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
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Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Rahim
Chosen to Lead UI’s National Institute For Advanced
(By Rob Patton)
University of Idaho College of Engineering
announced today the selection of civil engineering
professor Ahmed Abdel-Rahim as the permanent
director of the National Institute for Advanced
Transportation Technology (NIATT). Abdel-Rahim has
been serving as interim director since the spring
and has been an active NIATT researcher since 2000.
“Ahmed brings a rare combination of excellent
research credentials and discerning leadership
skills to the NIATT directorship,” said Jon Van
Gerpen, associate dean for research in the College
of Engineering. “I have been impressed with his
problem-solving skills and willingness to
Abdel-Rahim’s research focuses on traffic operation
and controls, transportation systems, modeling,
highway design and traffic safety, and, most
recently, security and survivability of
Since 2009, Abdel-Rahim has been a part of 25
externally funded research projects totaling over $2
million in awards, 18 of which he has led as
principle investigator. Abdel-Rahim’s research has
been funded by a wide range of organizations
including the National Cooperative Highway Research
Program, Federal Highway Administration, Idaho
Transportation Department and the U.S. Department of
In addition to his role as NIATT director,
Abdel-Rahim also serves as the director for the U.S.
Department of Transportation’s
Transportation for Livability by Integrating
Vehicles and the Environment, or TranLIVE, a $6.8-million
university research consortium led by the University
of Idaho which includes partners such as Old
Dominion University, Syracuse University, Texas
Southern University and Virginia Tech University.
Abdel-Rahim is also the recipient of the College of
Engineering’s outstanding faculty award in 2010 and
the University of Idaho’s midcareer award in 2012.
Abdel-Rahim also coordinated a recent visit to UI by
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx,
underscoring that NIATT has made the campus a focal
point for developing, implementing and deploying
21st-century transportation solutions not only for
the state and region, but for the nation.
“Ahmed is a proven leader and mentor,” said College
of Engineering Dean Larry Stauffer. “As interim
director he has provided terrific leadership, and I
expect this to continue now that he is the permanent
director, continuing to develop the college’s
reputation for excellence in transportation research
In Memoriam: Michael
Share a memory of Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alleviate Congestion at Rural Intersections”
Case Study at State
Highway 55 / Banks-Lowman Highway Offers ITD
Efficient Congestion Solutions
(By Heloise Abtahi)
There aren’t many drivers today who can say they’ve never had to endure holiday traffic. Cars can be backed up for miles, cutting heavily into precious holiday time. This type of congestion is especially noticeable at normally quiet rural intersections, which can go from seeing very little regular traffic to seeing thousands of cars around holidays like Memorial Day weekend or the Fourth of July. In an effort to help alleviate this congestion, Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Interim Director of NIATT, and NIATT Research Assistant Chris Bacon conducted a case study focused on one intersection in particular: State Highway 55 and Banks-Lowman Highway. This area was identified by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) as experiencing typically low traffic volumes with a spike around holidays. In order to mitigate the problems drivers were experiencing at this and many other rural intersections around Idaho, Dr. Abdel-Rahim and Mr. Bacon worked to find the best way to meet not only the particular needs of the SH-55/Banks-Lowman Highway intersection, but also to discover the most efficient methods for limiting strain on all types of rural intersections during holiday periods.
Using data from automatic traffic counters installed by ITD in 2006, the research team was able to establish a base count for the average daily traffic (ADT) for the peak season from past years. To collect the traffic data for 2014, the project team worked with ITD to get an accurate ADT through the use of both automatic traffic counters and cameras installed at the intersection. The result was an excellent and very thorough data set that according to Dr. Abdel-Rahim, makes the study’s findings much more universally applicable. “Because of the extensive data collection, we really were able to totally understand the problem and offer a solution.” Not only were the objectives of the project (collecting traffic data and offering a potential solution for peak congestion at the SH-55/Banks-Lowman Highway intersection) successfully achieved, other rural intersections will benefit from the case study. Though the SH-55/Banks-Lowman Highway intersection has somewhat unique geographical features, Dr. Abdel-Rahim believes that the study will be a great help in alleviating heavy congestion during these holiday periods at many types of rural intersections.
Chris Bacon worked as a research assistant for this project, helping to collect and analyze the data. From a student’s perspective, he says, this was an excellent opportunity to gain truly practical experience of what he’s learned in the classroom and to understand the value of using the actual technology. Working with ITD allowed him to get experience with their automatic traffic counters and to understand how to assemble a thorough and useful data set. Chris even went so far as to note that not only was the volume of traffic increasing during these peak periods—the types of vehicles and the people driving them were changing as well. Many of these vehicles might not normally be classified as large or oversized, but in the hands of drivers who might be unpracticed in driving with a trailer and unfamiliar with the area, a truck with a small trailer can prove to be a rather large obstacle. It is this careful attention to detail that makes this study so useful not only to the SH-55/Banks-Lowman intersection, but also to rural intersections throughout Idaho and, on a larger scale, the country. After all, this congestion is something that effects not only holiday-makers in these areas, but also those who live and work there. This case study was able to define and provide a solution for an identified problem, and in doing so, it will offer very real results.
THREE STUDENTS TO BE RECOGNIZED AT THE 21ST NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON RURAL PUBLIC AND INTERCITY BUS TRANSPORTATION
Civil Engineering students working with NIATT, Christopher Bacon, Riannon Heighes, and Brett Seely have won paper competitions administered by the National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation. Each student will receive a cash prize and travel funds to attend the conference on October 26-29, 2014 in Monterey, California. This year’s conference theme is “Setting Our Course for the Future”. Students were asked to envision four alternative perspectives for our transportation future: a vision of continued growth, one of disciplined or constrained growth, a future of decline and collapse, or one of transformation. Understanding these four alternative perspectives is important as many believe that the way we envision our future actually shapes the future. Christopher participated in the graduate student research paper competition. His paper, entitled “Real-Time Information Projecting Towards the Future,” received second place honors. Riannon and Brett competed in the undergraduate student essay competition, finishing in first place and second place, respectively. Congratulations Christopher, Riannon, and Brett! We know that you will represent the University of Idaho, the Department of Civil Engineering, and NIATT well.
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.
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 . . .
descriptions and final reports
Graduate program in
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2010-2011 Annual report
University of Idaho home
NIATT Student of the
Idaho Asphalt Conference
Sustainable Transportation Conference
Signals Conference and presentations