Investigator Spotlight: Khaled El-Rayes and Liang Liu

Khaled El-Rayes and Liang Liu have worked together as co-principal investigators for six ICT projects. El-Rayes, professor, and Liu, associate professor, are on the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Two of their recent projects are the following:


Khaled El-Rayes

  • R27-103: “Green Friendly” Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Interstate Rest Areas—Phase 2: Effects of Flaggers and Spotters in Directing Work Zone Traffic for Illinois Freeways and Expressways (with Nora El-Gohary)
  • R27-132:Incorporating NEPA into the IDOT and MPO Planning Process (with Nora El-Gohary)

El-Rayes states, “Working with IDOT and ICT on several projects has been rewarding—our Technical Review Panel provided insightful feedback. It’s gratifying to be part of a team working to improve safety and mobility in work zones and enhance the sustainability of highway rest areas.”

Liu adds, “As an Illinois resident and taxpayer, I’m very pleased to know IDOT places high priority on improving work zone safety for construction workers and drivers and ensuring our highway system is sustainable.”

Liang Liu

Liang Liu

While collaborating on six ICT/IDOT projects, the two have developed a strong working relationship. Liu states, “It’s a privilege to work with my friend and colleague, Professor El-Rayes, on several ICT/IDOT projects. His inquisitive spirit, creative mind, and dedication in research have always led research projects to successful results.”

El-Rayes agrees: “I have greatly benefited from Professor Liu’s innovative research ideas and extensive expertise in construction projects. We are fortunate to have been able to work together on multiple projects and to have had a team of outstanding graduate students to assist us.”

El-Rayes holds a bachelor’s degree from Ain Shams University in Cairo and master’s and doctoral degrees from Concordia University in Montréal. He has been on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2000. His research has been widely recognized. Awards include the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Construction Engineering and Management Best Paper Award, the ASCE Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize, and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

Liu holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and master’s and doctoral degrees in construction engineering and management from the University of Michigan. He has been on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1992. Liu is an associate department head and the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has been widely recognized for his teaching and advising efforts by the University of Illinois College of Engineering and the Engineering Council.