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Resilient Transportation: An Integrated Corridor Management Approach

Active Transportation Measurement and Benchmarking Development

Evaluating Privatization as a Strategy to Provide Regional Transit Service

Potential Impacts of Proposed Passenger Rail Projects on Post Katrina Recovery Efforts in the Greater New Orleans Region

Louisiana Intermodal Transportation Infrastructure Study

Incorporating the Ports and Waterways System Capabilities into the Local Emergency Response System

Active Transportation Measurement and Benchmarking Development Extension

Assessing the Long-term Impact of Subsidence

Environmental Effectiveness of Photo-Catalytic Asphalt Pavement

An Integrated Approach to Modeling Evacuation Behavior

Five Years Later, Emergency Preparedness Improvements in New Orleans

Resilient Transportation Systems in a Post-Disaster Environment

Project Listing

New | Ongoing | Completed

New Projects

13-12: The Tensions and Opportunities of Historic Preservation and Transit Oriented Development: Developing a Policy and Tools for Preservation in TODs Guidebook

PI: Dr. John Renne, Planning and Urban Studies Department, UNO

Abstract: In recent years, there has been much research on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the United States and abroad. There has been decades of study of historic preservation, both in the United States and internationally. Yet the intersection of TOD and historic preservation has received scant attention. This project will attempt to cross-reference data on TOD and historic preservation, examine case studies of where TOD and historic preservation intersect and develop a guidebook for policy and tools for preservation in TODs.

13-11: Beyond Traditional Grant and Debt Financing for Transit Expansion Projects: Evaluating Innovative Financing Options for Streetcar Expansion in New Orleans

PI: Rachel Heiligman, Ride New Orleans

Abstract: Like many transit agencies across the country, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) is unable to meet demands for increased service and transit expansion projects. Midway through a three-phased streetcar expansion project, Phase 3 of the project remains unfunded despite the issuance of a revenue bond and multiple attempts to secure grant funding through the overextended U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant program. The purpose of this study is to: 1. Identify and evaluate the potential of innovative transit financing mechanisms to advance Phase 3 of the NORTA streetcar expansion program utilizing the following criteria: a) potential revenue generation, b) predictability and sustainability, c) equity, d) public acceptance, and e) ease of implementation; 2. Detail advantages and disadvantages of each innovative transit financing mechanism explored.

13-10: Evaluation of Complete Streets Policy Implementation by Metropolitan Planning Organizations

PI: Tara Tolford, Planning and Urban Studies Department, UNO

Abstract: Over the last ten years, complete streets policy diffusion has been rapid, but uneven, and the extent to which policy adoption is making a difference in the implementation of projects at the local and regional level is unclear, as this innovative approach still competing with the decades old auto-oriented design practices. Tracking the transition and understanding the opportunities and barriers to policy diffusion can help communities craft more appropriate strategies to meet the changing demands and expectations of the public. Through a national survey of the 385 metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) around the country, this research seeks to evaluate the extent to which complete streets policies are being adopted and implemented at MPO level, what opportunities and barriers to complete streets adoption and implementation at MPO level, the impact of MAP-21 on complete streets adoption and implementation, and implications for future policy diffusion and innovation efforts.

13-09: Transportation and Access to Opportunity: Metropolitan Size, User Experience, and Employment Quality

PI: Dr. Kate Lowe, Planning and Urban Studies Department, UNO

Abstract: This project will deepen current understanding of accessibility to quality jobs for low-income residents in Louisiana and adapt access indicators for medium-sized metropolitan areas more generally. The project will 1) compare quantitative measures and qualitative accounts of low-income users' experiences accessing jobs and opportunity; and 2) identify sustainable wages by parish, consider skills matches, and document transportation and other barriers to quality jobs. Findings will be useful for transportation, workforce development, and housing policy makers locally and for the field of transportation accessibility research more generally.

13-08: Assessing the Potential for Gulf Coast NAFTA Maritime Trade Corridors

PI: Dr. Bethany Stich, Planning and Urban Studies Department, UNO

Abstract: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted in 1994 with the expressed intent of reducing barriers to trade. However, transborder congestion and delays between the United States and Mexico threaten this goal. Maritime shipping offers a modal alternative for NAFTA trade with the potential for strengthening the resiliency of the North American transportation system as well as alleviating congestion for overland modes. Regional maritime trade, known as short sea shipping or marine highways, could bolster economic connections between Mexico and the Gulf Coast of the United States. This study assesses the potential for Gulf Coast NAFTA maritime shipping corridors. The research plan will document current trade patterns and infrastructure, analyze potential opportunities for trade expansion, and analyze the policy barriers that need to be addressed to strengthen these trade corridors. The study will produce findings and recommendations applicable to state, national, and international policymakers.

