Mobility21 UTC Program Manager, Lisa Kay Schweyer, met with students from the Columbus College of Art & Design

November 14, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

November 14, 2019

Mobility21 UTC Program Manager, Lisa Kay Schweyer, met with students from the Columbus College of Art & Design.  The students are working on a project to explore design of autonomous shuttles to encourage the sharing of rides and measure user experience.

Traffic21 Launches “Traffic21 Smart Transportation” Podcast

November 8, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

The Traffic21 Smart Transportation Podcast launched today, coinciding with the  Traffic21 10-Year Anniversary Symposium.

This podcast was created to feature and share information from thought leaders and highlight the smart transportation work happening at Carnegie Mellon University and in the community.  Click here to learn more.

The inaugural episode of the podcast highlight content recorded at the 2019 National Mobility Summit.  Listen to the  inaugural episode here.

The podcast series will include interviews and stories from UTC faculty, students, industry and government leaders, community members and academic partners.   They will share their thoughts on the future of transportation, intelligent technology systems, shared mobility, and more.

The Traffic21 Smart Transportation Podcast is hosted and produced by Mobility21 UTC Diversity Fellow Allanté Whitmore.

Update from Tessa Guengerich, CMU Robotics Institute Summer Scholar

July 29, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

July 29, 2019

In June, Mobility21 welcomed Tessa Guengerich as part of this year’s  CMU Robotics Institute Summer Scholars (RISS) program. Currently an undergraduate student at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, she arrived in Pittsburgh hoping to learn more about machine learning and programming and learn more about the implementation of robots outside of academia. Tessa said she was excited to learn about things she wasn’t exposed to before (computational statistics and machine learning) and was also excited to be surrounded by other students from around the world.

Photo from UBTech competition
SCS, 190718B, UBTECH, Robotics Institute, July 18 2019.  Tessa on right.

Six weeks later, Tessa provided this update on her experience:

On my project with Isaac [Isukapati, Project Scientist, at CMU’s NREC: National Robotics Engineering Center], I’m learning a lot about computational statistics and algorithms, and I’m coding in C++ for the first time. I’ve faced a bit of a learning curve, but it’s a challenge I’ve been able to face thus far. The overall project is to write a scheduling program for robotic arms performing specific tasks — for example, given X robotic arms and Y objects, what’s the best course of action for the robotic arms to move those objects safely and efficiently? My contribution to the project is to write a statistical simulator to test the performance of the scheduler with a specific set of parameters, to see where the scheduler performs well and where it fails.

Photo from UBTech competition

Participating in RISS has also exposed me to other areas in robotics I’ve never seen before, like the DJI and UBTECH workshops. During the DJI workshop we had to set up the software development kit for a small drone, and then use that SDK to program the drone for a race of sorts. First of all–I’ve never worked with drones or been forced to think about their specific challenges, so working with my team to think about wind and tuning parameters was surprisingly fun to me. Second, I found it fun to work with four students from such different backgrounds to complete the challenge. Two of the students had experience with drones and were able to take the lead, helping and teaching along the way. It was new for me to be in the situation of getting help from a peer on a common goal (and not for individual assignments or school group projects, where most students have similar sets of skills.)

Photo from UBTech competition

For the UBTECH workshop, we were again placed in teams and tasked with programming a humanoid robot to complete a task of “rescuing” stuffed animals and placing them in “safe” zones. The challenge was two-fold. First, we were expected to connect to the humanoid robot via bluetooth and control it with a gaming controller. Then we needed to connect specific buttons on the controller to specific movements in the robot, and test that functionality. My contribution ended up being to set up the software development kit for the gaming controller to connect via bluetooth (which I had learned a lot about in the DJI workshop). I also helped my teammates to fine-tune the movements of the robot for walking to and grasping the animal. Again, all of this was pretty far out of my comfort zone, but I had a great team that managed to balance each other’s skill set.

Photo from UBTech competition

We’ve also had the privilege of hearing and seeing a lot of presentations from different faculty members at CMU about their research. That has also been an eye-opening experience. As a Chemical Engineering student, most of the talks were outside of my traditional curriculum, but that’s exactly what I’ve enjoyed most about RISS — learning about research I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise, and trying my hand at tasks that initially intimidated me.

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.

CMU Student Noel Lau Awarded APTA Scholarship

July 26, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

July 26, 2019

CMU Civil Engineering graduate student, Noel Lau was awarded an American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) scholarship. As part of the award, Noel will attend the national APTA conference in October, where she will have the opportunity to attend workshops and sessions as well as meet with industry professionals from across the country.

