Upcoming Events

Syndicate content
Upcoming Events
Updated: 13 hours 26 min ago

Transit-Oriented Development: Putting it all Together, Mar 20-29

13 hours 26 min ago
Transit-oriented development (TOD) has emerged as a powerful, effective way to integrate land use and public transit. TOD done right links smart growth and sustainability with higher capacity rail or bus transit services. This linkage takes place in the environs of the rail passenger station or the bus rapid transit stop. TOD concentrates workplaces, residences, and supporting retail services within convenient walking distance of rail or bus rapid transit service. In doing so, TOD brings customers to public transit services as well as creates vibrant, mixed-use communities. There are many challenges in creating successful TODs. These include building effective public-private partnerships, ensuring multi-modal TOD access for the "last mile" and beyond, "right-sizing parking", and balancing private and public uses to create a unique place identify.

Traffic Signal Design: Engineering Concepts, Mar 29-30

13 hours 26 min ago
This newly updated course covers basic concepts, standards, and practices related to the design and installation of traffic signals. Within the framework of the California Vehicle Code, California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD), and Chapter 9 on Highway Lighting from Caltrans Traffic Manual, this course will explore the relationship among various engineering disciplines as foundations for signal design; introduce signal phasing diagrams, signal controllers and cabinets; explain the layouts of signal heads, signal poles, conductor schedule, and associated signal conduits, pullboxes, wiring, interconnects, detection and safety lighting. The course includes lectures, sample problems, and exercise projects that will familiarize the course participant with the design process for a simple signal design plan, and to provide for a unit-price-based cost estimate. While this course will focus only on the introductory engineering aspects in signal design and introduce some local agencies' equivalent standards and specifications that vary from Caltrans, the goal is for the course participants to become familiar with standards and specifications that guide the design and lead to successful project delivery of an operational traffic signal.

Transit-Oriented Development: Putting it all Together, Mar 20-29

Sun, 03/26/2017 - 03:10
Transit-oriented development (TOD) has emerged as a powerful, effective way to integrate land use and public transit. TOD done right links smart growth and sustainability with higher capacity rail or bus transit services. This linkage takes place in the environs of the rail passenger station or the bus rapid transit stop. TOD concentrates workplaces, residences, and supporting retail services within convenient walking distance of rail or bus rapid transit service. In doing so, TOD brings customers to public transit services as well as creates vibrant, mixed-use communities. There are many challenges in creating successful TODs. These include building effective public-private partnerships, ensuring multi-modal TOD access for the "last mile" and beyond, "right-sizing parking", and balancing private and public uses to create a unique place identify.

Changing Fuel Loading Behavior to Improve Airline Fuel Efficiency, Mar 24

Sun, 03/26/2017 - 03:10
Abstract: Airlines rely on flight dispatchers to perform the duty of fuel planning. The required trip fuel is calculated by airlines’ Flight Planning Systems (FPS). However, the FPS trip fuel predictions are not always accurate. If planned trip fuel is higher than actual trip fuel, then a flight will waste fuel by carrying excess fuel weight. On the other hand, if trip fuel is under-estimated, then a flight might run into fuel emergency. In practice, dispatchers may also load contingency fuel to mitigate the risks of under-prediction. FPS also calculates recommended contingency fuel quantity for dispatchers called statistical contingency fuel (SCF). However, dispatchers will almost always load extra fuel above suggested SCF values. Therefore, airline fuel efficiency can be improved by more accurate fuel predictions, a deeper understanding of dispatchers’ fuel loading behavior, and more reliable SCF recommendations. Based on a large scale flight fuel loading dataset provided by a US major airline, an ensemble learning algorithm is proposed to improve fuel burn prediction. This method is found to reduce prediction error by over 50% compared to airline’s own predictions. By merging with a dispatcher survey, we are able to integrate dispatchers’ latent attributes into contingency fuel loading modeling. Furthermore, random quantile forests method will also be discussed in improving SCF recommendations. The benefit of improved fuel efficiency will be measured by estimating cost-to-carry reduced unnecessary fuel loading.

