On October 5, 2012, Dr. Robert Proctor, a Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University, visited Louisiana State University. As part of his tour at LSU, he attended a presentation and demonstration of the driving simulator. His research interests of basic and applied aspects of human performance, with an emphasis on stimulus-response compatibility, are aligned with an LSU UTC funded research project titled “Minimizing Driver Errors: Examining Factors Leading to Failed Target Tracking and Detection”. The presentation briefly described the purpose of the project and the psychological factors involved while driving such as visual attention and distracted driving impacts. Several of the psychology undergraduate students were selected to participate in various environments with the driving simulator. The various simulations proved that visual attention is limited and distracted driving can hinder focus and lead to crashes.
LSU Joins the Southwest Region University Transportation Center
The following article describes the expansion of the Southwest Region University Transportation Center (SWUTC) to include LSU and UNO. Dock Burke, SWUTC director, stated, “LSU and UNO offer some high-quality resources in terms of its faculty, students and some of their ongoing programs.” In addition, he added, “We believe the entire Gulf Coast will benefit from this new alliance.” Click the link below to read the entire article.
Mid-Year Meeting of TRB Task Force in Irvine, CA
Dr. Brian Wolshon led the mid-year meeting of the TRB task force on emergency evacuation (ANB80T) at the 2012 Transportation Hazards and Security Summit. The meeting had the following three objectives: (1) to develop research needs statements; (2) to solicit volunteers to lead the TR News feature issue; and (3) to discuss the 2013 annual meeting activities. In addition, the attendees discussed the future direction of the task force. Two presentations were made on related research topics. Atri Sen of Dewberry, Inc. presented on the “NCHRP Study of Debris Prediction and Management” and Li Zhang of Mississippi State University discussed the “Emergency/Evacuation Related NCHRP Projects and Publications”.
Urban Resilience in post-Katrina/Rita New Orleans
From the time of its founding in 1718, New Orleans incorporated resiliency by building raised structures on naturally high ground, separating living space from potential floodwaters. Residents understood and respected the natural limitations of the city. However, in the late 1900s, with the introduction of drainage pumps, outfall canals and equipment stations, New Orleans envisioned a city no longer constrained by either geography or tradition. Below-sea-level areas were drained and became footprints for new neighborhoods. After 1965’s Hurricane Betsy, the Corps of Engineers undertook a series of construction projects throughout the New Orleans region to protect from future hurricanes. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina proved the city’s storm protection system unfit to handle natural disasters, when eighty percent of New Orleans flooded. Consequently, government leaders, citizens, professionals and academic advisors have worked to achieve enhanced urban resiliency through recovery projects. New Orleans has embarked on its post-disaster journey by rethinking and reimagining the city and its neighborhoods for the betterment of all its citizens in an era of strengthening hurricanes, rising sea levels and climate change.
Dr. Renne co-hosting local radio show on Transportation
On May 5, 2012, UNO’s Dr. Renne joined the airwaves as co-host with Kevin Fitzwilliam, host of All Things Local NOLA for the first of what will be a monthly hour-long radio show highlighting transportation topics of interest to the local and surrounding community. The show, which is held from 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. on the first Saturday of the month, is being sponsored by the Merritt C. Becker, Jr., UNO Transportation Institute in partnership with All Things Local NOLA. The show is carried on WGSO 990 AM radio.
Dr. Renne kicked off the May 5th show featuring a conversation with New Orleans City Councilmember Kristin Gisleon Palmer about sustainable transportation in New Orleans and the debate about tolls on the Crescent City Connection, which support Mississippi River ferries. The bridge toll debate is a hot topic locally and drew many phone calls from interested listeners. The show also included a discussion with Bike Easy Executive Director, Jamie Wine, about the role of biking in New Orleans and the Bicycle Second Line event that was held on May 20th. You can listen to the podcast at http://transportation.uno.edu/news/listen-to-podcast-of-may-show-of-all-things-local-on-transportation-in-new-orleans.
The show held on June 2nd was a heads up lesson on Hurricane Evacuation Preparedness in conjunction with the beginning of the Hurricane Season, which officially begins on June 1st. Host Kevin Fitzwilliam and Dr. Renne discussed evacuation preparedness with national evacuation expert Dr. Brian Wolshon (LSU), head researcher on contraflow, and Robert Fogarty, the founder and Board President of Evacuteer.org.
