Sustainable Transportation is Focus of IBM Grant Won by UB Professor

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Each year, American drivers waste an estimated 3.7 billion hours, or the equivalent of five days, sitting in traffic, burning 2.3 billion gallons of fuel. Students at the University at Buffalo will soon be learning how to reduce that waste, creating less congestion and cleaner air, thanks to an IBM grant to Adel Sadek, PhD, UB associate professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering.

Sadek has received an IBM Smarter Planet Faculty Innovation Award to develop an eight-lecture course on “Advanced Technology Solutions for a Sustainable Transportation System.” He describes some of the technologies that will be explored in the course in a video at

“Our strategic location here in Buffalo Niagara, with our three international bridges, provides us with a wealth of data on the factors behind traffic congestion,” he says. “We will use those data to develop ways to route traffic flows in smarter, ‘greener’ ways, so that people spend less time sitting in traffic, and less fuel is consumed.”

Specifically, Sadek will leverage the volume data he and Qian Wang, PhD, UB assistant professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, obtain from the Peace Bridge authority regarding and other transportation organizations in the region, such as the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition.

The course address traffic flow fundamentals; traffic simulation; emissions modeling; signal optimization and coordination; incident management; sustainable or green routing; congestion pricing; and vehicle-infrastructure integration or IntelliDrive.

“These course modules, which IBM will be making available to a much wider audience, are being designed to directly impact the next generation of transportation systems engineers,” says Sadek, who also directs UB’s Transportation Systems Laboratory and is acting chair of Extreme Events: Mitigation and Response, a UB 2020 strategic strength. “We are changing the content of our courses so that they reflect the issues that our students are going to encounter once they enter the workforce.”

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