Traffic21 welcomes Tessa Guengerich as CMU Robotics Institute Summer Scholar

June 12, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

June 12, 2019

Traffic21 welcomes and is pleased to sponsor Tessa Guengerich as part of this year’s CMU Robotics Institute Summer Scholars (RISS) program. Currently an undergraduate student at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, she arrives in Pittsburgh hoping to learn more about machine learning and programming and learn more about the implementation of robots outside of academia.  Tessa says she is excited to learn about things she wasn’t exposed to before (computational statistics and machine learning) and is also excited to be surrounded by other students from around the world.

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.

CCAC Faculty Leads Transportation Discuss with Career and Technology Center Students

June 1, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

June 1, 2019

Bob Koch from the Community College of Alleghey County visited the Western Area Career and Technology Center to discuss the career opportunities available in the transportation industry with their students.  The class, led by Koch, also discussed the impact these new technologies could have on the economy, and how do they see it impacting those living in a rural environment.

UTC Faculty Advises Data Driven Heinz College Capstone Project

May 7, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

May 7, 2019

Director of the Mobility Data Analytics Center and UTC Faculty, Sean Qian,  advised a Heinz College Capstone student Project Team that focused on extreme weather events impacts on bridges. The capstone project examined a variety of publicly available data sources to develop a data-driven model for 1) better prediction of washout events and 2)  scour critical risks for all bridges in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Amtrak Capstone “Improving Intercity Rail Data Analytics” Advised by Stan Caldwell

May 7, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

May 7, 2019

Mobility21 Executive Director, Stan Caldwell, advised the The Heinz College Capstone project with Amtrak entitled “Improving Intercity Rail Data Analytics”.  Today, the capstone project team presented their project results, which included their examination of a variety of data sources to develop a data-driven model for identifying and marketing to new customers.

Women in Transportation Fellow presents her final capstone project report entitled “Cost of Curbs”

May 3, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

May 3, 2019

Mobility21 Women in Transportation Fellow, Sarah Cho, presented her final capstone project report entitled “Cost of Curbs Final Presentation” at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. The presentation was attended by leaders from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Parking, Port Authority and the City of Pittsburgh.

Mobility21’s Program Manager and Traffic21 Diversity Fellow join MASITE Luncheon as Keynote Speakers

May 1, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

May 1, 2019

The Mid-Atlantic Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (MASITE) hosted their Western Area Luncheon Seminar Series entitled “The Black and Yellow Brick Road: Transportation Research & New Mobility in Pittsburgh” in Pittsburgh. There were more than 60 people in attendance for the event where Lisa Kay Schweyer, Mobility21 Program Manager and Allante’ Whitmore, Mobility21 Diversity Fellow were the keynote speakers.

The Vision Zero Toolbox

April 15, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

April 15, 2019

Erick Guerra, UTC Faculty and Assistant Professor in City and Regional Planning in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, was an advisor for The Vision Zero Toolbox in Philadelphia project. The project aims to help decision-makers at the local level prioritize initiatives and projects which will achieve the greatest traffic safety benefit and ensure the success of Vision Zero Philadelphia.

 

UPenn Presents at CPSWeek Conference in Montreal

April 14, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

April 14, 2019

The UPenn UTC Team including Rahul Mangharam, Matt Kelly, Yash Pant and Houssam Abbas attended the Cyber-Physical Systems and Internet-of-Things Week Conference in Canada to present their research.

Community College of Allegheny County hosts Butler County Vo-Tech

April 9, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

April 9, 2019

Bob Koch, UTC Faculty and Community College of Allegheny County Professor of Automotive Engineering, hosted students from the Butler County Area Vocational-Technical High School automotive program.  Bob engaged the students in discussions about career opportunities for automotive technicians and included technician training with Intelligent Transportation, Connected Vehicles, EV and PHEV’s, Data Analytics and Cyber Security and how they relate to transportation industry.

Traffic21’s Women in Transportation Awardee Joining CMU’s Machine Learning Ph.D. Program

April 8, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

April 8, 2019

CMU’s Traffic21 and Robotics Institute Summer Scholars Program have partnered to provide talented undergraduate students mentored robotics research experiences with top scientists creating innovative solutions for transportation at Carnegie Mellon University.

Stephanie Milani, the recipient of the 2017 Women in Transportation Award funded by Traffic21, is joining the CMU Machine Learning Ph.D. program in fall 2019.

The Traffic21 scholarship enabled Stephanie to learn about computer vision and deep learning while working with Dr. Christoph Mertz. Stephanie explained how important this was in her trajectory and growth, “Before RISS, I was unfamiliar with robotics research. Through the various programs and events, RISS provides a great, overarching view of the interdisciplinary nature of robotics research, but simultaneously allows scholars to dive deeply into an area through their summer research.”

Investing in early research experiences creates an enormous impact and opportunity for new solutions and approaches that will make our communities smarter and more livable.

Congratulations Stephanie!

CMU Student Elyana Hurst Receives WTS Scholarship

March 29, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

March 28, 2019

Tonight the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) Pittsburgh Chapter held its 2019 Annual Scholarship Gala.

