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.

We invite you to explore our Website to learn more about our research, graduate and undergraduate opportunities, and the people who work with and for us. Please contact us if you would like additional information about our programs.


In Memoriam: Michael Dixon


University of Idaho civil engineering professor Michael Dixon suddenly and unexpectedly passed away of an apparent heart attack May 7, 2014.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of Mike’s passing. He was in the prime of his career, he was a well-respected colleague and researcher and inspiring instructor, and his passing is a great loss to the university community. Our thoughts are with Mike’s family at this difficult time,” said Larry Stauffer, dean of the College of Engineering. 

Michael Dixon was a professor in civil engineering at the University of Idaho since 2000 and a licensed professional engineer in Idaho since 2004. He was promoted to full professor earlier this year. Mike earned his Ph.D. degree in civil engineering at Texas A&M University and his master’s and undergraduate degrees from Brigham Young University. 

Mike was a vital part of the University of Idaho’s transportation research team working within the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT). Mike’s research focused on emerging traffic detection techniques and technologies, intelligent transportation systems and transportation systems modeling. He was an active member of the Transportation Research Board's Committee on Highway Capacity and Quality of Service, and served in several leadership roles on that committee. He collaborated with a number of researchers from around the U.S. and was highly regarded.

He was widely published and was an acting principal investigator on several large research projects. His grant work in progress included: Improving Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety by Identifying Critical Intersections and Street Segments; Modeling Passing Behavior on Two-Lane Rural Highways: Evaluating Crash Risk under Different Geometric Configurations; and Daily Travel Feedback to Encourage Eco-Routing.

Mike taught several key courses on transportation engineering and traffic systems. During his time at the University of Idaho he developed several online training modules and instructional software tools to help students better understand traffic systems design.  He was also the current advisor to over 20 undergraduate and graduate civil engineering students.

Mike was both an avid cyclist and winter sports enthusiast and loved taking his family skiing in McCall. He and his children participated in the annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, one of the biggest recreational bicycle rides in the country.  Mike and his family are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is survived by his wife, Cecily, and their eight children.

Contributions can be made to the “Michael Dixon Donation” Zions National Bank. The fund is for his children’s education. For more information you may contact Zions National Bank directly.

DR. Ahmed Abdel-Rahim Appointed Interim Director

Dr. Ahmed Abdel-RahimDr. Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, associate professor in the Civil Engineering department and active researcher in NIATT since 2000, has been appointed Interim Director of the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT). His research field is Transportation Engineering focusing on traffic operation and controls, transportation systems, modeling, highway design and traffic safety, and most recently has emphasized security and survivability of transportation infrastructure. He was the recipient of the College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty award in 2010 and the University of Idaho’s Midcareer award in 2012.


Formula Hybrid Champions


Vandal Formula Hybrid Racing Team Voltz N' Boltz Wins National Competition (By Rob Patton)

After four days of competition and several hundreds of hours of effort, the University of Idaho’s Vandal Formula Hybrid Racing Team returned from New Hampshire Motor Speedway winners of the 2014 national Formula Hybrid Competition. 

The Vandal racing team – also known as Voltz N’ Boltz – drove home with the competition’s top prizes. The team earned the Chrysler Innovation Award, which recognizes innovative design and implementation, and the General Motors Best-Engineered Hybrid first place award, which is given to teams that demonstrate achievements in three categories: introducing new technologies and/or a remarkable implementation of existing technologies, making a positive difference and extraordinary vehicle balance. 

In addition, the team placed second in the Skip Barber Teamwork Award, which is given to teams displaying the best overall collaborative teamwork skills.

Twelve teams competed in this year’s hybrid division competition, including Yale University, the University of Michigan and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Lawrence Technological University in Michigan placed second and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University of Florida placed third, with Yale a close fourth.

In the midst of the 2014 Engineering Design EXPO opening ceremonies, Dean Larry Stauffer received news of the team’s victory. To a crowded room Dean Stauffer read a quote from an email sent by the team’s faculty advisor Dan Cordon.

Formula Hybrid Victory 2014 College of Engineering University of Idaho
“After all the pictures and celebrations, the team returned to the racing paddock to find representatives from both GM and Chrysler,” said faculty advisor Dan Cordon.  “The GM team encouraged all of the students to leave resumes. The Chrysler team was there to personally invite every member of the team for a site visit and job interview at their headquarters.”

Dean Stauffer added, “This win perfectly highlights one of the key features of Engineering Design EXPO, the collaborative effort between industry sponsors and our talented students and faculty.  I am certainly impressed with the success of this team, their dedication and hard work to this project is evident by the recognition they received from GM and Chrysler.”

The University of Idaho Formula Hybrid Team is composed of an interdisciplinary team of students including members of the mechanical engineering department: Jordan Anderson, Jonathan Andring, Derek Arrotta, Adam Bunch, Ignacio Lopez, Nathan Peterson, Bryan Tianiacos, Gillette Zenner and graduate mentors Mostafa Asfoor, Matt Kologi and Rory Lilley; Amos Bartlow from electrical and computer engineering; David Arnett from computer science; and Artemio Ambriz of the virtual technology & design department.

