February 12, 2021
Dr. Laurence Rilett, Professor of Civil Engineering, Keith W. Klaasmeyer Chair in Engineering and Technology, and Director of the Nebraska Transportation Center and Mid-America Transportation Center has received the Frank M. Masters Transportation Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
The award, established in November 1975, is given to a member of the Society who demonstrates innovative or noteworthy planning, design, or construction of transportation facilities. Dr. Rilett is also being recognized as developing a diverse workforce in transportation engineering through collaborative research. The award is presented during the ICT/Pavements virtual conference in June, 2021.
Dr. Rilett received his B.A.Sc. degree and his M.A.Sc. degree from the University of Waterloo and his Ph.D. degree from Queen’s University. He has been a principal investigator on over 50 research projects and has authored or co-authored over 60 refereed journal papers and over 90 conference papers. His areas of research include multimodal transportation systems analysis, transportation planning and operations, dynamic network modeling and optimization, and intelligent transportation systems..
NTC researchers discuss train monitoring research conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
July 8-25, 2019
Girls Inc. Eureka! works with 8th – 12th grade girls to spark their interest in STEM subjects. The full program involves a 4-week summer learning camp, intern placements for the high school participants, monthly STEM Learning Events, and mentoring. During the summer portion the girls participate in a variety of STEM-related projects and activities, including those taught by MATC from the Roads, Rails, and Race Cars (RRRC) program. MATC joined Eureka! for an hour each day to build towers, bridges, solar powered cars, and more. MATC and Eureka! share the goal of providing underrepresented groups in the STEM fields with self-confidence and leadership skills. The five-year Eureka! program appeals to many girls who will become first generation college students, developing an early interest in higher education and innovative careers.
June 14, 2019
Dr. Jamilla Teixeira, Professor of Civil Engineering at the Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil and previous Ph.D. graduate of UNL, led a presentation at the Prem S. Paul Research Center on June 14 about her group’s various projects involving innovative uses for local by-products in pavements. Dr. Teixeira has been collaborating with UNL Professor Dr. Yong-Rak Kim from April 2018 to June 2019 through the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES) Post-doctoral Program. Their project includes working on advanced microscale characterization of different types of steel slags as well as performing numerical modeling of rate-dependent geomaterials based on a nonlinear viscoelastic cohesive zone model.
June 2-7, 2019
MATC, in conjunction with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs (NCIA) and NTC, hosted 33 Native high school students during the 2019 Sovereign Native Youth STEM Leadership Academy. This is the highest attendance yet in the program’s three-year history. Students came from cities and reservations across Nebraska including Niobrara, Santee, Lincoln, Omaha, Walthill, Macy, and Winnebago. The Lincoln Bike Kitchen donated bicycles for the students to ride around the UNL campus and learn about safety and maintenance. The academy also featured a boat building activity at Nebraska Innovation Studio and tours of the Nebraska State Capitol, Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Memorial Stadium, University of Nebraska State Museum, and Biomedical Imaging & Biosignal Analysis lab on East campus. Panels presenting Native professionals and college students and a formal dinner with keynote speaker Mr. Reed Robinson, Tribal Relations Manager at the National Parks Service, enhanced students’ learning and network building. The program culminated with student presentations on an important issue in their lives or communities. Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason and Luis Sotelo, Chief Diversity Officer at Doane University, prepared the students for this moment through several advocacy and public speaking workshops earlier in the week.
May 20 – August 9, 2019
Thirteen undergraduate students are participating in MATC’s 2019 Intern Program. With companies including JEO Consulting, City of Omaha, MAPA, City of Lincoln, NDOT, Iteris, FHU, and NTC's MwRSF, the interns are in for a summer of career growth and opportunities. The program officially began May 17, 2019 at orientation, where Emily Wilber, the Assistant Director of UNL Career Services, gave an opening presentation on “Office Etiquette, Networking, and Maximizing an Internship”. The participating organizations were present to network with the students before opening remarks and program overview were given by MATC/NTC Director Dr. Laurence Rilett and Research Coordinator Amber Hadenfeldt. Former MATC intern and current City of Omaha Traffic Engineer Jeff Riesselman gave incoming interns advice on what to expect this summer and how to make the most of their internship. The program will last 12 weeks through the summer and include a technical tour day to various transportation engineering organizations in both the private and public sector of Lincoln and Omaha. At the end of the program each student will write a reflection and give a short presentation on what they learned before bringing their knowledge back to the classroom this fall.
April 2, 2019
The Lincoln-Omaha-Council Bluffs Association of Transportation Engineers (LOCATE), in conjunction with UNL Student ITE Chapter, hosted a meet and greet before their general meeting Tuesday, April 2 at the Prem S. Paul Research Center. LOCATE invited students to talk to local transportation professionals about their organizations and career opportunities. During the meeting, Steven Ingracia from the Nebraska Department of Transportation presented on INFRA Grant Application, Electric Vehicle Accommodation, and Recent Flooding. Ten Nebraska organizations and the Iowa DOT were represented at the meet and greet. Despite the large student turnout, professionals took time to provide feedback on each resume they received.
