Solving the Problems of Traffic with Twitter Information

April 22, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

April 22, 2021

Working with Ph.D. student Weiran Yao, Mobility21 UTC research Sean Qian has extracted information from tweets to provide accuracy in predicting morning traffic patterns.  Read the full story here.

 

CMU Student Project Update: Traffic Dashboard for Colorado Springs, a CMU/US-Ignite Solution

March 25, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

March 25, 2021

Today, five CMU MSPPM-DM students – Thomas Hurley, Akshay Oza, Karunya Manoharan, Yue Wu, and Yuran Zhu – presented an overview of their capstone project.   The project, led by UTC researcher Beibei Li, is developing a real-time dashboard for base personnel to reduce traffic congestion at the Fort Carson army base.  The team will continue the work on this project, refining the dashboard, and adding predictive analytics features.  Mobility21 Program Manager, Lisa Kay Schweyer attended and provided feedback to the team.

CMU Transportation Club Holds First Meeting for Spring 2021 Semester

February 8, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

February 8, 2021

The CMU Transportation Club kicked off the year with their first meeting.  During the meeting, attendees learned more about Traffic21, Mobility21, upcoming events for the Spring 2021 semester and internship opportunities. If you’re interested in transportation or want to learn more about transit in PGH, then check out the transportation club!

University of Pennsylvania Students Pen Op-Ed on Racial Equity in Transportation

January 27, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

January 27, 2021

Students Emily Kennedy and Seunglee David Park of the University of Pennsylvania, a Mobility21 UTC academic partner, published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer which discusses a new way for Philadelphia transportation leaders to measure the impact of system changes on racial equity.  Both are students in the Master of City Planning  in Transportation course led by Dr. Megan Ryerson.  Read their article here.

The 8th IEEE Workshop on Spoken Language Technology

January 21, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

January 21, 2021

Mobility21 UTC researcher Maxine Eskenazi’s student, Yulan Feng, presented the paper “Towards Automatic Route Description Unification in Spoken Dialog Systems,” which describes the construction of a pipeline to automate the route description unification process in spoken dialog systems during the Spoken Language Workshop today.  Her 15-minute presentation introduced the technical details of the pipeline, the overall GetGoing system, and the collaboration her team had with UPMC.

The SLT Workshop is a biennial flagship event of IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee. The main theme for SLT 2021 was “Spoken language technologies: deep learning and beyond” (as deep learning has witnessed great success in spoken language technologies over the last decade).

Carnegie Mellon University’s Mobility21 UTC Honors “Student of the Year” at 30th Annual Awards Ceremony

January 6, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

January 6, 2021

Camille Boggan was honored tonight as Mobility21 University Transportation Center’s “Student of the Year” at the Council of University Transportation Center’s annual awards banquet.

Annually, the United States Department of Transportation honors the most outstanding student from each participating University Transportation Center for his/her achievements and promise for future contributions to the transportation field. Students of the year are selected based on their accomplishments in such areas as technical merit and research, academic performance, professionalism, and leadership.  Read about all the Students of the Year in the annual booklet.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute houses Mobility21, the National University Transportation Center for Improving Mobility. Students from CMU, University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, or Community College of Allegheny County were eligible for the Mobility21 UTC nomination.

Meet our winner:

Mobility21, the National University Transportation Center for Improving Mobility Student of the Year.

Photo of Camille Boggan

Camille Boggan is a current city planning graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Miami University (Ohio) in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Camille has worked as a graduate research assistant in Dr. Megan Ryerson’s Smart Mobility Lab, supporting research efforts on transportation safety and wayfinding. In 2020 she interned with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation and has served on the transit steering committee of 5th Square, Philadelphia’s urban activist PAC, since 2019.

In 2019 Camille was part of the winning team of ITS America’s Emerging Leaders Program Global Challenge. Her team developed a transportation pricing model for Philadelphia to reduce congestion and direct funds to public transportation services. She was also recently awarded a graduate scholarship from the WTS Philadelphia chapter.