The team’s faculty and staff advisors include: Professors Dan Cordon, Edwin Odom, Steve Beyerlein, Mike Santora, Herb Hess and machine shop manager Russ Porter.

“Last year the team experienced great difficulty integrating components at the last minute and eventually could not compete,” said faculty advisor Steve Beyerlein.  “FHSAE is one of the most complicated engineering competitions out there, challenging teams to integrate large-scale electrical and mechanical elements.  This year’s success is largely due to our failures last year and the tremendous improvements initiated over the summer and having resources in place.

Formula Hybrid Champions 2014 College of Engineering University of IdahoThe Vandal Hybrid racing team is sponsored by University of Idaho’s National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology’s (NIATT), University Transportation Center (UTC), Transportation for Livability by Integrating Vehicles and the Environment (TranLIVE).  TranLIVE is focused on developing technologies to reduce the environmental impact of the transportation system and funded by a grant from the United States Department of Transportation (DTRT12GUTC17).  TranLIVE contributed funding for student travel, parts and other equipment for the Vandal formula hybrid vehicle.

“The Vandal formula hybrid team’s victory is, once again, a testimony of the quality of our greatest asset, our students. Their technical abilities, exceptional team attitude, and intelligent integration of different vehicle components have certainly paid off. We are very proud of each student on the team and professor Dan Cordon,” said Interim Director for NIATT Ahmed Abdel-Rahim.

Other University of Idaho sponsors include: The College of Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Idaho Chapter of Engineering Students Advisory Council (ESAC-UI), Associated Students University of Idaho (ASUI), UI Facilities.  The team is also very fortunate to be supported by University of Idaho FHSAE & FSAE alumni.

The Vandal Hybrid team relies heavily on support from several external partners including: Aurora Bearing, Bayshore Systems, the Boeing Company, Cartesian Tube Profiling, DATAQ Instruments, Fastenal, Forest City Gears, Janicki Idustries, Nelson Metal Technology Inc., Schweitzer Engineering Lab, UTS Systems and Wagstaff Engineering.

Founded and run by Dartmouth College, the annual Formula Hybrid Competition challenges college and university students to design, build, and compete high-performance hybrid and electric vehicles. Building on the Formula SAE program, Formula Hybrid competition adds an extra level of complexity: fuel efficiency.  For more about the competition, visit




Yuri MereszczakYuri Mereszczak (BSCE ’03, MSCE ’05) is currently a Senior Engineer with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. (KAI) in Boise, ID, where he has worked since graduating from the University of Idaho in 2005.  Yuri’s involvement with NIATT began in 2001 when, as an undergraduate, he was offered the opportunity to conduct transportation research with Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Rahim.  Upon receiving his BSCE, NIATT provided Yuri with a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to participate in a comprehensive, national research project on roundabouts in the US.  Through this research, Yuri formed connections with several staff at KAI, which led directly to an internship and eventually full-time employment with the firm.


Since joining KAI, Yuri has participated in a variety of traffic engineering, roadway engineering, transportation planning, and transportation research projects throughout the US.  He has contributed to projects involving transportation impact analysis, preliminary and final roadway and traffic design, signal systems evaluation, transportation planning, corridor studies, and research studies. Yuri said, “NIATT truly was the launch pad for my career in more ways than one.  During my time with NIATT I solidified my interest and passion for transportation, made connections that enabled me to gain employment with a tremendous firm, and gained knowledge and maturity that served as the springboard for my ever-evolving professional development.  I owe so much to NIATT and its faculty for the opportunities, funding, and friendship they offered to help me hit the ground running with my career."

Yuri will be the guest speaker at a combined ASCE and ITE student chapter meeting on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 6:00 pm in JEB 328.


Phil Rust

Phil Rust MEngr ’04 began working with NIATT in August 2000. He said, “The UTC grant allowed me to work with roundabouts and roundabout experts.  That experience and those contacts led me to a career of saving lives.” Phil received the 2002 NIATT Student-of-the-Year award.


He has been involved with roundabouts ever since, helping the agencies he worked for get more of them built and creating safe design requirements.  He said there is significant opposition to change, so he takes every opportunity to share the benefits of roundabouts.  He has also help other engineers spread the word, as the education chair of ITE’s roundabout committee.  Phil said, “Roundabouts save lives and keep people moving.  They’re great for communities and local businesses.  I can’t imagine a more rewarding career.”


Phil has worked for the Washington State DOT and is currently employed by Ada County Highway District.

more alumni . . .


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National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology

University of Idaho
115 Engineering Physics Building
Moscow, ID 83844-0901
Phone:  (208) 885-0576
Fax:      (208) 885-2877

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