January 13-17, 2019
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) conference was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. from January 13 – 17, 2019. NTC sent 12 students and a number of faculty members to the conference to learn and present their research. Students learned from presentations detailing 3D printing, innovative material testing, and modeling methods for sustainable infrastructure. The exhibit hall presented hands-on experiences for attendees including a driving simulator and autonomous bus demonstration. MATC/NTC took advantage of the well-attended conference by hosting a dinner for affiliates from partner research institutions. The vast conference topics allowed for new discoveries students could bring back to their own research, keeping them connected with transportation innovations.
Ricardo Jacome was awarded the SAE Heinz C. Prechter Automotive Excellence Scholarship and the Engineering Recruitment Fellowship. The SAE Heinz C. Prechter scholarship, in particular, is a highly-competitive award that provides young entrepreneurs with $10,000 to fund a creative project to positively impact the automotive industry. Ricardo is a graduate research assistant at the Nebraska Transportation Center’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, where he assists his advisor Dr. Cody Stolle with developing a virtual roadside barrier to improve current warning systems for vehicles leaving the lane or roadway. Ricardo will complete a master’s degree in mechanical engineering next May and looks forward to pursuing a career in the areas of vehicle transportation, dynamics, or controls.
October 10-12, 2018
The Mid-America Transportation Center hosted the 2018 Scholars Program for Native American undergraduates in collaboration with NTC. This year’s program was developed to encourage and assist students to transition from attending two-year tribal and community colleges to four-year degree-granting universities. Native professionals and students from UNL, University of South Dakota, University of Montana, Indianz.com, Vision Maker Media, Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, and University of Nebraska Inter-Tribal Exchange shared their success stories with the students and provided practical advice on how to succeed in a 4-year program and build connections on campus. The participants also visited the Nebraska State Capitol, Chief Standing Bear statue, and Memorial Stadium. The mission of the annual program is to provide targeted seminars to improve the performance, recruitment, and retention of underrepresented students in STEM and transportation-related fields. This program would not be possible without the generous support of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Union Pacific.
September 22-27, 2018
Mohammed Ebrahim Mohammadi and Ernest Tufuor, NTC graduate research assistants, presented papers at the 60th annual International Highway Engineering Exchange Program (IHEEP) in Lincoln, Nebraska. The event brings together a diverse group of innovators from engineering consulting firms, the technology industry, and all levels of government to network and exchange information for influencing change. Ebrahim received first place for his paper on developing an algorithm for bridge damage detection that is easy, rapid, and applicable for routine and post-disaster assessments. Ebrahim’s paper was completed with Dr. Richard Wood, UNL Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering. Ernest was awarded third place on his paper with advisor and NTC director Dr. Laurence Rilett, which demonstrates a viable methodology for analyzing road safety management and assists with identifying potential emergency medical service locations in underserved areas. Both students gave presentations on their papers during the program.
September 16 - 20, 2018
NTC director Dr. Laurence Rilett was invited to Krynica Zdrój, Poland to present at the 64th Scientific Conference of the Committee of Civil and Water Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the PZITB Science Committee. Dr. Rilett spoke about the center’s railway-related safety research and explored partnership opportunities with various academic institutions in Poland. Also in attendance were former UNL graduate students Drs. Anna and Przemek Rakoczy, who are currently Principal Investigators for the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo Colorado, and former UNL/NTC faculty member Dr. Andrzej Nowak, who is a Professor at Auburn University.
September 15 - 17, 2018
Eight graduate students, one undergraduate, and one postdoctoral research assistant chaperone from NTC traveled to Chicago to attend the AREMA 2018 conference. The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-way Association events took place the 16 and 17th, but the students received a unique experience of a Union Pacific sponsored field day at one of their sites on the 15th. AREMA's website tells of the conference's ability to provide "an excellent opportunity for members of the railway industry to increase their railroad knowledge, technical expertise, network and a forum for exchanging ideas." Students attending had access to many events, including a multitude of technical sessions for the students to learn from railway professionals. Some of our students participated in a Quiz Bowl that involved questions and answers from various railway industry resources, and two students participated in a poster competition that NTC graduate student Hossein Bahmyari won. A beneficial segment, "Meet the Next Generation", provided prospective employees and students the opportunity to learn about the railway industry as company representatives established relations with potential employees. Students can already look forward to next year's conference September 22-25, 2019 where more learning and networking opportunities await.
July 16 - 26, 2018
This summer, MATC/NTC’s Roads, Rails, and Race Cars (RRRC) program teamed up with Eureka!, offered by Girls Inc., to spark middle school girls’ interest in STEM subjects. MATC/NTC and Girls Inc. share a common goal to help underrepresented students see that STEM is a part of their everyday lives and that a STEM career is attainable. Gabriel Bruguier, MATC Education and Outreach Coordinator, and Sydney James, UNL undergrad and RRRC mentor, led the group of eighth grade girls in activities such as creating electrical circuits in a lesson about train signals, assembling ovens that use solar energy to cook s’mores and nachos, and conducting strength tests on hand-made bridges and towers to learn about civil engineering. These lessons are part of the RRRC after-school program’s core curriculum, which will be kicking off this fall at several locations in Lincoln as well as Macy and Winnebago, NE.
