National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology

The National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology at the University of Idaho is a center of excellence for transportation research, education and technology transfer in the state of Idaho, the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain regions, and in the United States.

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NIATT Advisory Board Meets in Moscow to Discuss the "New NIATT" (By Heloise Abtahi)

On Thursday, April 30, 2015, the Best Western University Inn continued to play host to NIATT’s Advisory Board Meeting proceedings. The objective of the meeting was to work with the advisory board and get feedback on how to define a “New NIATT.” Throughout the day, advisory board members worked with NIATT’s Director, Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, faculty members, and moderator/discussion leader Paul Olson (FHWA-retired) to outline the objectives, challenges, and opportunities for the future of NIATT.

The group endeavored to produce a list of action items that would give NIATT a jumping-off point for developing the direction of the “New NIATT.” Advisory board members like Julia Kuhn (Kittelson & Associates, Inc.), a former UI undergraduate student, encouraged NIATT to find out what faculty are passionate about and work on changes from there. Greg Davis (Kettering University) noted that NIATT is at a crossroads, ready to evolve and respond to the needs of the academic and professional community. Many board members, including Tom LaPointe (Valley Transit-retired), spoke to NIATT’s importance to the state of Idaho and discussed how NIATT could develop its already exemplary work with the state of Idaho and Idaho Transportation Department.

Toward the end of the day, the group met with UI’s Dean of Engineering, Dr. Larry Stauffer, who provided perspective on the role of NIATT at the college- and university-wide levels. The Dean and board members discussed the important role of students in NIATT’s work and the College of Engineering. Board members encouraged increasing outreach efforts and noted the importance of NIATT’s work in showing students the opportunities a degree in engineering can offer, especially with new incoming faculty.

The day drew to a promising close as the group established an order of importance for action items and discussed the upcoming 25th anniversary celebration. A general timeline was also put in place with the hope that by the time NIATT celebrates it’s 25th birthday, a “New NIATT” would be ready to be unveiled.


NIATT Advisory Board Dinner Held at Best Western University Inn
(By Heloise Abtahi)


Gary Duncan and Dr. Richard WallOn Wednesday, April 29, 2015, NIATT welcomed members of the advisory board during a dinner held at the Best Western University Inn in Moscow. The dinner preceded the advisory board’s meeting to discuss the “New NIATT,” and included NIATT faculty members, staff, students, board members, and guests.

Dr. Jon Van Gerpen and Dr. Steve BeyerleinThe evening began with a brief cocktail hour and continued into a buffet-style dinner. NIATT Director Ahmed Abdel-Rahim started things off during dinner by welcoming attendees and giving a brief overview of the goals and questions confronting the evolution of NIATT. Graduate student Brett Seely then presented his work on cybersecurity in traffic systems, followed by a brief presentation of honors.

Dr. Michael Kyte and Paul OlsonAmong those honored were Dr. Richard Wall and Dr. Jon Van Gerpen, who were recognized for Outstanding Collaborative Research and will be retiring in June. Dr. Michael Kyte, who was called the “father and grandfather to NIATT” at the ceremony and will be retiring in December, was honored for his service to and support of NIATT throughout the years. Dr. Kyte has been involved with NIATT since 1991. Dr. Michael Dixon’s wife Cecily and daughter Julia were also in attendance. NIATT honored Dr. Dixon’s memory and recognized his exemplary dedication to NIATT with an Outstanding Contribution Award.