Bio: Lei Kang is a Ph.D. candidate of the Institute of Transportation Studies in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley. He received a Master of Arts degree in Biostatistics from the Division of Biostatistics at University of California, Berkeley. He also obtained his Master’s degree in Transportation and Infrastructure Systems Engineering from Purdue University. Lei's Bachelor’s degree is in Transportation Engineering from Tongji University in Shanghai, China. He is a member of the Committee on Airfield and Airspace Capacity and Delay, Transportation Research Board. His research interests are in the application of statistical methods and machine learning techniques to air traffic management and airline fuel loading decisions. He is also interested in causal inference in the area of traffic safety.

Introduction to Antiterrorism Design Consulting, Mar 13

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 03:10
Enhancing security through building design requires a complex series of trade-offs. Security concerns need to be balanced with many other design constraints such as accessibility, initial and life-cycle costs, natural hazard mitigation, fire protection, energy efficiency, and aesthetics. Because the probability of attack is very small, there is a strong desire to minimize physical security to maximize functionality. At the same time, because the effects of an attack can be catastrophic, there is a desire to save lives and minimize business interruption in the unlikely event of an attack.

This presentation will provide the background needed to intelligently think through the key issues related to bombings targeting buildings and provide effective practical solutions for likely threat scenarios.

Geometric Design for California, Mar 14-16

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 03:10
This 3-day course covers the principles and best practices of roadway geometric design for various functional classes of roadways, including local streets, arterials and freeways, intersections and interchanges. This course focuses on practical, real world applications of geometric design methods. Developed with professionals in California in mind, the course will use design standards and guidelines in the Caltrans Highway Design Manual, the AASHTO "Greenbook," and other materials as appropriate. In addition to the geometric design focus, this course also addresses topics related to successful design and re-design practices in California, including stage construction, traffic handling, value analysis, context sensitive approach, owners to designers, etc. This fast-paced, hands-on course combines presentations, case-study examples, problem-solving and class exercises, with ample opportunity for networking and questions.

Pavement Management Systems and Preservation Strategies, Mar 15-16

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 03:10
Pavement networks are often the most valuable asset that an agency owns. This asset is not only expensive to replace, but it is an essential component to the traveling public's safety. Agencies are looking for more cost-effective ways to perform engineering, maintenance, management, and rehabilitation of roadways more than ever before to stretch funding allocations. A pavement management system is an essential tool to assist in cost-effective roadway maintenance planning.

Making the Most of Disaster: From Forensic Investigations and Research to Changes in Policy and Practice, Mar 16

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 03:10
The disastrous flooding of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 laid bare the effects of more than five decades of neglect with regard both policy and funding for U.S. levees and flood protection systems. In the immediate aftermath of Katrina’s arrival, the American Society of Civil Engineers “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure” rated flood protection as one of the two worst elements of U.S. infrastructure, with a grade of “D-”. Egregious disasters are a costly way to learn. But they also represent important opportunities not only for learning, but also for effecting much needed changes in both policies and practice. Forensic investigation, targeted research, the inception of the new U.S. National Levee Safety Program (currently projected to last multiple decades and to require more than $100 billion), the massive California Central Valley Levee Program (CVLP) which served as a test-bed for the evolving national efforts, and ongoing changes in national policies and engineering design standards and protocols all represent beneficial outfalls from the original disaster. These will lead to important improvements in public safety throughout all 50 states, and they are expected to be emulated in other countries as well. It is never pleasant nor easy to investigate major disasters, but once a disaster has occurred, the most important thing that we can do is to optimize the resulting opportunities to ensure that similar disasters are less likely to occur in the future.

