University of Vermont

UVM Researchers Receive National Transportation Recognition

Brian LeeNathan BelzNathan Belz, PhD civil and environmental engineering candidate, and Brian H. Y. Lee, assistant professor, both in the School of Engineering, have won the Fred Burggraf Award from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies for their research entitled, "Composition of Vehicle Occupancy for Journey-to-Work Trips: Evidence of Ridesharing from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey Vermont Add-on Sample."  This national award recognizes excellence in transportation research by researchers 35 years of age or younger.

"Receiving this award is very significant because this is a cross Transportation Research Board competition with one to two winners per year." says Lisa Aultman-Hall, professor at the UVM TRC.  "Belz and Lee competed with researchers in all areas of transportation from planning to structural engineering to modeling to rail".

Belz and Lee’s research paper was initially created in a new graduate course on travel and activity choice modeling developed by Dr. Lee.  Belz continued to work on the project with Lee as a Graduate Scholar funded by the UVM TRC. The research focuses on ridesharing in Vermont and contains noteworthy information. “In addition to broadening the understanding of how rideshares are formed, we are moving the research from just thinking about ‘how many’ are in the vehicle to also considering ‘who’ is in it,” explains Belz. “We also illustrate the impacts that the effort needed to coordinate a trip and vehicle allocation among household members can have on ridesharing,” adds Lee.

“This award draws national attention to young impressive researchers within our College,” says Bernard “Chip” Cole, Interim Dean of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

"I'm thrilled to hear that these two excellent researchers from the Transportation Research Center have been honored with this highly competitive award. Their work in advancing our understanding of driver/rider behavior and building sustainable transportation options clearly advances the TRC's mission in addition to the field of transportation research in general," says Austin Troy, associate professor in the UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Director, UVM TRC.

Drs. Lee and Aultman-Hall are working with another student using the same dataset as the Belz and Lee paper to study vehicle allocation within a household to estimate possible reductions in fuel and emissions for Vermont and the country.

For his PhD thesis, Belz has recently collected innovative field data to develop a new traffic flow theory for roundabouts because the existing theories developed for traffic signals and stop signs do not apply. His advisor is Dr. Aultman-Hall.

The Fred Burggraf Award was established in 1966 to stimulate and encourage young researchers to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of transportation. The award is accompanied by a cash prize and was named in honor of the late Fred Burggraf, who served as the Transportation Research Board's director from 1951 until his retirement in 1964.

The UVM TRC was created in 2006 with University Transportation Center (UTC) funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The TRC’s research, education and outreach efforts focus on mobility, sustainability and livability.   

New Research efforts funded by the TRC in 2012 include eleven projects aligned with UVM’s spires of excellence:

A policy & communications investigation of transportation financing and environmental issues. (Richard Watts (PI), Curt Ventriss, Tao Sun). $44,457

A Risk-Based Flood-Planning Strategy for Vermont’s Roadway Network. (Dave Novak (PI), Jim Sullivan). $64,995

Adaptation and Application of Micro-Simulation Modeling to Recreational Use of Parks and Public Lands. (Robert Manning (PI)). $100,877

Bicycles, Transportation Sustainability, and Quality of Life. (Richard Watts (PI), Luis Vivanco, Josh Farley, Stephanie Kaza). $100,807

Electric Vehicles and their Impact on the Electric Power Delivery System. (Paul Hines (PI), Jeff Marshall, Jeff Frolik). $136,876

Estimating the effect of mobility and food choice on obesity. (Jane Kolodinsky (PI), Brian H. Y. Lee, Rachel Johnson, Erin Roche, Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne). $124,965

Evaluation of Transportation/Air Quality Model Improvements Based on TOTEMS On-road Driving Style and Tailpipe Emissions Data (Britt Holmén (PI)). $148,835

Integrating Sustainability with Transport Asset Management Processes: Governance of Intergovernmental Decision Making on Prioritizing V-Trans STIP Projects, 1998-2035. (Asim Zia (PI), Chris Koliba, Jessica Ricketson). $39,035

Nutritional Supplementation with the Antioxidant, Glutathione, to Reduce the Health Effects of Petro- and Biodiesel Exhaust Particle Emissions. (Naomi Fukagawa (PI), Britt Holmén, Jason Bates, Brian Palmer, Li Muyao). $129,644

Social Ties and Transportation: A Community-level basis for reducing Vehicle Tailpipe Emissions. (Tom Macias (PI), Richard Watts). $59,111

The Application of Attitude-Based Latent Factors in Analyzing Public Mode Shares of Inter-city Travel in Northeastern Rural Regions. (Brian H. Y. Lee (PI), Matthew Coogan, Thomas Alder). $150,166

For more information on the UVM TRC contact:
Phone: 802-656-1317

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For more information on this award contact:

Phone: 802-656-1306