Post-Doctoral Researcher Spotlight: Ali A. Butt

Ali A. Butt is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis. He is also a member of the UC Pavement Research Center (UCPRC) team who has worked closely with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Rutgers University. 

Ali A. Butt

The goal of the collaboration was to analyze the amount of energy used in various in-place recycle paving methods. The research project was sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under the title, “A Life-Cycle Methodology for Energy Use by In-Place Pavement Recycle Techniques.”

In-place recycle methods are popular in the transportation industry for agencies that want the construction process to be sustainable, cost-effective, and environmentally conscious.

“I helped with a detailed literature review and in collecting survey data from contractors in California regarding in-place pavement recycling techniques and practices,” Butt said. “I was also involved with developing a life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology and framework to allow agencies to make rational decisions with environmental determinants of in-place recycling methods and to compare these methods with conventional rehabilitation methods.”

As a result of the study, researchers were able to create a user-friendly tool that helps quantify the environmental benefits and trade-offs of various in-place recycling paving techniques as compared to conventional rehabilitation methods.

Butt has also worked on various other projects, including one that investigated the effect a pavement structure has on fuel consumption and emissions. Another project evaluated the effectiveness of the Traffic Speed Deflectometer (TSD) in California. Butt also developed an LCA framework and guidelines for airfield pavements, a project funded by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Butt with his daughter Alina.

Butt has seen his research published in more than a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference papers. He has also been a reviewer for more than a dozen other publications himself, including the International Journal of Pavement Research and Technology and Journal of Cleaner Production. He taught several engineering courses at the bachelor, master, and PhD level ranging from “Introduction to Highway and Railway Engineering” to “Construction, Management and Maintenance of Roads and Railways.”

Butt had the Best Teaching Record at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden and was the runner-up in poster and oral presentation at the International Transportation PhD Student Conference in 2014, among other recognitions. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the Center for Road2Science (R2S) at KTH – Sweden.

Butt holds a PhD in Transport Infrastructures from KTH Sweden, where he also received his Licentiate of Engineering in 2012 and a master’s degree in Infrastructure Engineering in 2009. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from NUST, the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan.

When not conducting his research Butt loves spending time with his family, especially his daughter, Alina.