Educating, recruiting and training new workers is critical to managing our country’s infrastructure safely and efficiently. We strive to help develop a transportation workforce capable of designing and maintaining the complex transportation systems of tomorrow. Help us congratulate our 2021 UTC Student of the Year!

To learn more about the University Transportation Centers’ Student of the Year awards please click here.

CMU Student Interns with the American Public Transportation Association

October 30, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

October 30, 2020

Dominick Fiorentino, Carnegie Mellon University Master of Science in Public Policy and Management Candidate is interning this academic year (2020 – 2021) with the American Public Transportation Association.  His internship in the Policy Department involves work on various transit issues including mobility innovation, public-private partnerships, and mobility recovery and restoration in context of the COVID-19 pandemic (looking at each of these areas from a sustainability and equity lens).  Dominick was an active member of the CMU Transportation Club during 2019 – 2020 and through his involvement with Mobility21, was introduced to APTA (a Mobility21 UTC Deployment Partner) and secured this internship.

Meet Innovation Fellow Luke Lyle

October 7, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

October 7, 2020

Meet Luke Lyle, a postdoctoral researcher in the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and a Swartz Center 2020 – 2021 Innovation Fellow.  He completed his MS and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at CMU and also holds a BS and BA in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Buffalo.

The focus of his doctoral research was gallium oxide, a wide bandgap semiconducting material for high power electronic applications. In these applications, gallium oxide is poised to have vastly higher efficiencies than competing materials. This material is critical for developing renewable energy technology by increasing the efficiency of power electronics in electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar cells, and batteries. He is working on commercializing this technology with the development of an industrially scalable, novel technique to grow gallium oxide aiming to leverage this material for use in renewable energy systems.

As a Swartz Innovation Fellow Luke is working with Mobility21 and the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship to commercialize this technology.

Equitable Future of Transportation Panel featured Mobility21 Diversity Fellow

October 6, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

October 6, 2020

Mobility21 Diversity Fellow Allanté Whitmore was a panelist on The Equitable Future of Transportation seminar held by the CMU and University of Pittsburgh Local Government Club. She discussed the role of equity in transportation, next-generation transportation technologies, and local municipalities’ decision-making.

Update on Mobility21’s Robotics Institute Summer Scholar (RISS), Beverley-Claire Okogwu

August 25, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

August 25, 2020

Mobility21’s RISS Beverley-Claire Okogwu has completed her project titled, “Development of a Multi Agent Environment Trained with MADDPG Algorithm.”  Beverley-Claire was mentored by UTC researcher Ding Zhao of the Carnegie Mellon University Safe AI Lab.  View Beverley-Claire’s poster and video.

The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute Summer Scholars program connects students from across the country and world to contribute to robotics research alongside top CMU researchers. With 43 scholars from 11 countries and 33 home universities, the 2020 RISS cohort is the largest cohort since the inception of the program in 2006. Forty percent of the 2020 participating scholars are from communities underrepresented in STEM.

Update on Mobility21’s Robotics Institute Summer Scholar (RISS), Fausto Vega

August 20, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

August 20, 2020

Mobility21’s Robotics Institute Summer Scholar (RISS) Fausto Vega has completed his project titled, “Effective Collision Avoidance for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”  Fausto was mentored by UTC researcher, Dr. Sebastian Scherer.  View Fausto’s poster and video.

The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute Summer Scholars program connects students from across the country and world to contribute to robotics research alongside top CMU researchers. With 43 scholars from 11 countries and 33 home universities, the 2020 RISS cohort is the largest cohort since the inception of the program in 2006. Forty percent of the 2020 participating scholars are from communities underrepresented in STEM.

Traffic21 Students Present Rural Mobility Policy Study to PennDOT Secretary

July 29, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

July 29, 2020

Graduate students from Carnegie Mellon University recently met with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian and members of her executive team, to present a comprehensive policy study titled “Mobility, Accessibility, and Connectivity: Assessments and Recommendations Concerning Rural Transportation Equity in Pennsylvania.”