Elyana Hurst, a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy, with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies was awarded the 2019 WTS Pittsburgh Chapter Molitoris Leadership Scholarship for Undergraduates during the event.

Elyana is interested in transportation infrastructure, specifically within and around cities, and hopes to pursue research regarding autonomous vehicles. She is involved in the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers at her university, and she serves as an ambassador for the Engineering & Public Policy department.

Elyana aims to pursue a career that allows her to combine her passion for the transportation industry with her knowledge of environmental concerns and the importance of government policies.

Members of Mobility21 staff, students and deployment partners also participated in the event and were able to congratulate Elyana as she received her scholarship award.

UTC Program Manager Gets Updates on Student Projects at the University Of Pennsylvania

March 26, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

March 26, 2019

Lisa Kay Schweyer met with UTC faculty and students during her semi-annual visit to the Mobility21 academic partner, the University of Pennsylvania.  She heard presentations from students on their research on ridehailing services’ impact on transit ridership, pedestrian deaths and injuries, and predictors of cycling.

The Ohio State University Gives UTC Program Manager a Tour of their Electric Racing Vehicles

March 13, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

March 13, 2019

During her semi-annual visit to the Mobility21 academic partner the Ohio State University, Mobility21 UTC Program Manager Lisa Kay Schweyer participated in a tour of the Center for Automotive Research’s various electric racing vehicles. In addition she met with UTC faculty and students to learn more about their research activities.

Elsie Hillman Scholar Presents Final Project

March 6, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

March 6, 2019

Mobility21 Elsie Hillman Scholar, Teresa Leatherow, organized the Sustainability and Transportation:  Building the Systems of Tomorrow event as her final deliverable for her research with Mobility21. The event featured panelists from the City of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh who discussed challenges, progress and the future of sustainable transportation.

Teresa Leatherow, a student at the University of Pittsburgh and an Elsie Hillman Honors Scholar working with Traffic21, attended the Institute of Politics “Never A Spectator” event

March 4, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

February 28, 2019

This forum brought together student leaders at Pitt with Pittsburgh city leaders, ranging from for-profit and non-profit spaces, for the opportunity to expand their networks and work toward increased civic engagement initiatives. The event honored Elsie Hillman’s legacy to the city of Pittsburgh, captured through her quote “It is possible to see something good and to work for it, and even dare to achieve it. Don’t be a spectator. You are needed in every corner of the community”.

Bosch Curbside Ideation Event

March 1, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

March 1, 2019

Bosch hosted a “Curbside Management Ideation Event” at Carnegie Mellon University.  Over 25 students signed up to participate.

The event kicked off at 8:30 am with “Welcome’s and Introductions” by Sylvia Vogt from Carnegie Bosch Institute and Oliver Steinig, VP Business Development and Corporate Strategy Americas at Robert Bosc.  Karina Ricks, Director of Mobility and Infrastructure from the City of Pittsburgh then shared with the participants the importance of curbside management and Pittsburgh’s specific challenges:

  • Geographically challenged roadway network with congested, narrow avenues
  • Congestion compounded by transit stops, parallel parking, and commuter traffic
  • Competition amongst various modes and users for curb space
  • Lack of universal value for curb access and allocation
  • Lack of real time curbside utilization rates

The students were assigned to one of four teams.  And after the teams received their instructions on how to conceptualize solutions to Pittsburgh mobility challenges by leveraging Bosch strengths in Video as Sensor, the students quickly got started. An observation from the VP Business Development and Corporate Strategy Americas at Bosch, Oliver Steinig was how diligently the students worked, even choosing to eat lunch with their teams to continue working on their curbside management ideas.

At the end of the day, the students’ hard work paid off. Each team presented solutions that combined Bosch sensors, sensible technology and pragmatic policy changes.

Mobility21 and Metro21 helped promote the event and engage students and were on hand for the day’s activities.

The Curbside Ideation event is an example of how industry, government, and academia can come together to create real solutions to real world problems.

Smart Mobility Challenge Project: Real-time traffic monitoring and prediction for Cranberry Township

February 15, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

February 2018

If you’ve ever traveled through Cranberry Township, you’ve probably had to wait at more than one traffic signal. Cranberry Township’s unique geographical location at the junction of Interstate 79 and the PA Turnpike (PA 376) poses unique challenges in coordinated signal operations. Furthermore, the Township operates a Coordinated Signal System that relies on historically Generated Signal Timings, coupled with real time technology to manage day to day operations on the local network.  Any scheduled or unscheduled events on the limited access highways can cause havoc with operations on roads in the business district.

