TSU designated as a Beyond Traffic Innovation Center

Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Texas Southern University was recently designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as a Beyond Traffic Innovation Center (BTIC).  The Center will be recognized by the U.S. DOT as a forward-thinking and influential institution that is capable of driving solutions to the challenges identified in Beyond Traffic by convening decision-makers in the Gulf Coast mega-region and coordinating related research, curriculum, outreach, and other activities.

The BTIC at TSU will be headed by Dr. Lei Yu, Professor of Transportation Studies and Director of Innovation Transportation Research Institute (ITRI).  Dr. Yu has been recognized both nationally and internationally as a leading scholar in multidisciplinary transportation research. He has published 179 peer-reviewed journal articles and 209 conference papers, and conducted 105 funded research projects sponsored by federal and local governments, private entities, and other agencies. Dr. Yu has chaired the organizational committee for several international conferences and workshops associated with urban traffic simulations and modeling, urban transportation planning, and ITS.

Under the leadership of Dr. Yu, BTIC at TSU is committed to the improvement of the mobility of passengers and goods, safety on roads, and the air quality in the Gulf Coast Mega region. We will work with USDOT closely to seek optimal and applicable solutions for the transportation challenges in the Gulf Coast Mega region.

The specific activities and programs of the BTIC at TSU include conducting advanced academic research, transferring traditional and new technologies to our future transportation workforce, and regularly communicating with the USDOT to maintain a long-term collaborative working relationship for the development of transportation system in the Gulf Coast Mega region.  BTIC will persistently conduct research on urban transportation planning, traffic simulation and modeling, traffic signal operations, roadway geometric designs, traffic incident management, freight transportation, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) deployment, connected and autonomous vehicles, and smart city advancement.  BTIC will continue to accommodate the future population growth and the concomitant economic demand, and earthshaking changes in our transportation infrastructure and operational system that are expected over in the future in the Gulf Coast Mega region.

In response to emerging technologies, BTIC at TSU will (1) develop the algorithms and models for eco-driving, eco-signals, and eco-routing with connected vehicles to minimize the exhaust and noise emissions; (2) establish a big transportation data management system for the mega region and identify associations and frequent patterns for regional planning, operation, and smart city development; (3) develop the algorithms to estimate the optimal locations for incentive parking, electric charge-points or powered roads, serving on public transport connections and electric vehicles, respectively; (4) conduct comprehensive research to improve the ride comfort and the safety of the public transit to especially address the demographical features within that age; and (5) develop coordinated system to smartly transport both people and goods in the mega region with integrated shares of information and infrastructure usages.

The proposed BTIC at TSU has been equipped with state-of-the-art lab facilities, which are able to support the research on developing and optimizing comprehensive strategies for ITS development, traffic congestion mitigation, vehicle emissions reductions ,traffic safety improvement, and connected vehicles in Gulf Coast Mega region. The specific equipment and facilities available at TSU include: (1) Full-Motion DriveSafety DS-600c driving simulator that is fully integrated with high-performance and high-fidelity driving simulation for use in vehicle activity tracking and simulation, traffic safety studies, traffic control strategy simulation, vehicle research, and driving behavior studies; (2) Autoscope mobile traffic van, which is a state-of-the-art mobile traffic data collection system equipped with two Autoscope Solo Pro cameras mounted on a 42-foot telescoping mast to simultaneously record, store, and process real-time traffic data; (3) Real-time traffic monitoring system, MiniTranStar Lab, which allows TSU to access to all traffic monitoring video cameras and freeway speed data on highways from Houston TranStar.

Dr. Yu was recently interviewed by the Houston Public Media regarding the BTIC at TSU.  The text and the audio of the interview can be accessed through the following link:

You can find more details of the U.S. DOT Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers through the following website:

Research of BTIC at TSU

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Last updated: 10/05/2018