News from the Center for Urban Transportation Studies

Recent Projects

Recent projects at the Center include the development of a series of guidebooks and state-of-the-art reports for the Federal Highway Administration under a project directed by Prof. Alan Horowitz. The first of these is a guidebook on Statewide Travel Forecasting outlines procedures to predict future travel patterns at a statewide level for all means of transport. Prof. Horowitz has presented the results of this work at conferences in California, New Mexico and North Carolina. Students working on the project include David Farmer, a graduate student in Civil Engineering, and Smitha Vijayan, a graduate student in the dual Urban Planning/Engineering program.

Under the same project, Prof. Edward Beimborn is developing a guidebook on Statewide Land Use Policy as it relates to transportation. This work includes an examination and characterization of various programs around the country that affect land use patterns and the role of transportation in shaping land use. He has been assisted on the project by Prof Horowitz and by Smitha Vijayan and Melissa Bordewin, both students in the dual MS/MUP program.

In addition, there are several projects underway at the Center that deal with Intelligent Transportation Systems. The first of these is a study of the Benefits of Automatic Vehicle Location Systems for Small Transit Agencies, sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and conducted by Prof. Beimborn and Prof. Zhong-Ren Peng of Urban Planning. This study included an assessment of the state-of-the-art of AVL systems, analysis of transit user needs and perceptions, and the formulation of methodologies for benefit assessment. Students working on the project included Rick Zygowicz from Engineering and Simi Octania from Urban Planning.

Another Intelligent Transportation Systems project involves using information-based strategies to evaluate transit performance. This project is funded by the Federal Transit Administration through the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University. The project looks at how to manage information developed from enhanced technologies for more effective transit decision making. The project is a collaborative effort by Prof. Beimborn of CUTS, Prof. Frederick Wegmann at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Jack Reilly of the Capital District Transit Authority in Albany, New York, and Dr. Robert Schmitt of RTR Consulting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It also involved assistance by Jay Castle, a graduate student in Urban Planning. Because of the diverse locations of the participants, the project used extensive E-mail correspondence and file sharing. The project results have been presented in a training format in Jackson (Mississippi), Atlanta, and Ontario (California).

UPASS Expansion

UPASS programs, like the one started at UWM in 1994 and extensively evaluated by studies done at CUTS, have been started at a number of universities around the country. For example, six Chicago area universities have started UPASS programs with the help of the CUTS project. In addition, programs at UWBMadison, Marquette University, the University of Pittsburgh and elsewhere have been developed, using the UWM program as their model.

Transportation Research Board Meeting

Eight UWM students attended the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in January. They are David Platz, Amy Worzella, Chris Bucko, Dan Guido, Todd Demsky, Michael Holmquist, Melissa Manske, and Oliver Jan. The TRB meeting is the largest meeting of transportation professionals in the world, with an attendance of more than 8,000 people. UWM students who attended the meeting were able to attend technical sessions and committee meetings, as well as meet informally with students from other universities. The students= travel was paid for with funds donated by college alumni as well as from student government funds. Professors Horowitz, Beimborn, Peng, and Patel had papers presented at the conference.

New Location

The Center has settled into a new location on the third floor of EMS. The Center is now located in rooms E371A-D, an area originally part of the engineering library and more recently occupied by the UWM Computer Services Division and the UWM Graduate School. The new location provides office space for CUTS=s staff as well as for transportation reference material. Room E371 is also shared with the ASCE, ITE, and other student organizations.

Dual Degree Program Combines Engineering and Urban Planning

A unique program in CEAS provides students with the opportunity to pursue dual masters= degrees in Engineering and Urban Planning. Under this program, students meet the needs of the Urban Planning master=s degree (48 credits) and the Engineering master=s program (24 credits), with 54 credits of overlapping course work which includes a thesis done in the Engineering program. ABasically, the way it works is that the required courses in engineering are used as the electives in the planning program, while the electives in engineering are the required courses in planning,@ according to Professor Beimborn of CEAS. It gives the students an opportunity to get a general planning background as well as specialized courses in traffic engineering and transportation planning. This general/specific program prepares students well to deal with complex transportation issues that often involve complex social, political and economic factors, as well as technical concerns. Students who have completed the program have gone on to successful careers in transportation agencies, private consulting firms, and universities. Currently, there are five full-time graduate students in the program.