Smart, Safer, Sustainable Transportation Laboratory

Smart, Safer, Sustainable Transportation (S3Trans) Lab, located in Room LL06B on the lower level of W.S. Speed Hall, was developed by Assistant Professor, Dr. Zhixia (Richard) Li in December 2016. The lab is used for both teaching and research activities in the transportation engineering program at the CEE Department.

The S3Trans Lab aims at tackling operational and safety challenges in the existing and future transportation systems via taking advantage of the emerging technologies in transportation and cyber industry. By harnessing innovations from information sciences, communication engineering, computing, traffic sensor technology, system engineering, connected and autonomous vehicles as well as social media, the Lab strives to contribute to a better transportation system that strengthens user safety and security, increases societal mobility, cuts down on massive traffic congestion, curbs energy consumption and vehicle emissions, boosts the environment sustainability, and ultimately reduces chance of health problems caused by traffic emission.

Particularly, as an interdisciplinary research hub, The S3Trans Lab is targeted at blending technologies from various disciplines with harmony to optimize our transportation system. On the other hand, advancement of transportation in turn offers opportunities for improving urban planning and enriching social science with consideration of the new transportation modes, exploring driver’s/traffic psychology under vehicle-highway automation and connectivity, improving traffic law enforcement via data mining, and etc. In addition, The S3Trans Lab owns two state-of-the-art microwave radar detector: Intersector. The detector is capable of tracking and collecting vehicle trajectories from as far as 600 feet. The data collection frequency can be up to 10 Hz. Addtionally, the S3Trans Lab has computers that have the most recent version of the standard microsimulation software VISSIM (Version 9) installed, which are capable of running large scale traffic simulation analysis and with distributed computing power.

To support human factors related research, the S3Trans Lab has a NADS (National Advanced Driving Simulator) miniSim driving simulator, which is approved and currently also in use in US Department of Transportation labs, including NHTSA’s miniSim Lab located at US DOT’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, VA. NHTSA and NADS developed scenarios will run on the miniSim. miniSim records high fidelity data with more than 100 variables at 60Hz.

As raw data is recorded, user can modify data reduction and measures after the drive is done. miniSim uses high-resolution tiles to create road networks, resulting in very realistic, immersive environments that can be quickly assembled by the user. miniSim comes with the ‘Springfield’ environment that contains 230 miles of roadway,178 intersections,143 traffic signals, and 1362 signs.

Rooted in the CEE Department, the S3Trans Lab conducts cutting-edge research via initiating interdisciplinary research to promote smart, safer and sustainable transportation. Currently, the lab staff has three Ph.D. research assistants, and two undergraduate research assistants. The S3Trans Lab has secured research funds from Kentucky NSF EPSCoR, NSF I/UCRC for Efficient Vehicles and Sustainable Transportation Systems (EV-STS), UofL’s Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research (CCTSJR), and UofL’s EVPRI’s Office. As an interdiciplanry research facility, the Lab is working closely with Speed School faculties, and facilities from College of Arts and Sciences, Kent School of Social Work, School of Public Health and Information Sciences., and UofL Human Trafficking Research Initiative. The S3Trans Lab has been seeking collaboration with Louisville Metro Government, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky Transportation Center, US Department of Transportation, and other State DOTs to continue to promote smart, safer, and sustainable transportation.