13-07: Manual Traffic Control for Planned Special Events and Emergencies

PI: Dr. Brian Wolshon, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: To understand and find ways to improve traffic control techniques during emergencies, this research aims to analyze and evaluate the use of manual traffic control. To put it plainly, at present no one can quantify the effect manual traffic control has on intersection operations. Despite being widely used both in the United States and abroad, the impact of manual traffic control has never been quantified from a scientific or engineering standpoint. The goal of this research is to conduct a quantitative analysis on the impact of manual traffic control on isolated intersections using empirical data. This research seeks to determine when it may be more beneficial to use police in lieu of signalized control, when it should be used, where it can best be implemented, and how it could be simulated for the purpose of evaluating its effect on the overall movement of traffic during emergencies, events, or routine traffic conditions.

13-06: Analysis of Evacuation Clearance Time Under Megaregion Disaster Threats

PI: Dr. Brian Wolshon, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: Over the past decade, there has been a growing consensus among long range climatological forecasters that the earth is experiencing significant changes in its climate. These climatological changes have also been suggested to be linked to a rise in ocean sea levels as well as the likelihood for an increase in the strength and frequency of catastrophic tropical weather systems like hurricanes. When this is coupled with enormous population growth along the coastal regions throughout the world, which are now developing into megaregions, a significant potential exists for the occurrence of catastrophic disasters of heretofore inexperienced proportions that can threaten millions of people. Megaregion evacuations are very important to emergency managers. The use of clearance time intervals can be applied for evacuation planning purposes. Therefore, this research aims to investigate evacuation clearance times for different evacuation demands at megaregion evacuation levels.

13-05: Assessment of Vehicle Performance in Harsh Environments using Driving Simulator and Numerical Simulations

PI: Drs. Steve Cai and Sherif Ishak, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: The present study aims to investigate the safety of vehicles during normal operations as well as emergencies through experimentally and numerically replicating the natural environments. An attempt will be made to simulate the complicated weather, road surface, and driver operational process, such as rain, camber, grade, and acceleration/ deceleration as well as steering processes. With the proposed accident assessment framework, the accident-related response is studied and accident risks are assessed for vehicles. The present study may provide a useful basis for traffic designs on highways with complicated topographic and weather conditions and optimization of evacuation routes and strategy that may lead to minimized single-vehicle accident risks.

13-04: Use of Infrared Thermography to Control the Quality of Joints Construction and to Detect Reflective Cracking in Asphalt Pavements

PI: Dr. Mostafa Elseifi, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: Test methods for controlling the construction quality of flexible pavement layers and assuring the quality of new pavements have changed little over the past four decades. State department of transportation (DOT) agencies typically base their quality assessments of asphalt paving construction on localized nuclear density measurements and/or the results of testing conducted on pavement cores. For asphalt paving construction, the performance of asphalt pavements has been linked to the density achieved in the field [1-3]. Field density is intended to provide an indication of the percentage of void content in the mix. High air void may lead to premature failure due to stripping, oxidation, raveling, and ultimately cracking. Low air void may lead to rutting and shoving. One limitation of density measurements is that the density is determined after construction is completed. In addition, measurements are localized and do not provide a complete assessment of the mat installation. Therefore, immediate corrective actions may not be taken to improve the quality of the installation. IT, also known as thermal imaging, has the potential for quality control purposes because it can be used during paving operations. This approach measures the heat radiated by the installed mat to provide a color-coded image that identifies cooler areas in blue and warmer regions in red. In recent years, the Washington State Department of Transportation successfully used infrared cameras to detect segregation due to temperature differentials in asphaltic concrete pavements [4-5]. Pavement temperature differentials are a result of cooler concentrated masses of HMA in the mat. The cooler areas end to resist compaction, creating cyclic areas of low density pavement (Figure 2). These areas will prematurely fail by raveling and/or fatigue cracking. The proposed research will investigate an innovative application of IT to assess the quality of longitudinal joints density between adjacent lanes during asphalt paving construction. This NDE technique will also be used to assess the quality of construction of HMA overlay on top of a rigid pavement as an indicator of reflective cracking potential.

13-01: Classifying Accident Avoidance Maneuvers on Heterogeneous Road Networks using Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis

PI: Dr. Josh Kent, Center for GeoInformatics, LSU

Abstract: Are abnormal maneuvers and other conflicts within the traffic stream directly associated with road classifications, speed limits, congestion, roadway configuration, signaling, weather, and other traffic related factors? Contemporary transportation research is focused on developing a broader understanding of these relationships within the broader context of transportation infrastructure design and driver behavior with traffic congestion and vehicle accidents. With many years of collected data detailing the number of vehicle-miles traveled and the frequency of traffic accidents, a multi-disciplinary research agenda has emerged in which innovative techniques for identifying the complex interactions between road geometry, driver characteristics, and environmental conditions are providing unique insights into the dynamics of human cognitive behavior relative to various exogenous and endogenous user-network factors. As with most investigations, the ability to fully develop a meaningful research strategy is dependent upon techniques that can effectively parameterize the interactions between (a) the driver and the road network, and (b) how these relationships dynamically evolve over time and space. This study proposes to address these issues by utilizing exploratory spatial data analysis to better define a framework for understanding the relationships expressed between individual driving behavior (e.g., sudden vehicle maneuvers, driver demographics, accident frequency) and road infrastructure characteristics (e.g., network topography, geometry, and environmental conditions).

