Guest Speaker - Professor Brian Wolshon


rCITI received an inspiring talk from our guest speaker – Professor Brian Wolshon from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Louisiana State University, USA, United States of America on the 8 August 2016.

Dr. Brian Wolshon is the Edward A. and Karen Wax Schmitt Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Louisiana State University. He is also the Director of the United States Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Center the Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency. Although his research and teaching expertise spans several area in the fields of highway design and traffic engineering, he is most recognized for his research in issues related to the operation, planning, and management of transportation systems during mass evacuations and, in particular, the application of nonstandard traffic management techniques such reversible traffic operations under emergency and major event conditions. Dr. Wolshon has authored scores of research papers, technical articles, and book chapters; and has served as an expert on numerous panels and committees for the Federal Highway Administration, National Academies of Science and Engineering, Institute of Transportation Engineers, and American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2000, he founded and has since chaired the Transportation Research Board’s Subcommittee on Emergency Evacuation. He has worked as a consultant to the state and federal agencies and companies throughout North America on emergency, evacuation, and resiliency related projects.

Dr Wolshon spoken on road systems, both regional and local, are planned and designed for the movement of vehicles and people during routine and predictable travel situations. Although typical planning takes into account various peaking conditions and seasonal variations, it does not take into account all possible conditions, most notably, incidents and events that restrict capacity, close lanes, generate surges in demand, and/or create unexpected hazardous travel. This is not due to a lack of awareness or caring but, rather, because it is not financially, environmentally, or physically practical to construct systems that take into account every incident and event that could occur.  More recently, however, the profession has promoted new policies, techniques, and technologies to increase the resiliency of transportation networks. Broadly, the concept of area “resiliency” means the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions to withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions and, more specifically in this case, planned, unplanned, and emergency conditions that are related to transportation. This presentation will discuss practices that support ways to work “smarter and more creatively,” using better knowledge, training, and communication and by adapting creative, yet safe and effective, methods to maintain mobility and serve the needs of travelers during non-routine but inevitable incidents and events, with a particular focus on evacuations. This presentation will describes these conditions; the roles that road networks and transportation personnel play during planned and unplanned events and emergencies, and how the impacts of disaster or emergency events can be reduced using innovative and more effective practices. 

This visit was supported by: School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and rCITI


Photo (L-R): Brian Wolshon, Vinayak Dixit