connected vehicles from those of traditional networks? and d) Can security by design in hardware outperform the existing security patches and protocols?

Motivation: With the proliferation of support for autonomous and connected vehicles in private and public sectors, many IoV of different types, sizes, and sensitivity levels exist. Autonomous and connected vehicles are increasingly gaining momentum across different disciplines but lack of standards and models for their secure design and implementation are major barriers ahead of such research and development. The project’s proposed framework will act as a baseline to facilitate security testing and assessment of a given vehicular network which paves the path for development of advanced security analytics tools, leading to new knowledge discoveries in this area. The security of such networks is a fertile field and establishing a framework to make such networks secure will certainly trigger many interdisciplinary scholarly activities.

 Final Report: Will be available in 2021.