Ongoing Projects

12-15: Gulf Coast Megaregion Evacuation Traffic Simulation Modeling and Analysis

PI: Dr. Brian Wolshon, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, LSU

Abstract: Over the past decade, there has been a growing consensus among long range climatological forecasters that the earth is experiencing significant changes in its climate. These climatological changes have also been suggested to be linked to a rise in ocean sea levels as well as the likelihood for an increase in the strength and frequency of catastrophic tropical weather systems like hurricanes. When this is coupled with enormous population growth along the coastal regions throughout the world, which are now developing into mega regions, a Gulf Coast MegaRegion Evacuation Traffic Simulation Modeling and Analysis 1 significant potential exists for the occurrence of catastrophic disasters of heretofore inexperienced proportions that can threaten millions of people. Work is now underway to begin investigating megaregion evacuation. The Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS), an agent-based travel simulation system designed to meet State Departments' of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations' (MPOs) needs for more accurate and more sensitive travel forecasts for transportation planning and emissions analysis, will be used for model construction. In the project the goal will be to create megaregion evacuation traffic scenarios to examine the creation of and recovery from traffic congestion.

12-14: Accessing the Mega-Region: Evaluating the Role of Livable Community Patterns in Gulf Coast Mega-Region Planning

PI: Dr. Billy Fields, Political Science Department, Texas State University

Abstract: This research analyzes both the need and mechanisms for integrating livability components such as transit and active transportation into a broader mega-regions transportation framework. The research builds a conceptual framework for understanding how transportation livability concepts fit within the larger mega-regions literature. This framework based around the study of walkable urban rail connections and regional green infrastructure greenbelt systems is then used to analyze key strategies that could be integrated into the larger Gulf Coast /Texas mega-region transportation planning framework through analysis of three case studies in Austin, Houston, and New Orleans. Major existing and emerging opportunities to tie infrastructure into a mega-region transportation system will be identified in these three case study cities.

12-13: The Confluence of Transportation and Economic Activity in a Mega Region Disaster

PI: Dr. Bethany Stich, Planning and Urban Studies Department, UNO

Abstract: This research project examines the resilience of businesses and labor markets in response to transportation disruptive events in a mega region. The disruptive events analyzed are natural disasters of all types and lengthy electric power outages. The study uses data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) and several data sources for information on disruptive events to estimate the impacts of those events on employment, taxes, revenues and payrolls over varying timespans. Several regional economic factors that affect community resilience are included in the analysis, including industry diversity, the distribution of establishment size, and employment concentration. Fifty years of historical data on natural disasters and electric power outages provide the detailed history to examine the importance of previous community exposure to disruptive events and how that experience affects resilience. This research proposes a novel perspective for investigating infrastructure protection and disaster management while building on existing research findings. While federal, state, and local emergency management agencies have focused on short and mid-term preparedness and recovery plans, the role of the critical transportation infrastructures should be better explored. According to the literature and recent feedback from the Alabama Development Authority, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and Greater New Orleans Inc., the relationship of disruptions in transportation modes to the wide-ranging effects in economy and security have not yet been clearly investigated and articulated.

12-12: States' Tools for Connecting Transportation and Affordable Housing

PI: Dr. Kate Lowe, Planning and Urban Studies Department, UNO

Abstract: Transportation and housing access together shape the ability of citizens to live healthy and productive lives. Federal, state, and local governments spend billions on transportation infrastructure and affordable housing subsidies, but not always in conjunction. Yet, the combined costs of housing and transportation affect whether housing is truly affordable and often depend on proximity to transit. The relationship of housing and transportation is gaining more attraction at the federal level, exemplified in the formation of the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities. States are pivotal in shaping transportation and housing systems. They not only spend state-generated revenue but also frequently determine how federal dollars are spent. The largest federal subsidy for affordable, rental housing is the low-income housing tax credit program (LIHTC), but states determine the criteria for allocating these credits. Each state must develop a qualified allocation plan (QAP) that outlines their LIHTC strategies and criteria. This project will examine to what extent states are considering transportation in LIHTC allocation and examples of state tools to coordinate across housing and transportation.

12-11: Cooperation and Competition: Regional Transportation Planning and Competitive Federal Awards

PI: Dr. Kate Lowe, Planning and Urban Studies Department, UNO

Abstract: Federal transportation funds play a critical role in shaping metropolitan transportation systems. For metropolitan regions to receive federal money, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) must lead continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative transportation planning. This research examines how the competitive and time-sensitive nature of the TIGER funding program—especially the first year—interacted with regional planning processes. It will identify whether applicant projects were advanced by agencies primarily outside the coordinated regional planning process and under what conditions. Findings will help practitioners and policy makers understand how the design of funding programs and regional institutional context can present challenges for multi-agency decision-making.

