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Classic highway traffic flow theory can explain the evolution of signals and waves once they form. Given sufficient boundary conditions the theory captures the evolution of the traffic state over space and time. But one rarely finds such ideal boundaries on real highways. Often disturbances arise within a region that classic theory would tell us should be homogeneous. These disturbances often grow and give rise to unstable traffic upstream, e.g., resulting in stop-and-go conditions during congestion with an increased frequency of accidents. This talk will examine one potential source of these disturbances, namely the fact that after a lane change maneuver drivers accommodate an entering vehicle quicker than a departing vehicle (mandatory accommodation versus discretionary accommodation). After illustrating this imbalance on two facilities, the talk will explain how it can give rise to lasting disturbances.

Dr. Coifman is an associate professor at the Ohio State University with a joint appointment in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Science and the Department of Electrical Engineering. His research emphasizes extracting more information about traffic flow both from conventional vehicle detectors and emerging sensor technologies. His work has been recognized by the ITS America Award for The Best ITS Research and an NSF CAREER award. Dr. Coifman...

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In this seminar, Dr. Porter will explore the interactions of geometric design decisions, speed, and safety. A performance-based approach to this topic will be considered given the availability of several key documents, including the Highway Safety Manual and TRB's Modeling Operating Speed: Synthesis Report as well as a significant body of published research. A historical look at the design speed concept will show that while the design speed definition has changed on more than one occasion, the same basic but flawed philosophy that relates design speed to a “safe speed” is still reflected in supplemental guidance related to design speed selection in current design policy. A conservative approach to establishing design criteria, currently used to address the range of driver, vehicle, and roadway conditions and capabilities that a designer must consider, will be demonstrated. Resulting operating speeds will be shown to be higher than design speeds for design speeds of approximately 55 mph or less. This outcome may be considered undesirable from a safety perspective, but that categorization seems to be based more on...

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Douglas Bish, Traffic Engineering Services Unit Manager with ODOT, will discuss the Jurisdictionally Blind Safety Program. This program is a safety program designed to address safety needs on all public roads in Oregon. The aim of the program is to foster collaboration between local road jurisdictions, to increase increase awareness of safety on all roads, promote best practices for infrastructure safety, compliment behavioral safety efforts and focus limited resources to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes in the state of Oregon. This seminar will introduce some of the details of the program.

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Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology is reshaping the civil engineering profession and offers many unique advantages. National efforts such as the 3D Elevation Plan (3DEP) are helping increase the availability of LIDAR data. LIDAR is one of the crucial technologies that is transitioning the world of civil and construction engineering from 2D paper-based design to 3D digital design. The high spatial resolution and accuracy capabilities of LIDAR have led to increased efficiencies, improved analyses, and more informed decision making.

A further advantage of this dataset is that multiple people can use the same dataset for a variety of purposes across multiple disciplines. The visual nature of the dataset also is more intuitive than traditional data acquisition and analysis techniques. This presentation will provide a brief background of LIDAR , its capabilities, limitations and platforms, and discuss its current and future role in civil engineering. Examples of a wide range of transportation, geotechnical, coastal, and structural engineering, science, and planning applications will be presented including development of mobile LIDAR guidelines for...

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Abstract: The geometric design of our urban arterials and collector streets can provide more room for nonmotorized travelers, make street crossings easier for pedestrians, and help to control traffic speeds, thus reducing pedestrian, bicycle and automobile crashes. In this seminar Mr. LaPlante will show how this can be done within existing rights-of-way and within tight maintenance and construction budgets, thus making better use of taxpayer dollars. The seminar also will address some of the myths about Complete Streets and how we can begin moving forward in making all our street networks complete.

Speaker Bio: John LaPlante is currently Director of Traffic Engineering for T.Y.Lin International, working out of their Chicago office. Prior to joining the firm in 1992, Mr. LaPlante had been with the City of Chicago for 30 years in various transportation engineering positions, including Chief City Traffic Engineer and Acting Commissioner of the new Department of Transportation. He has been involved in several national committees (PROWAAC, AASHTO Green Book Technical Committee, NCUTCD Pedestrian Task Force, and the TRB Pedestrian Committee) and was principal author of the AASHTO Pedestrian Guide. He has taught many courses as part of the FHWA...

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Abstract: Traffic safety engineering continues to rely on the traditional methods of design and operational guidelines, correlated to post-crash outcomes, in an attempt to understand the safety attributes of our roadway system.  The recently published Highway Safety Manual provides the newest source of methodologies and statistical models that can be applied to help predict or modify safety outcomes. Additionally, Road Safety Audits are a commonly used practice to gain the insight and experience of traffic and safety experts in an effort to avoid or solve a perplexing and/or unexpected safety problem.  Although none of these activities are completely void of human factors considerations, the ability to directly consider driver behavior, driver comprehension, and the impact of driver decision making in the analysis is incredibly complex and often omitted.  The use of full-scale driving simulators as a research and analysis tool may help significantly reduce the complexity of human factors-based consideration in the context of safety analyses and provide a new and effective tool to improve the safety of our roadway system. This lecture will consider several safety issues facing transportation agencies, namely median crossover crashes, permissive left-turn crashes, and roundabout safety, presenting thoughts and findings on related research.  Additionally, this lecture will integrate the attributes...

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Measuring and modeling cyclists’ comfort and stress levels

Some researchers have tried to categorize cyclists’ levels of traffic stress utilizing facility or traffic data that can be readily measured in the field, such as motorized travel lanes, travel speeds, and type of bicycle infrastructure.

This seminar will present data and modeling results utilizing two novel data sources:

(a) real-world, on-road measurements of...

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