Included in the report was a review of key national findings, an analysis of rural equity as a systemic concern in Pennsylvania, strategies and practices from around the U.S., and the students’ recommendations to implement a rural transportation council.  As a first–of-its-kind rural transportation model, the council would identify research and information needs, as well as recommend and advocate for policy and program initiatives to enhance the mobility, connectivity, and accessibility of Pennsylvania’s rural communities and become a model for other states.

Roger Cohen, PennDOT’s Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary and the client for this project shared: “At a time when new technologies are dramatically redefining transportation and citizens are demanding greater accountability and responsiveness on the part of government, the student team from Carnegie Mellon looked at rural transportation services and found that there are disparities that can begin to be addressed by giving rural Pennsylvanians a greater voice in shaping the future of their communities.”

Under the guidance of Traffic21’s Executive Director and Heinz College Adjunct Associate Professor Stan Caldwell and Heinz College Distinguished Service Professor Rick Stafford, CMU graduate students Blair Chen, Erick Shiring, and Marcus Robinson of Heinz College and Ziyu Dai of the College of Engineering were able to apply their knowledge and experiences to inspire real world policy change for future progress.

Also involved in the project  was former Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellow Ngani Ndimbie, executive policy specialist for PennDOT.  Ngani was able to advise the students from a policy standpoint, as well as provide guidance from her experience as a Heinz College graduate.

This project was supported by the Mobility21 National University Transportation Center.

For more information and detail, you can read the full report here.

RISS Update – Participant Continues Progress with XPlane11 Flight Simulator

July 24, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

July 24, 2020

Mobility21 UTC’s Robotics Institute Summer Scholars (RISS) program participant Fausto Vega continues his work, exploring more about aerospace.

“My experience with RISS has been great as I have learned about the aerospace field which is a career I hope to pursue in the future. I am grateful for the weekly workshops, speakers, and the members of the Air Lab as they have allowed me to grow as a researcher.”  Watch a short video where Fausto explains more about his experience and project here.

Carnegie Mellon’s RISS Program is an eleven-week summer (June 1 to mid-August) undergraduate research program that immerses a diverse cohort of scholars in cutting-edge robotics projects that drive innovation and have real-world impact. Launched in 2006, RISS is among the best and most comprehensive robotics research programs for undergraduates in the world.

PA Rural Robotics Impact on Workforce Development

July 20, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

July 20, 2020

Mobility21 Executive Director Stan Caldwell met with Brad Moore, District Director for Congressmen Glenn Thompson PA-15, Venango County Commissioner Chip Abramovic, and Tim Heffernan, founder of the PA Rural Robotics Initiative to discuss the STEM activity between Mobility21 and PA Rural Robotics and its impact on Pennsylvania rural workforce development.

Mobility21 UTC Researcher and Team Advance to Phase 3 of CHARiOT Challenge

July 7, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

July 7, 2020

After winning Phase 2, Mobility21 UTC Researcher Yang Cai and his team at CMU have been advanced to Phase 3 of the CHARiOT Challenge, where researchers build augmented reality for first responders.  The goal is to significantly improve a first responder’s situational awareness allowing them to more effectively plan and respond during incidents.

Preliminary Final Research Results Presented to ACTA for Mobility Challenge Project

July 6, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

July 6, 2020

Mobility21 UTC researcher Sean Qian, CMU student Rick Grahn, and Program Manager Lisa Kay Schweyer met today with Lynn Manion and Amy Mathieson of the Airport Corridor Transportation Association and Phillip St. Pierre of Port Authority of Allegheny County to review the preliminary final research results from the Smart Mobility Challenge project, Data Driven Mobility Service Design: A Case Study for Moon Township.  The project’s final report will be published later this summer.