12-10: Use of Containers to Carry Bulk and Breakbulk Commodities and its Impact on Gulf Region Ports and International Trade

PI: James Amdal, Planning and Urban Studies Department, UNO

Abstract: Since its introduction in the 1950s, the use of the container now represents roughly 90% of world trade. Its acceptance as the common denominator in international shipping is having profound impacts throughout the shipping industry: significantly larger vessels with 50' minimum draft are routinely entering service (+12,500 TEU); terminals are being redesigned and reequipped to serve mega ships with up to 22 container rows across; more and more commodities are now being shipped by container; the sheer number of empties is presenting a new logistic challenge. Into this dynamic situation, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, ports are confronting a changed world given the Expansion of the Panama Canal and the all water Asian service it provides. This project will affect ports not only the Gulf but on both coasts of the US, Canada, Central America, as well as Latin America. The significance of the Panama Canal Expansion cannot be overestimated however its individual and collective impact has yet to be determined. The proposed research project has several major concentrations: 1) determine the implications of all water Asian services to Gulf Coast ports: 2) determine how new bulk and breakbulk commodities can use containers as their primary transport mode: 3) determine what physical improvements, intermodal linkages and/or market incentives will be required to maximize the use of Louisiana ports for container exports. Successfully answering these three unknowns will have untold benefits for the United States as an export nation, the 26 states that use the Mississippi River and its tributaries for transportation arteries for their export commodities, and for the countless Gulf Coast ports that have potentially the most to gain from the new all water Asian services and the resultant growth in international trade.

12-09: Calibration of the Louisiana Highway Safety Manual

PI: Dr. Brian Wolshon, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, LSU

Abstract: The State of Louisiana consistently ranks near the bottom in national statistics regarding highway safety, particularly traffic crash related fatalities. Over the past several decades, new highway safety related innovations have been developed on a national-level. One of the most promising recent developments has been the publication of the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The HSM includes analytical tools and techniques for quantifying the safety effects of planning and design alternatives and configurations and operations and maintenance decisions. However, since the HSM has been developed based on national trends and statistics, it must be calibrated for local use. These calibrations allow it to better represent local conditions. This calibration can be accomplished in a number of ways, including through the development and application of safety performance functions (SPFs) that use locally prevailing crash data and other data that will reflect and account for area-specific variations in traffic patterns, climate, topology, etc. One of the primary goals of this project will be to calibrate the HSM for use in Louisiana.

12-08: Effect of Changing Driving Conditions on Driver Behavior towards Design of a Safe and Efficient Traffic System

PI: Dr. Fereydoun Aghazadeh and Dr. Laura Ikuma, Construction Management and Industrial Engineering Department, LSU

Abstract: Driving is a complex task characterized by multiple factors that require the driver to process information continuously. Driving through construction work zones is particularly complex yet a common occurrence for most drivers. Drivers encounter various road conditions such as merging traffics, construction zones, etc. on a daily basis. Work zone and traffic controls are mandated by the United States Department of Transportation standards and designed to provide safe and efficient travel for drivers. This study will investigate the interactions between driver characteristics and behavior with traffic conditions. By measuring the behavior of a driver, the driver's response to varying road and traffic conditions will be determined. Once the driver behavior is known and documented, the data can be used to modify road and traffic conditions in order to create conditions under which the driver will have the optimum driving behavior.

12-07: Distracted Driving and Associated Crash Risks

PI: Dr. Sherif Ishak, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: Factors affecting the cognitive tasks associated with driving are increasingly becoming critical to the overall roadway safety performance. Drivers continue to engage in distracting non-driving related activities while driving despite significant road safety concerns. Driving simulators have proven repeatedly their potential use in a variety of applications that can substantially improve traffic operation and safety. The acquisition of a driving simulator at LSU provides ample research opportunities for conducting research in the area of human factors and particularly in driver distraction. The driving simulator on the LSU campus will be used to measure the risks associated with various distractions faced by the driving population. Participants will be placed in simulated environments while being exposed to differing driver distractions to determine the effect on the driving task. This will assist highway safety professionals in developing behavioral strategies to mitigate crashes due to distracted driving.