Drs. Wolshon and Renne featured at Seminar on Evacuation Planning
“The evacuation of the New Orleans metropolitan region for Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav in 2005 and 2008, were some of the largest in U.S. history. Both evacuations benefitted from contra-flow for those evacuating by automobile and the Gustav evacuation included a publicly assisted evacuation of vulnerable populations using buses, trains, planes, vans, and ambulances.”
On May 16, 2012, the American Society of Civil Engineers Transportation & Development Institute, Louisiana Chapter sponsored a public seminar, Evacuation Planning: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, which featured Drs. Wolshon (LSU) and Renne (UNO) – two of America’s leading experts on evacuation planning, and founding organizers of the National Evacuation Conference.
Dr. Wolshon, who serves as Chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Emergency Evacuation Subcommittee, presented an overview and history of the general concepts and practices used for evacuation in the United States. His talk encompassed the history and development of the Louisiana evacuation plan, particularly how research conducted at LSU was able to support and improve the development of the New Orleans freeway contraflow plan. Dr. Wolshon also highlighted a recent U.S. DOT supported project to apply state-of-the-art traffic simulation modeling for future evacuation plan assessment and improvement. As part of this work, a regional multimodal model for the southeast
Louisiana highway network was developed to replicate the temporal and spatial travel movements of metropolitan New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Renne, a leading expert on the evacuation of carless and vulnerable populations, discussed the planning process and outcomes of the New Orleans City Assisted Evacuation, which was successfully deployed during Hurricane Gustav. It was noted that this was one of the first publicly-assisted evacuations in U.S. history that focused on carless and vulnerable populations, including tourists. His talk also made recommendations for the roles of various jurisdictions, including federal, state, metropolitan planning organizations, parish government and transit agencies.
The event was held at the University of New Orleans and co-sponsored by the Merritt C. Becker, Jr., University of New Orleans Transportation Institute (UNOTI).
Best Development Practices: Bridging the Gap between Land Use and Transportation Symposium
The Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency (CETR) partnered with the UNO Transportation Institute (UNOTI), the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and the Louisiana Chapter of the American Planners Association to host the Best Development Practices: Bridging the Gap between Land Use and Transportation Symposium. This event was part of the RPC’s 2012 Smart Growth Speaker Series.
UNO’s Dr. John Renne acted as moderator for the event which featured Dr. Reid Ewing, Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah and Mr. Stephen Villavaso, Principal at Villavaso & Associates of New Orleans. Dr. Ewing opened the program with an overview of best development practices, the topic of his best-selling book, Best Development Practices: Doing the Right Thing and Making Money at the Same Time. Mr. Villavaso concluded the evening with a discussion of new plans in the Louisiana region that are working to promote best development practices.
Dr. Wolshon Presents at the National Hurricane Conference
Dr. Brian Wolshon presented at the 2012 National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida in March 2012. Dr. Wolshon was one of several speakers that led the session titled “The New Realities of Hurricane Evacuations”. Better data about inundation potential, larger numbers of people, and changing population attributes are causing emergency management professionals to re-think their approaches to evacuation, with respect to timing, sheltering, communicating, and deciding who needs to leave.
In particular, Dr. Wolshon discussed “Special Evacuation Challenges in the Florida Keys,” a project that he has been working on for the past five years. He emphasized several issues that make the Florida Keys unique and the challenges presented with respect to evacuation. In addition, he described the transportation analysis process and the emerging knowledge that can be applied to other locations.
Student Outreach at St. Joseph’s Academy
Katie Spansel presented at the St. Joseph’s Academy (SJA) Career Day on March 14, 2012. SJA is an all-girls Catholic high school in Baton Rouge, LA, with high standards of excellence in its academic programs. The mission of SJA is to educate young women as responsible and unifying members of the world community.
During the event, Spansel explained the typical duties of a civil engineer and the requirements to achieve an engineering degree at LSU. She described the University Transportation Center and the interesting on-going research projects dealing with transportation, safety, and evacuation. The girls expressed interest through their thought provoking questions and inquiries.
“I am hopeful that these eleventh grade students have a new found interest in engineering as a potential career endeavor. With SJA having a strong math and science emphasis in the curriculum, I know the girls will be well prepared for any engineering field,” Spansel said.
LSU Student Awarded Clayton Ph.D. Assistantship Supplement Award
LSU graduate student, Scott Parr, was selected to receive the 2012 Clayton Ph.D. Assistantship Supplement Award. This award was established through an endowment by 1959 LSU graduates, Donald W. and Gloria Pichon Clayton, to support the College of Engineering in its quest for excellence. Parr will be honored at the LSU College of Engineering Hall of Distinction Banquet on April 26th, 2012. The LSU College of Engineering is very proud of Parr for his academic accomplishments and representation of the student body.