Jason A. Dailey, Director of Public Works in Cranberry Township saw an opportunity with the Smart Mobility Challenge to reduce havoc and maintain efficiency. Together with CMU faculty, Sean Qian, and PhD

Sean Qian

student, Weiran Yao, the Mobility Data Analytics Center (MAC) received funding from Traffic21.  This research project incorporated real time data inputs monitored from both social media and other public data sources against historical data to trigger predictions of traffic delays at least 30 minutes ahead.  These predictions could then be directed to dynamic message boards, smart phone applications, social media, and text messages to alert the public of the anticipated delay.  These predictions also alert the Cranberry Traffic Operations

Weiran Yao

Center of the incidents to allow for pro-active adjustments to the operating traffic plan on a real-time basis.

At the conclusion of the project, in a real-world demonstration, the system proved to successfully alert the Townships traffic operators of the upcoming traffic gridlock 50 minutes in advance compared to the actual reporting time, which allowed more prompt and effective traffic management.

Dailey’s feedback after working with Traffic21 faculty Sean Qian included:

“This was another great experience working with CMU through the Traffic21 program.  Our project was able to pull existing technology and crowd-sourced data, combine it with other publicly available data that is driven by a multitude of sources including vehicle reporting data and roadway sensors, and produce a recommendation on how to manage our signal system when an event is triggered.  We are very fortunate to work with Traffic21 and MAC to help us take advantage of current technology and make sense of it, in a way that industry professionals can then turn it into real world solutions.  This project built on another project we had been working on with Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission where we developed contingency plans that were preplanned and would need to be first identified manually, and then entered manually into our traffic signal system.  What Sean and his team were able to do, was to create a program that looks locally at traffic inputs, looks regionally at what is happening, identify issues far enough in advance for us to get an alert that then would recommend what signal plan would best resolve the issue that is occurring.  While we still need to manually enter the plan, this project far exceeded our expectations and is showing us just how valuable regional data access is for us.” 

Read the Full Report from Real-Time Traffic Monitoring and Prediction for Cranberry Township: https://ppms.cit.cmu.edu/media/project_files/61-Final.pdf

Inspired by Traffic21’s years of successful collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh to become a globally recognized smart city test bed, the goal of the Smart Mobility Challenge is to demonstrate how suburban and rural communities can also benefit from a similar collaboration.  This program is supported by Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute and its affiliated US DOT National University Transportation Center, Mobility21.

The Smart Mobility Challenge is an opportunity to connect suburban and rural communities to the technologies and resources being developed at Carnegie Mellon University.  The first Smart Mobility Challenge was held from 2017 – 2018, and included research done in collaboration with Millvale, McKees Rocks, Bethel Park, Greensburg, Mt. Lebanon, Dormont, Cranberry Township and Lawrence County.  Learn more by clicking here.

Traffic21 is currently kicking off its Second Smart Mobility Challenge.  The goal of this year’s challenge is work with these communities to use data and analytics to solve their municipality’s mobility problems.  Representatives of municipalities and public transit operators in southwestern PA are invited to request research assistance through the 2019-2020 Smart Mobility Challenge.   Learn more by clicking here.

 

Traffic21 Director Featured Speaker at UCF

January 25, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 25, 2019

Traffic21 Director, Chris Hendrickson was invited to the University of Central Florida for their Future City Seminar Series. Hendrickson presented “Past and Future of the US Interstate Highway System” where he looked back at the impacts and innovations of the Interstate Highway System, including engineering, financing and planning challenges.

CMU PhD Students Present Poster at TRB

January 24, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 22, 2019

Two PhD students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University presented their Mobility21 Research during the poster session at the Transportation Annual Research Board in Washington DC.  Rick Grahn’s presented his team’s poster “Public Transit Users and Behaviors in the United States: Evidence from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey” and Corey Harper presented his team’s poster “Net-Societal and Net-Private Benefits of Some Existing Crash Avoidance Technologies.”

UPenn ESE Team Wins FAA Raise Award

January 15, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 17, 2019

At the 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, the Executive Committee of the Council of University Transportation Centers on behalf of the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao, awarded the Secretary’s RAISE Award to a student team from the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN).  The UPENN senior design team members John Kearney, Max Li, William Tam, and Sahithya Prakash and team advisor, Dr. Megan S. Ryerson, accepted their award. The Secretary’s RAISE award was created to recognize innovative scientific and engineering concepts and student achievements that have the potential to significantly impact the future of aerospace or aviation. The team focused on the design and implementation of a centralized air traffic control (ATC) system for autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (aUAVs) in order to mitigate the risk of aUAV-on-aUAV mid-air collisions.

[UPENN is an academic partner in the Mobility21 University Transportation Center.]

Students Get Together at TRB

January 14, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 14, 2019

Students from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, and the Ohio State University (all academic partners of the Mobility21 UTC) made time to get together during the TRB conference in Washington DC.  Students shared information on their academic pursuits, research interests, and brainstormed ways to continue meeting and working together during the spring semester.