Completed Projects:

13-03: A Dynamic Feedback-Control Toll Pricing Methodology for Managed Lanes

PI: Dr. Sherif Ishak, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: With the fast increase in passenger and freight travel demand, traffic congestion has become a persistent problem to the surface transportation network in the United States. Congestion undermines people's quality of life through wasted time, energy, money, as well as associated environmental concerns and safety issues. Traditional solutions to mitigate traffic congestion through capacity expansion projects are not always feasible due to the exceedingly high cost or limited available land. Over the years, various operational policies have been adopted or proposed to relieve the traffic congestion at lower cost, for instance, reducing demand by imposing bans on commercial vehicles for particular hours, discouraging peak-hour traveling, re-timing of traffic lights, metering access to highway and so on. The primary goal of this study is to develop a feedback-control based dynamic toll pricing strategy to formulate and solve optimal tolls with a focus on three distinct objectives of the road authority. The first objective of congestion pricing is to maximize toll revenues while maintaining a minimum desired level of service on managed lanes. The second one is to maximize total travel utility while keeping a minimum desired level of service on managed lanes. The third objective is to maximize total social surplus, which is the combination of revenue and travel utility maximization while meeting the constraint of desired level of service. According to Washington State Route SR-167 HOT Lane project, the minimum level of service requires the average speed on the managed lanes to be larger than 45 miles per hour at peak period. In addition the study will examine the interaction between toll exempt vehicles such as high occupancy vehicles with 3 or more passengers and buses.

13-02: Characterization of Mechanical Properties of Composite Materials for Infrastructure Projects

PI: Dr. Ayman Okeil, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: Composite materials offer engineers many advantages that are especially appealing for infrastructure projects. Light weight, durability in harsh environments, and high tensile strengths are just a few examples of why the use of composite materials in infrastructure projects has increased in recent years. Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) is the most commonly used form of composites, in which fibers are embedded in a resin material to form the final product. FRP is used in new projects in the form of all composite components (e.g. bridge decks) or as internal reinforcement (e.g. reinforcing bars) in concrete projects. They are also extensively used for strengthening ailing existing structures in the form of externally bonded sheets, laminates, or strips. Despite their success in infrastructure applications, composite materials are still considered relatively new compared to traditional materials such as concrete and steel. As a result, the state-of-the-art is still in the stage of code development. Several methods for characterization of composite materials properties have been published from research efforts all over the world. In this project, it is proposed that methods for estimating the mechanical properties of composite materials; one of the most important aspects in design, be investigated. The goal is to provide designers with values based on high levels of confidence that will positively reflect on the development of any design provisions.

12-06: Transit-Oriented Development: A Cross-Sectional and Trends Analysis Utilizing the National TOD Database

PI: Dr. John Renne, Department of Planning and Urban Studies, UNO

Abstract: The Center for Transit Oriented Development (CTOD), funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), released a national transit-oriented development database for free public access in 2012. This research builds upon previous work conducted by Dr. Renne and others into examining national cross-sectional performance and trends in TODs. This data is important as cities and regions seek to consider TOD as a viable land use pattern around existing and future rail stations. The project will seek to determine which factors are statistically significant impacting transit commuting, walking, and bicycling, using regression analysis techniques as well as by comparing trends in rail station precincts to trends across metropolitan regions. Utilizing data on residential density, employment density, mix of employment and walkability, Dr. Renne will attempt to create an index to determine rail station typologies across twelve possible station types.

12-05: Worker Accessibility in Post-Katrina New Orleans

PI: Dr. Kate Lowe, Department of Planning and Urban Studies, UNO

Abstract: Providing access to employment opportunities is one of transportation's most critical functions, but too often car¬less workers struggle to reach job opportunities. This study examines the resiliency of the transportation system for carless, low-income workers and their resilience through travel adaptations. For the field of transportation, find¬ings will document mobility changes in an extreme case of transit service reduction, as well as the more general accessibility challenges posed by regionally fragmented transit and employment decentralization. For the region, findings will aid policy and programmatic efforts to en¬hance job accessibility. Literature review on low-income worker accessibility was completed during the winter and analysis of ACS commute trends this spring. Trends in New Orleans were compared to several other medium-sized metropolitan areas, and the summary of the analysis is currently being finalized. Interviews have been completed with officials from the state, local and regional agencies.

12-04: Evaluating the Feasibility for Bicycle Sharing in New Orleans

PI: Jamie Wine, Bike Easy (New Orleans Metro Bicycle Coalition)

Abstract: Bicycle sharing is a short-term bicycle rental, available at automated stations around town where a rider can use a credit card to pick up a bike in one location and drop it off at the same rack, or any number of bicycle share stations around town.  Many local organizations, companies, bureaucrats and elected officials are highly interested in creating bike share in New Orleans.  In other cities it has helped tourists, workers and families travel safely and efficiently while reducing automobile congestion, improving health, and experiencing a city in a visceral way.  This study will examine the state of bicycle sharing in America to determine best practices that could be applied to New Orleans.  The study will be matched by funds from the City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

12-03: Setup of Driving Simulator for Behavioral Research

PI: Dr. Sherif Ishak, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: This project is for material and equipment only to setup a driving simulator for behavioral research. This is a preliminary project and at the end of the project a scope of research will be identified, as well as, the benefits that are envisioned for the state of Louisiana.