Bayesian Optimization and Self Driving Cars, Mar 17

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 03:10
Abstract: An important property of embedded learning systems is the ever-changing environment they create for all algorithms operating in the system. Optimizing the performance of those algorithms becomes a perpetual online activity rather than a one-off task. I will review some of these challenges in autonomous vehicles. I will discuss active optimization methods and their application in robotics and scientific applications, focusing on scaling up the dimensionality and managing multi-fidelity evaluations. I will finish with lessons learned and thoughts on future directions as we strive to bring autonomous vehicles into widespread use.

Bio: Dr. Jeff Schneider is the engineering lead for machine learning at Uber's Advanced Technologies Center. He is also a research professor in the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science. He has 20 years experience developing, publishing, and applying machine learning algorithms in government, science, and industry. He has more than 100 publications and regularly gives talks and tutorials on the subject.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Seminar, Mar 10

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 03:10
A building’s resistance to fire is the ability of the structure to withstand a combination of gravity loads and the induced thermal loads without undergoing failure either during the heating or cooling phases of the fire. Many researchers internationally have investigated the performance of steel-frame buildings in fire. However, few of them have examined U.S. building construction practices. This presentation will focus on the thermal and structural behavior of simple (shear) connections used in steel-frame buildings through experimental and numerical investigations. The experimental approach included the use of high-temperature ceramic fiber radiant heaters, vertical loading, and advanced thermal instrumentation. Sequentially-coupled thermal-structural 3D finite element models were developed to evaluate both the thermal and structural response of composite beams with simple connections. The thermal and structural behavior of simple connections was evaluated as an isolated connection, as a part of a one-bay composite beam, three-bay composite beam, and as a part of a full ten-story office building. The results were compared with simplified methodologies developed by previous researchers to provide a simple design method without having to perform extensive thermal and structural analyses.

California Transportation Planning Conference, Mar 3-5

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 03:10
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in partnership with the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) at University of California, Berkeley present the: 2017 California Transportation Planning Conference, Partnering for Sustainable Transportation: Meeting the Challenge Now and Into the Future.

This three-day conference will provide attendees the opportunity to interact with transportation practitioners and decision-makers, exchange ideas and learn about emerging technologies and advancements in transportation planning from national, state, and local experts. The conference will focus on themes around sustainability and how we can partner to meet the challenges facing us now and into the future as required by California legislation and influenced by funding constraints.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Departmental Seminar, Mar 6

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 03:10
Responding to engineering challenges of the magnitude created by climate change requires bridging disciplinary divides in assessing structural performance. The PEER framework for performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE) is one example of a decision-oriented approach that combines efficient treatment of uncertainty with advanced models for structural performance. In addition to influencing practice, design codes, and earthquake engineering research, the PEER framework has motivated the development of analogous frameworks for several hazards, including fire, wind, hurricane, and scour. While these adaptations of the PEER framework have contributed many new ideas, they have also, in some cases, violated fundamental assumptions necessary to the validity of PBE.

The development of a framework for performance-based durability engineering (PBDE) required the derivation from fundamentals of a new approach to accommodate the gradual process of deterioration. The framework is novel in the durability engineering field in its full consideration of uncertainty over a structural lifespan from initial climate analyses to final impact analyses. Building on lessons learned in the development of PBDE, a proposed framework for multi-hazard PBE can accommodate interdependencies between deterioration (related to exposure or hazard-induced damage) and structural performance. While current efforts in the development of multi-hazard PBE are focused on the framework’s application to individual buildings, future efforts are envisioned to broaden its scope, e.g., to regional-scale analyses of bridges subjected to both extreme events such as floods and routine degradation mechanisms such as scour.

Topics covered will include the derivation of the durability and multi-hazard frameworks, and research questions that arise in PBE at the intersection of analysis stages. In particular, studies of methods for selecting appropriate meteorological time-series when using multi-physics deterioration models in PBDE, and the selection of appropriate intensity measures in PBEE using quantitative metrics for sufficiency and efficiency, will be discussed.