May 11 - August 10, 2018
In its 23rd year, MATC’s Intern Program is among its largest and most diverse. More than double last year’s number, 16 individuals paired up with leading area transportation organizations, both private and public, such as Alfred Benesch, Nebraska Department of Transportation, and NTC's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. The program began on May 11 at an orientation meeting where Emily Wilber from UNL Career Services spoke about how to make the most of an internship. MATC Director Dr. Laurence Rilett welcomed the new interns, and MATC Research Coordinator Amber Hadenfeldt gave an overview of the program. Over the summer, the interns participated in a variety of important projects that help improve traffic flow or use computer software to re-envision and redesign the layout and components of Midwest transportation. Towards the end of the summer, the interns took a field trip to Omaha to visit Union Pacific, Schemmer Associates, the City of Omaha, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) to get a better taste of both the public and private sectors of engineering. To complete the program, the interns submitted written reports and gave presentations detailing their internship experiences during the closing luncheon on Friday, August 10.
June 24 - 29, 2018
Eighteen high school students participated in MATC's and Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs (NCIA)’s Native Youth Summer Academy this summer, lasting June 24-29. The program, hosted in collaboration with the Nebraska Transportation Center, consisted of numerous activities and visits to locations exploring careers and studies in the STEM field. They were welcomed on Sunday afternoon at Union College and had a full schedule of activities until leaving Friday afternoon. Days consisted of traveling to various locations in Lincoln and Omaha including Nebraska Innovation Studio, Encompass Architects, Nebraska History Museum, Great Plains Art Museum, and Duncan Aviation. The students worked on remote control boats with Dr. Chris Cornelius, had lunch with the First Lady of Nebraska, and enjoyed helicopter rides with Senator Tom Brewer. On Thursday night they dressed up to attend a formal dinner with multiple guests and a presentation from the keynote speaker, Dr. Cornelius. Many students plan on returning next year for more opportunities and fun.
June 5, 2018
NASCAR drivers Michael Annett and Dalton Sargeant visited NTC’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) Tuesday, June 5 to learn about the barriers keeping their tracks safe. Their morning consisted of touring the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier and Motorsports Exhibits at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed, followed by a tour and crash test viewing at MwRSF’s Outdoor Proving Grounds. The SAFER Barrier began development in 1998 and by 2005 nearly every track on the IndyCar and NASCAR circuits installed the device. The drivers will be participating in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Iowa 200 and NASCAR Xfinity Series 250 presented by Enogen on June 16-17 at Iowa Speedway, the first and only NASCAR track with the SAFER Barrier being its sole retaining wall. For more information about the crash test, visit: https://engineering.unl.edu/mwrsf-crash-test/.
The Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) developed a non-proprietary barrier to limit the impact of threat vehicles in Entrance Control Facilities (ECFs) as well as provide safe stops for low-speed, non-hostile vehicles. As the first federally-accepted, non-proprietary barrier system in the Department of Defense (DOD) Approved Barrier List it is less expensive to purchase and install than other systems. The barrier has been in development for two years with the completion of full-scale and component testing in December 2017. Although the barrier was developed for military bases, it has potential to be implemented in urban areas and the publication of collected data could help in future research.
April 24, 2018
The Nebraska Transportation Center is congratulating Civil Engineering Ph.D. student Ernest Tufuor for his reception of the ITS Heartland Award. He received the award at the organization’s meeting for his paper on the usage of a Bluetooth-plus-Wi-Fi device for travel time research. The device developed by the Nebraska Transportation Center, referred to as generic Bluetooth (gBT) was compared with a GPS-probe vehicle to determine its data reliability. The study resulted in Bluetooth travel times comparable to that of the Global Positioning System while saving costs and improving modularity and ease of use. Mr. Tufuor acknowledges the success of this project to the innovative and creative ideas of his advisor, Dr. Laurence Rilett.
Photo courtesy of ITS Heartland
Tiffany Treviño is the 2017 recipient of the MATC Outstanding Student of the Year award. Ms. Treviño is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), where she conducts research on traffic calming devices, speed tables, roadway curves, and vehicle dynamics. As an undergraduate at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Ms. Treviño participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates 2015 and 2016 summer program, sponsored by the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety. During this time, she studied finite element analysis, learned new software, and analyzed 1/8 symmetric rail car tank models at NTC. Currently, Ms. Treviño is a Graduate Research Assistant at NTC’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF). Her thesis research investigates the optimal placement of speed tables on roadway curves in order to disrupt or delay threat vehicles without the occupants of non-threat vehicles experiencing excessive discomfort. According to her advisor Dr. Cody Stolle, MwRSF Research Assistant Professor, “Tiffany is an exceptional worker,” who “demonstrates a firm grasp on critical material, integrates new knowledge quickly, completes challenging tasks in a timely manner, and maintains a positive, optimistic, and encouraging attitude.” After completing a Master of Science degree in December 2018, Ms. Treviño plans to begin a career as an engineering professional in the public or private sector.