12-02: Minimizing Driver Errors: Examining Factors Leading to Failed Target Tracking and Detection

PI: Dr. Melissa Beck, Department of Psychology, LSU

Abstract: Tracking moving targets while driving can result in a failure to direct attention towards other critical information in the environment (e.g. traffic signals or other vehicles and pedestrians), as well as a failure to maintain tracking on the target itself. These errors can be the result of stimulus factors (e.g. speed, saliency) or driver factors (e.g. driver's expectation about the path of motion). Tracking while driving requires a limited cognitive resource attention and, therefore, potentially limits the attentional resources available for detecting other information in the driving environment, this can result in roadway accidents. This proposal aims to understand which stimulus and driver factors are most important to improve target tracking and detection with the goal of reducing accidents. A series of driving experiments will be built in the LSU driving simulator's virtual environment to observe how drivers perform while tracking targets in a realistic environment. The results of the experiments will provide valuable safety related findings on driving behavior while tracking moving objects. The findings may also have a significant impact on driving safety by improving current practices in roadway design and driver training.

12-01: Improving the Self-Healing Properties of Concrete Materials by using Composite Action with Fiber Reinforced Polymers and Shape-Memory Alloys

PI: Dr. Michele Barbato and Dr. Marwa Hassan, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: The goal of this research is to significantly advance the self-repairing capability of RC bridge components and systems. This two-year project is based on the innovative idea of combining composite action and self-healing materials to improve the autonomous healing of RC bridges. This capability is currently limited to the closure of small surface cracks produced in a controlled environment. This self-healing property mimics the self-healing of human skin after small cuts. It is envisioned that composite action can help close larger cracks through a combination of confinement with fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs) and shape memory alloys (SMAs). This project represents a completely innovative and untested idea, since until now composite action has never been used to enhance the performance of self-healing materials. The basic hypothesis will be tested using experimental results on cylindrical concrete specimens and small scale RC beams. 

11-11: Walking in the City

PI: Renia Ehrenfeucht and Justice McPherson, Department of Planning and Urban Studies, UNO

Abstract: Motivated by traffic congestion, excessive energy use and poor health outcomes, planning and public health researchers have developed an extensive body of research that examines walking and other active transport as well as walking for recreation. In different discussions, walking has become a newly interesting subject and method to understand urban (and non urban) life, and a growing number of researchers have sought to understand mobility, the social experience and functions of walking and its cultural meanings. These areas of research rarely overlap. The latter has the potential for enriching the research about active travel and physical activity and, through doing so, suggest more effective pathways to healthier and less energy intensive life patterns. This project first examines these divergent literatures. It then uses New Orleans to discuss both the pedestrian improvements and the vibrant public life that New Orleans sustained without the new pedestrian infrastructure. It concludes with a discussion about pedestrian oriented research agenda.

11-10: Environmental Effectiveness of Photo-Catalytic Asphalt Pavement Surfaces Incorporating Ultrafine/Nano Titanium Dioxide

PI: Dr. Marwa Hassan, LSU

Abstract: In spite of the importance of the national transportation network, there is a growing recognition that highway operations have major environmental impacts during construction and service. High traffic volumes cause high concentration of nitrogen oxides and VOCs in the air, which have been linked with serious health hazards to the public. These pollutants may also travel long distances to produce secondary pollutants such as acid rain or ozone. Photo-catalysis compounds such as titanium dioxide (TiO2) can trap and degrade organic and inorganic particles in the air removing harmful air pollutants such as NOx and VOC in the presence of UV light. Current research and applications of this technology are limited to concrete pavement surfaces, which only represent 6% of the national road network. About 94% of the road network in the US is surfaced with hot-mix asphalt, which supports directing future research towards the use of titanium dioxide coating in flexible pavements. To address the aforementioned problem, this research project will investigate the possibility of integrating titanium dioxide on the surface of asphalt pavements to develop a photo-catalytic asphalt pavement capable of oxidizing traffic pollutants. The photo-catalytic properties of TiO2 asphalt pavement as well as its environmental properties will be characterized using a novel environmental laboratory setup. The proposed research is cutting edge and has not been attempted in the US. A recent study attempted to apply the photo-catalytic compound as part of a water-based emulsion in Italy. The mixing of TiO2 with an asphalt binder at a 6% content of the binder weight was also attempted in China and was used in the construction of an open-graded friction course

11-09: Assessing the Long-term impact of Subsidence and Global Climate Change on Emergency Evacuation Routes in Coastal Louisiana

PI: Dr. Joshua D. Kent and Dr. Roy K. Dokka, LSU

Abstract: The proposed study will develop a subsidence forecast model for coastal Louisiana that will estimate the change in evacuation road elevations for 2015, 2025, 2050, and 2100. Vertical displacement estimates will be derived from on-going empirical studies and values published in contemporary scientific literature. Model elevation changes will be applied to a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) of coastal Louisiana. Road segments that become inundated according to storm surge models (as used by the National Weather Service) will be identified as vulnerable to climate change and tagged for further assessment. The threshold for climate change susceptibility will be further evaluated for sea level rise estimates anticipated through the century. Information gained from this project will provide transportation engineers and emergency managers with data previously unavailable, which can be used in evacuation modeling, hazard mitigation strategies, sustainability research, costal restoration efforts, and more.

