Friday, November 30, 2018

Fabulous Talk by Professor Mike Knodler on Transportation Safety and Operations with Cake Before!

Today we had the pleasure of hearing Professor Mike Knodler from the UMass Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering speak in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series.
Dr. Knodler in the Director of the UMass Transportation Center, which includes the UMass traffic Safety Research program. We were all very much looking forward to his presentation and it was fascinating and very dynamic!

The morning began with a celebration of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter's receipt of the Cum Laude Award from INFORMS at the INFORMS Conference in Phoenix, earlier this month, complete with a cake.
And we took a photo of the officers present.
It was great for the audience to have a chance to mingle with the speaker and one another before the presentation.
 And we enjoyed Dr. Knodler's Transportation Center socks - great branding!

Professor Knodler was introduced by this year's Chapter President, Katerina Deliali.

Professor Knodler began his presentation with the question: "What is OR (Operations Research)?" and stated that their work in transportation is to get OR into practice. He emphasized the incredible diversity of transportation and that the Center has 100 different funded topics in 60 different areas. The UMass Transportation Center links researchers with practitioners and now even includes an Aviation Center with an air traffic control simulator. Several of those affiliated with the Center are also conducting research on drones.
In his presentation he described some of the innovations to enhance traffic safety from signals to infrastructure design and also emphasized that recently the number of traffic deaths have been increasing in the US. He highlighted the many different modes of transportation introduced fairly recently, from electric bikes and scooters to under development, even hovercraft. He also spoke about complete streets and complete networks.

A highlight was when he brought out a Segway (and then another one was delivered) and brave members in the audience had the opportunity to ride one.

What very much impressed me was how the research done at the Transportation Center has become policy not only in the state of Massachusetts but even nationally.

After the great presentation and exciting Q&A we took a group photo.

Then it was time for lunch at the University Club and continuing conversations. Professor Knodler, though, had a meeting, and had to miss the desserts.
We thank Professor Knodler for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to share with us the exciting contributions of his research group and the UMass Amherst Transportation Center!

For more photos, do check out the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter writeup by Haris Csipetas.