Transportation Faculty, Ph.D. Students Attend International Symposium

Illinois transportation faculty and Ph.D. students headed to Stockholm, Sweden, to attend the Third International Transportation Ph.D. Student Symposium, which was hosted by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden’s first polytechnic institution of higher education in technology. The symposium was held August 29 and 30, 2014.

The doctoral forum, initiated in December 2012 to foster mutual collaboration between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), an internationally renowned university in China, was later expanded to include other educational institutions. This year, the event attracted approximately 50 attendees, including 35 Ph.D. students and a number of internationally recognized faculty in transportation systems and pavements.

Illinois Center for Transportation director Imad Al-Qadi says that this event is a great opportunity for  ICT’s Ph.D. students to interact with students from other universities and discuss challenges and common scientific interests. “It’s been a nice platform for students to get together and exchange ideas and discuss their research. I am pleased that this program is gaining momentum.”


Illinois faculty and students at the Third International Transportation Ph.D. Student Symposium (left to right): Alexander Brand, Yuanjie Xiao, Professor Erol Tutumluer, Professor Daniel Work, Professor Imad Al-Qadi, Angeli Gamez, Rebekah Yang, Ye Sun, Xin Wang, and Brian Hill.

Bjorn Birgisson, vice president for research at KTH, hopes the forum will help increase strategic collaboration among the Royal Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, and Harbin Institute of Technology. “The expected benefits are numerous for faculty and students alike. Students, for instance, will learn that their research challenges are global and will benefit from the multicultural aspect of the symposium,” says Birgisson.

Presentations about pavements and systems were given by faculty members and Ph.D. students and were followed by poster sessions at which students had the opportunity to discuss their research work informally.

Twenty-one posters were displayed. The following awards for best posters for transportation systems and pavements were presented at the symposium:

  • Jiang Hui Fu: Green Driving and Signal Intersection Control Strategy Based on Spatio-Temporal Trajectory Smoothing (HIT), winner
  • Ge Xin: Internal Relative Humidity of Concrete Under One Surface Exposed to Dry Condition (HIT), runner-up
  • Ricardo De Frias Lopez: Numerical Evaluation of the Impact of Particle Size Distribution on Permanent Deformation Behavior of Unbound Granular Materials (KTH), winner
  • Ali Butt: Life-Cycle Assessment of Asphalt Roads (KTH), runner-up
  • Angeli Gamez: Effect of Tire Parameters and Contact Stresses on Pavement Responses (UIUC), winner
  • Rebekah Yang: Development of Asphalt Binder Models for Pavement Life-Cycle Assessment (UIUC), runner-up
Attendees of the Third International Transportation Ph.D. Student Symposium held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Attendees of the Third International Transportation Ph.D. Student Symposium held in Stockholm, Sweden.

“I was quite impressed with the excellent quality of student posters and presentations,” says Erol Tutumluer, director of international programs for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois. “We had quite a hard time selecting the award winners because of the significant technical findings presented and the professional delivery.”

The participating institutes plan to continue to hold this event annually to maintain close interaction among participants. The Fourth International Transportation Ph.D. Student Symposium will be hosted next year by HIT in China.