UFTI Hosted UTC Conference for the Southeast

The University of Florida Transportation Institute hosted the 5th Annual UTC Conference for the Southeastern Region on Nov. 16-17, 2017. Over 230 people registered for the event, with attendees from academia and the public and private sectors. The two-day event featured keynote speakers, various paper and poster presentations, a state DOT panel, a WTS and ITE student session, and an autonomous and connected vehicles (AV/CV) demonstration. View pictures from the conference here!

“The conference provided a valuable opportunity to promote and facilitate cooperation and collaboration across a broad cross-section of academic expertise,” said keynote speaker Tom Byron, Assistant Secretary on Strategic Development for FDOT.  “This served a particularly critical need for an agency like the FDOT as we look forward to the potential and predictions of substantial disruption to transportation and mobility as we know it today.” More than 50 presentations on topics such as Infrastructure, Operations, Safety, Aviation and Energy, Multimodal, Traveler Issues, Transit, Planning, and Freight were offered, including 65 posters from both graduate students and faculty, of which 60 were from students. Students who participated in a podium or poster presentation competed for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards worth $500, $250, and $100. The presentations and posters are posted on the STRIDE website (Here).

Winners of the podium presentations were:  Benjamin McManus, 1st place, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Homa Fartash, 2nd place, Florida International University; and Jin Wang, 3rd place, Auburn University.

Poster competition winners were: Jaqueline Masaki, 1st place, Florida A&M University/Florida State University; Adekunle Adebisi, 2nd place, Florida A&M University/Florida State University; and Luiz Ungericht, 3rd place, University of Florida.

A special feature of the conference was an AV/CV demo, which took place at one of the Gainesville Regional Transit System’s (RTS) old sites. The demo, which was a collaborative effort between the UFTI and researchers from Clemson University, provided a view of what technologies and strategies are being investigated on the university research side as well as by auto manufacturers. It is expected that these connected and automated vehicle applications will help reduce crashes and traffic congestion.

“The STRIDE UTC AV/CV demonstration was a great opportunity to showcase new technology and research from both the University of Florida Transportation Institute and the Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility at Clemson University,” said Clark Letter, I-STREET testbed manager. “A special thanks to Tesla for bringing their vehicles out.”

I-STREET is a partnership among the Florida Department of Transportation, the City of Gainesville, and the University of Florida. The I-STREET group facilitates transportation development by providing facilities and support to test and develop technologies in real-world settings.

“It was a great experience for us to participate in the AV/CV demo in Florida,” said MD Mhafuzul Islam, graduate assistant in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. “The demonstration was a perfect showcase of future transportation systems that includes autonomous vehicles from the University of Florida, connected vehicles from Clemson University, and an automated vehicle from Tesla. All these future technologies were combined in the demonstration from the industry and academia. That also showed the importance for industry and academia to work together in order to build future and intelligent transportation systems.”

The UTC Conference for the Southeastern Region was conceptualized by the STRIDE Center in 2013 when it took place in Orlando, FL. Since then, the following centers  have hosted it the National Center for Transportation Systems Productivity and Management (NCTSPM), Georgia Institute of Technology, 2014; the Department of Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2015; and in 2016, the Southeastern Transportation Center (STC), University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The Conference Planning Committee included Lily Elefteriadou, Ph.D., STRIDE Center, University of Florida; Armin Mehrabi, Ph.D., Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC-UTC), FIU; Robert Bertini, Ph.D., Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), USF; Mashrur “Ronnie” Chowdhury, Ph.D., Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University; David Harkey, Ph.D., Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (USDOT National Center), University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; Michael Hunter, Ph.D., GaTech; Evangelos Kaisar, Ph.D., Freight Mobility Research Institute, Florida Atlantic University; Maranda McBride, Ph.D., Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility, North Carolina A&T State University; John Sobanjo, Ph.D., Center for Safe & Accessible Transportation for an Aging Population, Florida State University.

The UTC Conference was sponsored by the University of Florida Transportation Institute, STRIDE Center, Transportation Research Board, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, The University of North Caroline Highway Safety Research Center, Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC-UTC) at Florida International University, The Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility at Clemson University, JACOBS, The Citadel, Georgia Tech, Enforcement Engineering, Inc., Freight Mobility Research Institute at Florida Atlantic University, the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida, Accessibility and Safety for and Aging Population, Southeastern Transportation Center at the University of Tennessee.