The Robot Doctor: High School Math Education Through the Lens of Robotics

June 30, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

June 30, 2020

With COVID-19 school closures, the continuity of education for the majority of Pennsylvania’s students is at risk.  Inequities of resources, staffing, and lack of Internet connectivity are making online learning inaccessible for some of our most at-risk communities. This decrease in classroom learning time, both in-person and virtual, is leaving some students further behind and threatens to deepen the chasm in learning outcomes and opportunities. Public-private partnerships are emerging to create just-in-time educational resources to support communities and families. RobotWits LLC, and the PA Rural Robotics Initiative, both Mobility21 deployment partners, and WQED partnered to create the accessible STEM instructional resources, the Robot Doctor, for high school students and teachers.

The Robot Doctor series comprises two parts: 1) eight 14-minute video lessons for students and 2) educator instructional support and feedback channels. The series was broadcast on all seven PBS stations across Pennsylvania to provide immediate instructional support to high school students. Designed to be accessible to most of Pennsylvania’s students in no-tech and low-tech formats, the series can be downloaded from partner websites, streamed, and could be rebroadcast this fall.

The series reinforces critical mathematics concepts taught in high school. The learning objectives in each episode are linked directly to Pennsylvania State Standards in Math and Science and focus on the Pennsylvania Department of Education-recommended content. The Robot Doctor ties math concepts taught in high school to cutting-edge robotic technologies from drones to autonomous vehicles to humanoids.

“The Robot Doctor teaches core math concepts through the lens of robotics,” Explained Maxim Likhachev, co-leader of the project is an associate professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), and director of the Search-Based Planning Laboratory (SBPL) at CMU. He founded RobotWits, the Pittsburgh-based technology company focused on self-driving solutions that created the Robot Doctor content and are supporting educator engagement and professional learning opportunities. A key goal of the materials, as described by Likhachev, is to decrease perceptions that STEM careers are inaccessible.

Cathy Cook, WQED Director of Education Projects, explained, “With in-person instruction still being uncertain, the challenge for WQED will be figuring out how to educate students when accessibility is still an issue. With equity as a huge problem, how can students be held accountable if not everyone has access to the same learning opportunities? And, how can WQED help bridge that divide?”

“COVID-19 increased the urgency of addressing the digital divide”, said Rachel Burcin, the project co-lead. “Families do not have uniform access to technology platforms and stable Internet connections. Accessible content that is tied to standards is becoming even more critical as school districts and individual teachers scramble to make remote learning work. In this new normal, TV broadcast is becoming a central tool to reach as many families as possible.” Tim Heffernan, the founder of the PA Rural Robotics Initiative, notes that bringing world-class resources to rural communities like those that he supports opens tremendous opportunities and contributes to economic and workforce development.

“The Robot Doctor is unique for WQED because it is rooted in public television’s core mission of educating our audience and providing direct instruction to students over our airwaves. Additionally, due to unforeseen circumstances from Covid-19, huge gaps were identified by the Department of Education, and we were asked to respond, in real-time, to the need,” according to WQED’s Director Educational Partnerships Gina Masciola.

This public-private partnership engages key stakeholders from government, non-profit, and private entities and enterprises, including the Pennsylvania Department of Education, RobotWits LLC, PA Rural Robotics, and leverages expertise and leadership from roboticists and educators. To learn more or to bring these free resources to your school or community, contact Rachel Burcin at rachel@robotwits.com or Maxim Likhachev at maxim@robotwits.com.

Roborace Autonomous Racing Championship

June 25, 2020
Posted in Events

Read more here

ITS America Announces Winner of the America’s Region of the Emerging Leaders Program Global Challenge

June 25, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

June 25, 2020

ITS America has named University of Pennsylvania, a Mobility21 UTC academic partner, as the winner of the America’s region of the Emerging Leaders Program Global Challenge with their inclusive mobility plan for Philadelphia.

Move, Philadelphia! is an inclusive mobility model for the city that includes multiple strategies to limit private vehicle use within the city using the latest technologies and direct diverted funds to the city’s flailing public transit system. Read the team’s submission here.