Transportation as a Language: Mobility management of China’s urban billion, Mar 10

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 03:10
Abstract: The rapid urbanization and economic growth in China uniquely characterize her transportation challenges and corresponding solutions. Extraordinary growth calls for extraordinary measures. Boldness in both infrastructure development and policy design seems commonplace in China’s transportation arena. This talk, however, will present the subtleties in these bold designs through three stories: the rise and decline of bicycles, the high speed rail and mega-regionalization, and contrasting policy models of automobile management. I see urban transportation as a language, to describe a person, to characterize a city, and to understand an institution in contemporary Chinese society. The talk starts and ends with the speculations of the (im)possibility of sustainable transportation in China and a glimpse of hope.

Bio: Jinhua Zhao is the Edward and Joyce Linde Assistant Professor of Urban Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. He holds Master of Science, Master of City Planning and Ph.D. degrees from MIT and a Bachelor's degree from Tongji University. Prof. Zhao brings behavioral science and transportation technology together to improve urban mobility systems and policies. He also studies China’s urbanization and urban mobility. Prof. Zhao directs the Urban Mobility Lab at MIT.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Seminar, Mar 3

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 04:10
This talk will highlight two research themes. In the field of earthquake engineering, understanding the rocking of structures is both essential for the assessment of existing structures and promising for the design of novel seismic systems. Regarding assessment, the seismic collapse of masonry structures will first be considered, and a new framework which aims to significantly improve code-based procedures for assessment of collapse will be presented. Regarding design, more stringent seismic performance objectives are inspiring new design methods which aim to reduce or locate damage, even for large earthquakes. One such method, which uses rocking to isolate the structure from the ground motion, will be considered. In particular, the dynamics of flexible rocking structures, and new experiments on their interaction with soil, will be presented.
In the field of civil infrastructure, both the degradation of aging structures and the effects of new construction on existing structures are of global concern, particularly with increasing urbanization. Within this second research theme, this talk will focus on: 1) new centrifuge testing and computational modeling results that improve understanding of the response of existing surface structures to tunneling, and 2) new monitoring results that quantify the behavior of severely damaged rail bridges. The combination of improved modeling and monitoring is essential to improve maintenance and mitigation procedures related to major civil infrastructure assets.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Seminar, Feb 27

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 04:10
Wind effects on flexible structures such as high-rise buildings and long-span bridges, governed by the Navier-Stokes equations, are not adequately represented by a conventional linear analysis framework. This shortcoming is becoming significant for contemporary structures, as their increasing heights/spans and constantly changing cross-sections make them more sensitive to nonlinear and unsteady aerodynamic load effects. This presentation focuses on developing a unified analysis framework for nonlinear aerodynamics in the context of cable-supported bridges by responding to the following key questions: (1) What are the typical nonlinear behaviors observed from wind-tunnel studies and full-scale observations? (2) What are the effects of nonlinearity and unsteadiness on bridge aerodynamics? (3) What is the ability of existing nonlinear models to capture nonlinear and unsteady effects? (4) Is it possible to go beyond the current nonlinear models, and establish more effective nonlinear unsteady low-dimensional modeling techniques? To this end, the higher-order spectral scheme is utilized to identify aerodynamic nonlinearity. The effects of nonlinearity and unsteadiness on bridge aerodynamics are evaluated by comparing aerodynamic responses derived from various semi-empirical models. Current models set in the conventional analysis framework are reviewed to understand their ability in simulating nonlinear unsteady aerodynamics. Several advanced low-dimensional modeling techniques, characterized by different levels of analysis of nonlinearity and unsteadiness, are then proposed. These include an artificial-neural-network approach, a nonlinear moving-average model, and a Volterra series-based model. The fidelity with which the proposed approaches are able to simulate nonlinear bridge aerodynamics is verified through data based on wind-tunnel tests or computational fluid dynamics.

Design Field Notes: Avery Trufelman, Feb 28

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 04:10
About Design Field Notes:
Each informal talk in this pop-up series brings a design practitioner to a Jacobs Hall teaching studio to share ideas, projects, and practices.

About this talk:
Avery Trufelman is a producer at 99% Invisible, the highly acclaimed podcast about "the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world." With 150 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.