Sept. 3-9, 1999
Vol. 29, Issue 27
Inside UVA Online
the Newsletter for Faculty & Staff at the University of Virginia
Back Issues
Virginia's Smart Travel Lab keeps traffic flowing
Program aims to make high school students lifelong voters
Hot Links
Getting religion via the Web

Get on TRAK to look up administrative info

Nobel Prize winner Soyinka to lecture
Spectrum Theatre presentation
Football perks
Richardson lecture kicks off Medical Center Hour
Employee's child receives scholarship

Fall semester commences Sept. 1

How to have a good meeting
Nostalgic note cards on sale soon


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Move-in Day

Kathy Kayser
Some 2,925 first-year students moved into 37 residence halls Saturday, Aug. 28. Each dorm had a welcoming theme, and upperclass students wearing brown and green T-shirts greeted families and assisted new students. Here, resident adviser Paul McIntosh dons a straw hat and shades in keeping with his hall's upbeat message: "Don't Worry, Be Humphreys." For more move-in day scenes and a profile of the entering class, see article "Fall semester commences Sept. 1."

Virginia's Smart Travel Laboratory keeps traffic flowing in metropolitan areas

By Charlotte Crystal

Brian Smith
Rebecca Arrington
Brian Smith, assistant professor of civil engineering, is co-director of the Smart Travel Lab, based at U.Va., which interprets signals from highway video cameras to monitor traffic flow. The lab works with VDOT's Virginia Beach Smart Traffic Center to help its staff quickly spread the word about traffic slowdowns or accidents by notifying drivers via message signs on the road and highway advisory radio announcements.

If Brian Smith has his way, traffic forecasts will someday be as common as weather forecasts.

Research under way at Virginia's Smart Travel Laboratory at U.Va. will help drivers in metropolitan areas better predict traffic patterns and adjust their travel plans accordingly, whether to ease a daily commute or avoid holiday traffic, such as that expected during the coming Labor Day weekend, said Smith, co-director of the lab and a research assistant professor of civil engineering.

The lab also expects to help the Virginia Department of Transportation analyze massive amounts of traffic data piped in from the congested Washington and Hampton Roads metro areas. More effective interpretation of the data will help VDOT respond faster to changing traffic conditions and improve the flow of traffic.

Established in 1998, the lab conducts cutting-edge research that combines historical data with traffic-simulation models to create forecasts of traffic volume and travel times. U.Va. researchers also have helped VDOT design and upgrade its sensing systems and identify and fix faulty sensors.

The lab is directed by Smith and Cathy McGhee, a civil engineer with the Virginia Transportation Research Council, the research arm of VDOT. Other U.Va. professors of civil and systems engineering who specialize in transportation issues and a contingent of undergraduate and graduate students round out the center's staffing. Funding is provided primarily by U.Va., VDOT, the Virginia Transportation Research Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The lab is currently working with VDOT's Smart Traffic Center in Virginia Beach, which receives traffic data from 600 vehicle sensors and features a wall of 38 video monitors linked to cameras set up along 19 miles of the area's most congested roads, Interstates 64 and 264. Smart Traffic Center controllers monitor the camera images 24 hours a day and can respond to traffic slowdowns or accidents quickly by contacting a Freeway Incident Response Team and notifying the traveling public of the adverse conditions via variable message signs and highway advisory radio announcements. Full story.

© Copyright 1999 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

Managing Editor
Anne Bromley

Online Web Editor
Karen Asher

Staff Writers
Rebecca Arrington
Dan Heuchert
Nancy Hurrelbrinck

Charlotte Crystal
Ida Lee Wootten
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