11-08: Active Transportation Measurement and Benchmarking Development Extension: Minneapolis Case Study

PI: Dr. Billy Fields, UNO

Abstract: This project is an extension of the current Gulf Coast Center project, the Active Transportation Measurement and Benchmarking Study: New Orleans Case Study. The New Orleans Case Study examines the impact of improved bicycling and walking facilities installed following Hurricane Katrina. The Minneapolis Case Extension takes advantage of another unique research opportunity to examine a large scale environmental intervention in Minneapolis where $20 million in active transportation improvements are being implemented as part of the federal Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program. Bicycle count data from over 40 locations around Minneapolis have been collected both before new facilities were installed and after their completion. This longitudinal data set, supplied to researchers by Transit for Livable Communities, provides an important opportunity to utilize a pre/post design to test the impact of environmental change. This unique data set presents an important opportunity to longitudinally evaluate change in built environment on bicycling usage.

11-07: Incorporating the Ports and Waterways System Capabilities into the Local Emergency Response System

PI: James Amdal, Dr. Jay Jayawardana and Stan Swigart, UNO

Abstract: The primary objective of the research is to examine how the ports and extensive inland waterway network can be incorporated into the state emergency management systems currently in place. It will examine the physical facilities available at ports and the necessary agreements required to access these assets in times of emergency. The recent devastations caused by hurricanes in Louisiana and the oil spill currently impacting coastal Louisiana underscore the need for a more effective local emergency management system. A coordinated first response by emergency teams in the area using local resources is the most effective means to minimize loss of human life as well as property and environmental damage.

11-06: Louisiana Intermodal Transportation Infrastructure Study: Feasibility Analysis for Inland Waterway Container Transport Systems within the Lower Mississippi Region and the New Orleans Metropolitan Area

PI: James Amdal and Stan Swigart, UNO

Abstract: The primary objective of this study is to conduct an analysis of successful inland waterway container transport in selected U.S. locations and to assess the feasibility of this transportation mode within the Mississippi River corridor. A "marine highway" initiative is being proposed by the USDOT to encourage a shift of cargo movements from traditional surface transportation modes to maritime systems. This research will be conducted in partnership with the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC). As a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the RPC has the distinct advantage of providing a regional perspective on transportation systems. This project will allow the RPC to expand their traditional perspective to include the regions extensive maritime transportation assets as well as a perspective of resilient freight transportation utilizing inland waterways as an alternate delivery system.

11-05: Active Transportation Measurement and Benchmarking Development: New Orleans Case

PI: Dr. Billy Fields, Department of Planning and Urban Studies, UNO

Abstract: The Active Transportation Measurement and Benchmarking Development: New Orleans Case Study aims to improve the policy making and planning framework by creating a comprehensive set of active transportation indicators on current usage and safety trends in New Orleans. New Orleans is significantly expanding the scope of active transportation facilities, moving from under 5 miles of bicycle facilities before Katrina to over 40 miles planned for completion in 2010. This project will conduct user counts of the number of pedestrians and bicyclists both before and after facilities are enhanced at a diverse set of locations around New Orleans to examine the impact of this expansion. The project will leverage resources through partnerships with the Regional Planning Commission and Tulane University to help expand the scope and impact of the project.

11-04: Evaluating Privatization as a Strategy to Provide Regional Transit Service

PI: Dr. Hiroyuki Iseki, Department of Planning and Urban Studies, UNO

Abstract: This study will examine efficiency and effectiveness of providing regional transit service through privatization as a strategy to achieve financial resiliency for regional transit systems. In particular, we seek to answer the following two sets of questions in this study. The first set of questions evaluates the consequences of the transit service privatization by measuring changes in service improvements, cost efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of service provision in two individual transit service districts. The second set of questions examine whether or not and how efficiently one private firm that contracts with two different jurisdictions can achieve better regional coordination for transit service in multiple aspects, such as planning, management, operation, and adopting new technologies, while avoiding geographic equity issues and other jurisdictional problems. While the overall cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of regional transit service also depend on transaction costs of contracting and actual contractual terms, it is hypothesized that a private firm has a strong incentive to increase ridership to generate more fare revenue and present a good performance for future contracts by combining services in the two separate areas through internal coordination. This study will provide valuable information on the effectiveness of transit service contracting, and will improve our understanding of the benefits and costs of privatization as a provision strategy to achieve financial resiliency for regional transit service. It will also help transit mangers and policy makers learn about issues that need to be addressed to improve their systems’ cost-effectiveness by privatization. Additionally, State and Federal agencies may increase their capability to design and target technical assistance and financial resources to encourage more cost-effective transit services.