The Global Challenge, initially developed for the 2020 ITS World Congress in Los Angeles, was designed to help develop future ITS and emerging technology leaders among university and college students worldwide. Each ITS World Congress regions (Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific) is running parallel competitions to select winning teams – one team in each region. Teams were recruited to design an inclusive mobility model for an urban environment in their area. Europe and Asia-Pacific will select regional winners later this summer.

The UPenn team writes that Philadelphia has long had an equity problem. It is the poorest large city in the country but has experienced recent growth, which has resulted in increased congestion. Philadelphia is the third most congested city in the United States, but transportation issues affecting communities of color and low-income people are widespread. The city’s transit agency, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), is at risk, and the team proposes solutions that will create additional revenues as well as make access to transit more equitable. 

From the UPenn team’s abstract: “Introducing innovative curbside management tools can help Philadelphia regulate its limited roadway space and keep traffic flowing. Increasing fees for car usage, such as rideshare fees and parking permits, will more accurately price the cost of driving, discourage car use in our most congested areas, and create additional revenues for SEPTA. Furthermore, an overhaul in SEPTA’s fare structure and collection will increase financial accessibility of transit and make it a more attractive mode to all Philadelphians.”

Members of the UPenn team, below, are all in the Master of City Planning program:

  • Camille Boggan, from Cincinnati, OH, studied Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure Planning;
  • Emily Kennedy, from Tallahassee, FL, studied Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure Planning;
  • David Seunglee Park, from Washington, DC., studied Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure Planning;
  • Kate Sutton, from Lafayette, IN, studied Transportation and Spatial Data Science; and
  • Professors & UTC researchers Erick Guerra and Megan Ryerson

ITS America managed the competition in the Americas with support from a team of volunteers. Teams from 13 universities in the United States and Canada submitted papers.

A team of 15 subject matter experts representing the public, private, and academic sectors reviewed the papers and recommended three to advance to the regional finals. In addition to UPenn, the others were from the University of South Florida and Virginia Tech. ITS America held the regional final, virtually, on June 8. Each team made presentations and answered questions from five judges including representatives from ITS America, U.S. Department of Transportation, HNTB Corporation, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and University of Florida.”

Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition Quarterly Meeting

June 12, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

June 9, 2020

Traffic21 Professor Rick Stafford and his Heinz College masters student, Demitra Kourtzidis, participated in the quarterly meeting of the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition (KTFC) to engage with Pennsylvania transportation policy stakeholders.  Rick and Demitra are conducting research on past and future transportation funding alternatives.

The Ohio State University Student-Turned-Employee Racing to the Skies

June 9, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

April 6, 2020

The Ohio State University student-turned-employee Max Wright is achieving his dreams in the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).  The exploratory research program at the Mobility21 UTC academic partner is allowing him to help researchers and motorsports teams build custom parts to enhance leading research and winning vehicles.  Learn more here.

CMU Students Form Team to Compete in Roborace Autonomous Racing Championship

May 27, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

May 27, 2020

Carnegie Mellon students from the School of Computer Science have formed a team to compete in this year’s Roborace, an international competition involving autonomous, electrically powered vehicles. Read the full story here

CMU Students Share Capstone Project Results

April 29, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

April 29, 2020

Students of the CMU Heinz College engage in semester long “Capstone Projects” to apply coursework to real-world scenarios.  Today, students shared the results of their semester long research projects during a poster fair including the transportation related project:  “Price Prediction Project with QL2 Software.”

CCAC’s Bob Koch featured in WQED program on “Future Jobs: Technology and Our Changing Workforce”

March 12, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

March 12, 2020

CCAC’s Bob Koch was featured in a program called “Future Jobs: Technology and Our Changing Workforce” on WQED.  Bob discussed how technology is changing the way students are applying their knowledge and skills to positions in the automotive field.  Watch the video here.

CMU Transportation Club Kicks Off Spring Semester with Career Panel

January 29, 2020
Posted in What's Happening

January 28, 2020

The CMU Transportation Club kicked off spring semester today, with a career panel.  The panel included speakers from Bike Pittsburgh, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Port Authority of Allegheny County, Gridwise, Toole Design, and more.