Dr. Wolshon presents at American Council of Engineering Companies Meeting
Dr. Brian Wolshon presented at the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) local chapter meeting in Baton Rouge, LA. His presentation was titled “Evacuation Practice and Research: Preparing for Natural and Man-made Major Events”. The purpose of the discussion was to illustrate how the evacuation planning in Louisiana has evolved over time. Problems were identified from the evacuation of Hurricane Ivan and solutions were proposed to enhance the evacuation plan. After extensive studies and modeling with TRANSIMS, a contraflow plan was established for Metropolitan New Orleans. In conclusion, it is evident that TRANSIMS can be an effective tool for evacuation modeling and planning.
LSU and UNO Receive Federal Transportation Grant
Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans are both members of a consortium of universities selected to receive a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. LSU and UNO are members of the Southwest Region University Transportation Center, which is led by Texas A&M University and also includes Texas Southern and the University of Texas at Austin. The consortium is one of 22 University Transportation Centers that will receive federal support to address critical transportation challenges facing the nation.Read more...
2011 CETR Student of the year
Scott Parr, a PhD student at Louisiana State University, received the 2011 Student of the Year award. Scott was honored for his research involving the impacts of police traffic control during emergencies and planned special events. He was recognized for his accomplishments at the TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The LSU CETR awarded two scholarships to students pursuing doctoral degrees in transportation related fields. The students, Samuel Cooper and Meisam Akbarzedeh, are studying sustainable pavement materials under Dr. Louay Mohammad and travel demand modeling mass evacuation scenarios under Dr. Chester Wilmot, respectively. The scholarships were used to support their travel to the 91st Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.
LSU Student Awarded Fellowship
Jaworski Sartin, an LSU doctoral student specializing in the area of transportation systems engineering, was awarded a Fellowship through the “Bridge to the Doctorate” (BD) project at Louisiana State University. This LSU/BD award is made possible through the Louis Stokes – Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-LAMP) funded by the National Science Foundation. The purpose of the LS-LAMP BD is to support and encourage students from underrepresented groups in pursuit of a PhD in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics fields.
Student Wins Prestigious Graduate Fellowship
University of New Orleans master’s of urban and regional planning student Max Williamson is the recipient of a 2011 Dwight David Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship, through the Federal Highway Administration, is for the pursuit of a master’s degree in transportation-related fields. Read more...
Video Released Featuring the Center
The team at Evacuteer.org has produced a video highlighting the accomplishments made at the Center since Hurricane Katrina landed in New Orleans in 2005. Evacuteer.org is a non-profit organization which aids New Orleans with the City Assisted Evacuation Plan by recruiting, training, and managing evacuation volunteers. A report was also produced by Evacuteer.org Executive Director Robert Fogarty. A link to the report can be found here.
Originally Posted: March 21, 2011
Research Presented at Seminar
Dr. Joshua Kent presented his current research activities to the LSU School of the Coast & Environment at a seminar on February 18, 2011. Dr. Kent's research is currently funded by the center to investigate the impact of subsidence on major evacuation routes in Louisiana. A model will be produced which will be able to forecast subsidence for coastal Louisiana through 2100. The abstract for Dr. Kent's research project can be found here. A link to the handout of all speakers present at the seminar can be found here.
Originally Posted: March 21, 2011
Center Sponsored Research Making Headlines
Research currently sponsored by the Center is making headlines around the country. Lead Researcher Marwa Hassan is investigating the use of nano compounds on pavements in order to capture some of the C02 emissions form vehicles. Links to the various articles can be found below.
Originally Posted: February 14, 2011
Distinguished Speaker for Clinton Global Initiative
Dr. John L. Renne, Early Research Professor of Planning and Urban Studies in the Department of Planning and Urban Studies and Associate Director of the Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency has been invited by President Bill Clinton to speak at the third Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University on April 17th, at the University of Miami in Florida. Dr. Renne will participate as a panelist in the session titled, ‘Sustainable Transportation: One Step to Building Sustainable Communities.’ Dr. Renne is the only transportation scholar speaking at the conference.
Originally Posted: February 14, 2011
Center Recognized by AARP
AARP Louisiana Recognizes UNO Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency for showing significant contributions in leadership and service for residents of New Orleans.
Originally Posted: February 14, 2011