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Transportation Engineering Research

The research program in transportation engineering at Penn State is active and well-funded. The total funding for research projects in the transportation area exceeds $900,000 as of September 1, 2016. The project titles, principal investigators, and other information related to these research contracts and grants are listed below.


The Relative Effectiveness of On-Premise Signs Using Flat Cut Metal Letters Compared to Cast Metal Letters and Vinyl Letters. (PI: Garvey). James and Sharon Weinel, U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center, June 16, 2016 – June 15, 2017. $100,000

Random Parameter Model Implementation for State Highways. (PIs:Venkataraman, Shankar, Blum). July 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017. $236,000, WSDOT.

High Performance Computing for Network Traffic Safety. (PIs: Madduri, Shankar), July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. $25,000 direct costs, College of Engineering Seed Grant.

Financial Benefits of Proposed Access Management Treatments. (co-PIs: Gayah, Guler). $45,000, South Dakota Department of Transportation.

Development of a Predictive Price Model for Road Salt. (PI: Guler). $4,000, COP Department of General Services.

Horizontal Sightline Offset Design Criteria, Exceptions, and Mitigation Strategies (PI:  Donnell).

National Cooperative Highway Research Program (Project 15-59) with MRIGlobal, August 2015 – August 2017, $110,000.

Self-Enforcing Roads (PI:  Donnell).  Institute of Transportation Engineers and Federal Highway Administration, July 2015 – June 2017, $135,000. 

Highway Safety Statistical Paper Synthesis (PI:  Donnell).  Federal Highway Administration, August 2015 – June 2017, $120,000

Warning Beacons for Worker Safety (PI:  Donnell).  National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health via Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, March 2013 – February 2017, $200,000.

Other transportation research projects include:

  • Congestion management research
  • Delineation and markings for older drivers
  • Geometric and operational characteristics to accommodate large trucks
  • Intersection sight distance
  • Local Transportation Assistance Program (LTAP)
  • Median design on highways
  • Traffic signal systems
  • Transit finance and performance
  • Transportation demand management
  • Highway tort liability
  • Traffic signal control equipment
  • Cost allocation of geometric and operational characteristics
  • Development of PCE's for highway cost allocation
  • Highway capacity and traffic simulation
  • Travel demand and management
  • Activity-based travel forecasting
  • Travel demand analysis using GIS and economics
  • Access Management Impact Simulation (AM/IS)
  • ITS strategic planning
  • ITS operation test evaluation
  • Optimal location of service facilities
  • Mobile source air pollution control strategies
  • Safety, risk, and tort liability
  • Traffic engineering education program
  • Low speed urban streets
  • Typography for conventional road-signs
  • Freestanding sign visibility
  • Impact of factors on conspicuity and legibility of on-premise sign fonts
  • Low-speed urban street design
  • Highway cost allocation studies
  • Development of passenger car equivalents using simulation
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The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084