Dr. Kyte, Cecily Dixon, and Julia DixonPresentations of current NIATT projects continued with Dr. Axel Krings and his student, Anup Chitrakar, who spoke about jamming-aware safety applications. The proceedings concluded with a brief turn to the Humanities as Psychology graduate student Jacob Rember spoke about human factors, experiment design, and his work on a project titled “Development of a Model of Passing Behavior on Two-Lane Rural Highways."

by Heloise Abtahi

 In Memoriam: Michael Dixon 












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Evaluation of Fiber-Reinforced Asphalt Pavements – Phase 1 (By Heloise Abtahi)

Ahmed Muftah checking mixResearchers at University of Idaho and Washington State University are currently working with Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) on a project that will evaluate the performance of three different asphalt-reinforcing fibers for a 3.22 mile long stretch of pavement in Southeast Idaho. Using fibers supplied by Forta Co., Nycon Corporation, and Surface-Tech, Inc., ITD has built four different sections (three with fibers and one control section) on US-30, just east of Montpelier, Idaho. The stretch of highway being used was selected by ITD due to the rutting and cracking that occurs in the pavement, as well as the heavy truck traffic that frequents the road. The hope is that the use of fibers will help alleviate the problems with this and other similarly stressed roadways, making them safer and reducing maintenance cost. (Pictured above is graduate student Ahmed Muftah checking the mix temperature during construction of the fiber project on US-30.)

Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP)(Left: Process of injecting fibers into the mix via the Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) inlet of the drum dryer in the asphalt plant.) The project, lead by principal investigator Dr. Fouad Bayomy, is currently about halfway through it’s first phase. This part of the project, which will continue through the end of 2015, is comprised of a literature review and a laboratory analysis of the different mixes being used. Phase 2 will then analyze and report on the performance of the mixes in the field. Analyzing the fibers in the lab and in the field is a necessary component of the evaluation process, and the project will also be collecting and reporting data from the construction process. Nearly one thousand pounds of plant mix were collected from the test sections for laboratory testing. Dr. Bayomy is working with Dr. Haifang Wen at WSU on the project.


Graduate students from both UI and WSU are working on the project. UI student Ahmed Muftah works on the lab testing and will also work on model development for the Fiber-HMA mixes as part of his PhD research. Amir Bahadori, a graduate student at WSU, is also working on lab testing, which Dr. Bayomy says will include X-ray tomography. This type of testing will help to evaluate the level of fiber dispersion in the mix. Dr. Bayomy and his team will also be using AASHTOWare ME Pavement design software for performance evaluation, which will allow for an excellent opportunity to check and calibrate the software using data from a road that was recorded from the time it was built forward.




Naresh PachauriNaresh Pachauri (MSBAE ’08, MSc Chemistry ’11) worked with Dr. Brian He and Dr. Jon Van Gerpen as a graduate research assistant focusing on continuous biodiesel production using reactive distillation.  Naresh said, "The process cut down the costs and reaction times significantly." Prior to coming to Idaho, Naresh received a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering at NIT in India.

He was particularly fascinated with Idaho's winters.  His favorite past time was to learn & gossip with his mentor and friend, Dr. Joseph Thompson. He is thankful for the opportunity to do research and the financial support for his graduate studies from NIATT.  

He has worked in variety of biodiesel plants spread across the nation (including 2,5,10,20,50 & 100+ MGY capacities). He has been with his current company for the past two years.



Zane SappZane Sapp (BSEE ’08, MSEE 2010) has been working for Campbell Company in Boise, Idaho since graduating from the University of Idaho. He started working with NIATT in 2008 with Dr. Richard Wall. The work he did focused on board level troubleshooting on the Advanced Accessible Pedestrian System (AAPS). They now sell the AAPS as a product at Campbell. "This was truly an amazing experience to bring a product from a thought to fruition. I had all the tools from my undergrad experience that I could then apply at the graduate level. I was very fortunate to have NIATT to provide this great experience," said Sapp. He also had an internship with Campbell in summer of '09 and then was hired permanently by the company the next year.

Sapp said, "Since employment we have built a fine engineering team here a Campbell. We continue to design and build new products for the traffic industry. We also continually improve our products by visiting field sites and learning what the customers would like to see on the street. I’d like to thank NIATT and Dr. Wall for making this all possible."

more alumni . . .


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NIATT Student of the Year


Idaho Asphalt Conference

National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology

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