11-03: Resilient Transportation: An Integrated Corridor Management Approach

PI: Dr. Sherif Ishak, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, LSU

Abstract: The primary goal of this research is to lay the foundation for the application and implementation of integrated corridor management (ICM) strategies to reduce congestion on the freeway and arterial systems in Baton Rouge. Under the ICM umbrella, the operation of freeways and arterials should be optimized for various functions such as traffic incident management, work zone management, planned special events management, and recurrent day-to-day conditions. An efficient integrated corridor management approach will be developed by utilizing ramp-metering strategy, information dissemination strategy and other ITS strategies along congested corridors. These technologies will be evaluated using DYNASMART simulation. This research will develop theory and algorithms for the efficient implementation of the ramp metering and information dissemination strategies.

11-02: Potential Impacts of Proposed Passenger Rail Projects on Post Katrina Recovery Efforts in the Greater New Orleans Region

PI: James Amdal, Department of Planning and Urban Studies, UNO

Abstract: Historically, passenger trains and streetcars have played key roles in the growth and development of the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans. This research project addresses their potential impacts on contemporary Louisiana, the City of New Orleans and the greater New Orleans – Baton Rouge region in a post-Katrina environment, as recovery tools and as enhancements to existing public transportation systems. Through multiple recovery planning processes citizens have debated the merits of new passenger rail service. From these efforts two projects have emerged. The first is a proposed commuter train between Baton Rouge and the New Orleans Central Business District. This project is currently on hold based on Governor Jindal's opposition to its annual operating costs, which he believes will be a recurring burden for the state. The second project, recently funded by ARRA at 100%, will construct a new streetcar line between the existing New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal and Canal Street. This research evaluates these rail passenger projects in light of national best practices for both new commuter rail services and urban streetcar lines, and examines the relationship between the proposed lines and existing or planned real estate development. Maps, at various scales, illustrate the apparent disconnect between the investments being made or planned within the CBD and adjoining neighborhoods and the investments being built or proposed by these streetcar extensions. This is directly related to the lack of a public policy that links public investment in public transit with development in New Orleans, regardless of location or neighborhood. This however need not be the case, as our two case studies demonstrate. In both Portland, Oregon and San Diego, California public agencies and political bodies have adopted proactive development policies that have directly tied development to public transit investment. The degree of success however is still being debated. With this study, another residual value is this freeze-frame of development prior to the construction and operation of any of the proposed streetcar extensions. This will also allow late researchers to quantify the actual impact the streetcars made on corridor development, neighborhood revitalization, etc. using a number of specific metrics: property value increase; sales tax revenue.

11-01: An Integrated Approach to Modeling Evacuation Behavior

PI: Dr. Sudipta Sarangi, Department of Economics, LSU

Abstract: We will develop an integrated approach to modeling evacuation behavior that considers both economic and non-economic factors for the decision. The abstract theoretical model takes hyperbolic discounting and peer effects into account. We will use data from Hurricane Andrew to test the theoretical models. Since the collected data does not include risk attitudes, to obtain these we also conduct some simple experiments.

10-02: Five Years Later: Emergency Preparedness Improvements in New Orleans, Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina

PI: Robert Fogarty, Evacuteer.org

Abstract: Multiple innovations surrounding preparedness have sprouted in New Orleans in the past four years from all levels of government, private enterprise and citizen-led groups, such as neighborhood associations and churches. This research will attempt to answer the following questions:

1. To what extent has New Orleans’ individual, private enterprise and governmental preparedness systems improved since Hurricane Katrina?

2. How can the lessons learned and preparedness strategies in New Orleans are applicable and valuable to other American Cities as they plan for man-made or natural disasters in their region?

3. How has private enterprise, specifically hotels, improved disaster preparedness techniques in regards to tourists, who usually have little or no knowledge of local hurricane procedures in New Orleans?

4. Finally, if we accept the premise that we learn from experience, what are the top 10 innovations in government, individual and private enterprise preparedness to have appeared in New Orleans and how can these be best shared and applied to other communities across the country?

10-01: Resilient Transportation Systems in a Post-Disaster Environment: A Case Study of Opportunities Realized and Missed in New Orleans and the Louisiana Coastal Region

PI: James R. Amdal, Department of Planning and Urban Studies, UNO

Abstract: Research efforts will focus on specific non-highway transportation systems   which have been used in response to recent man-made and natural disasters in the United States.  The 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center will be used to establish a national perspective on non-highway modes for disaster evacuation and recovery: i.e. public transit, passenger and freight rail, and maritime. These same systems, serving both New Orleans and Coastal Louisiana, have also been used in post-disaster evacuation and recovery efforts since August, 2005.  We will review the impacts to and response of these systems in specific natural disasters: i.e. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Ike and Gustav in 2008. These storms and their aftermath exposed significant disconnects in our pre-storm disaster planning relative to the use of specific transportation assets.  Recommendations will be made per mode so that individually and collectively they will form integral parts of a resilient transportation system serving the region, the state as well as the nation’s Hurricane Belt.