2012 Overview

Overview of Activities at rCITI – 2012

Since its launch in November 2011, rCITI has continued to expand and strengthen its network across campus and with relevant government and industry. Key achievements for 2012 include the signing of an Umbrella Deed with the NSW Government Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), as well as a Memorandum of Understanding with GoGet, the car share company and Better Place, an electric car charge network; and the award of a 2013 Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) Grant for a world-first driving simulation laboratory.

Visit from Transport Minister

The NSW Minister for Transport, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian visited the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in March 2012 for a presentation about the Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation (rCITI). Professor Travis Waller's overview of rCITI was followed by discussion with the Minister. Attendees at the Minister's visit included delegates from UNSW such as Professor Graham Davies (Dean, Faculty of Engineering), Professor Les Field (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research), Professor T. David Waite (HoS, Civil and Environmental Engineering), and Professor Nasser Khalili (Associate Dean, Research), as well as representatives from Evans & Peck (Mr Ian McIntyre and Mr Paul Forward, Principals) and NICTA (Mr Rob Fitzpatrick, Director, Infrastructure, Transport & Logistics). During her visit, Ms Berejiklian appointed Professor Waller an invited member to the Transport Specialist Advisory Group for Transport for NSW.

Numerous meetings with government

rCITI staff held numerous other governmental meetings in 2012, including with Mr Mike Mrdak, Secretary at the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development & Local Government who invited Professor Waller for discussions with him and his team to Canberra.

Leif grant win to develop driving simulator

Professor Waller and Dr. Dixit from rCITI, Professor Dennis Del Favero, Director of the UNSW iCinema Research Centre for Interactive Cinema, jointly with Professor Bliemer from the University of Sydney, were awarded a 2013 Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) for a driving simulation laboratory, the Travel Choice Simulation Laboratory (TRACSLab). TRACSLab is a world-first facility to observe collective travel choice in a realistic lab environment. It is unique due to the focus on travel choice, networked interaction and strong teaming. The findings of the lab will support a new generation of transport analysis techniques for emerging issues such as sustainability, reliability, and ITS.

rCITI heads international consortium on sustainability

rCITI lead an international consortium (including Monash, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, NICTA, DIMTS, CRRI and GoGet) for an expression-of-interest (EOI) submission on "Integrated Network Planning Methodologies for the Sustainable Convergence of Transport and Energy", to the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation Science, Research and Tertiary Education for the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) Grand Challenge. The EOI was successful in the pre-proposal stage and the team was invited to submit a full application. The outcome will be announced in 2013.

rCITI expands staffing

Dr. Lavy Libman joined the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW as a Senior Lecturer in March 2012. Dr. Libman was previously a Senior Lecturer at the School of Information Technologies at the University of Sydney as well as a Researcher at NICTA's Networks Research Group. His primary research interests lie in cross-layer performance optimization of wireless networks as well as the applications of game theory to networks and distributed systems. Dr. Libman forms part of the core Academic staff at rCITI.

In October, Dr. Taha Hossein Rashidi from the University of Toronto, Canada, joined the Centre's core academic team and was welcomed by Centre Director Professor S. Travis Waller, Senior Lecturer Dr. Upali Vandebona, Senior Lecturer Dr. Vinayak Dixit, Senior Lecturer Lavy Libman (Computer Science and Engineering) and Lecturer Dr. Lauren Gardner. Dr. Rashidi's research expertise compliments rCITI's research efforts in key areas, including land-use and vehicle ownership models, as well as goods movement data collection and modelling methods.

At the same time, Visiting Fellow Dr. Hironobu Hasegawa joined the transportation group from the Akita National College of Technology. Dr. Hasegawa will work with rCITI on a variety of research areas, including his key expertise in applications of machine learning and data mining algorithms in the field of transportation. In particular, he is currently collaborating on the development of a micro-simulation travel demand model for the City of Melbourne.

Conferences and events

Professor Waller and other rCITI staff have attended and been invited to present at a variety of conferences this year. Many rCITI staff participated in TRB (Transportation Research Board 91st Annual Meeting, Washington D.C), presenting research contributions and chairing several TRB Committee Meetings. In addition, Prof. Waller gave an invited talk at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Workshop at Beijing Jiaotong University in May and was a plenary speaker at the 17th International Conference of the Hong Kong Society for Transportation Studies (HKSTS) in Hong Kong in December.

The 4th International Symposium on Dynamic Traffic Assignment (DTA) took place on Martha's Vineyard in June and was co-organized by Professor Waller, who also presented new developments in the field of DTA including better methods for addressing day-to-day volatility in traffic flow within the transport planning process.

In December, Professor Waller was invited to Japan to participate in an exclusive meeting of the National Institute of Informatics (NII) on "Social Issues in Computational Transportation Science". The meeting consisted of research leaders spanning computer science, big data, transport engineering, and urban planning with the aim of identifying emerging themes and cutting-edge concepts which impact numerous adjacent domains.

Professor Waller receives innovation award

Further, Prof. Waller received the 2011 (awarded in 2012) Hojjat Adeli Award for Innovation in Computing. The award is based on published research within the journal Computer Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering (CACAIE), which is ranked as the top journal in Civil Engineering as well as Transportation Science & Technology (ranked by journal citation factor).

Guest speakers and visitors

Throughout the year, rCITI has also attracted and welcomed a variety of guest speakers to the School for relevant research seminars.
Visitors and seminar topics included:

  • Associate Professor Karen Smilowitz of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University, United States. 
    "Transportation and logistics models in non-profit settings".

  • Professor Lisa Rutstrom from Georgia State University, United States
    "Experiments on Driving Under Uncertain Congestion Conditions".

  • Dr. Majid Sarvi from the Civil Engineering Department at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. 
    "Crowd Safety under Panic Conditions: Linking Non-human Biological Organisms to the Development of a Crowd Dynamic Model".

  • Associate Professor Satish Ukkusuri from Purdue University, United States.  
    "Integrative Modeling Tools for Sustainable Transportation Systems" and "The Use of Large Scale Geo-Location Data for Traffic Analytics". 

  • Professor Sahotra Sarkar from the Section of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, Unite States.
    "Climate Change and the Risk of Vector- Borne Diseases". 

A successful year with more to come

It has been a successful year for rCITI in expanding and strengthening key relations and commencing new research projects. In fact, even though 2012 represents the first full year of operation for the transport centre, rCITI has already developed multiple key relationships with industry, attracted global attention for research performed at UNSW, worked on internationally funded projects, led global consortia, received substantial funding from the Australian Research Council and built a world-class staff of researchers and educators.