Transportation Research

Transportation research at Oregon State University can be divided into two broad interest areas: 1) traditional transportation engineering (e.g., transportation planning, operations, design, and safety) and, 2) pavement design and pavement materials. There are overlapping interests, but faculty members Salvador Hernandez, Katharine Hunter-Zaworski, David Hurwitz, and Haizhong Wang principally lead research in the traditional transportation area, and faculty members Erdem Coleri, and Jason Weiss work in the pavements area. 

Faculty and Research

Transportation engineering faculty maintain active research programs, our main funding agencies include the National Science Foundation, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the Transit Cooperative Research Program, the Federal Railroad Administration, the US Department of Education, the National Institute of Disability Indpendent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans), and private industry.

  • Associate Professor Salvador Hernandez's methodological research interests and expertise are in the areas of statistical, econometric, and mathematical modeling, including discrete choice analysis. Dr. Hernandez’s research derives knowledge from social and computational sciences to create meaningful solutions for problems in Transportation Safety, Freight Logistics, and Transportation Systems Modeling. His current areas of research interest are: Transportation safety modeling of all modes encompassing crash countermeasures, crash and safety analysis, and statistical modeling; Use of large scale disaggregate data sets for developing strategic, tactical, and operational models and solution methods for problems that arise in the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary areas of transportation systems. Dr. Hernandez is also interested in the understanding and modeling of natural disasters related to forest fires and earthquakes.
  • Associate Professor Katharine Hunter-Zaworski's research interests are related to safe and dignified transportation and improving access to all modes of public transportation, including air and rail travel by people with mobility, sensory and cognitive disabilities. She is an international expert on the securement of wheeled mobility devices on both rail and bus modes of public transportation. She is also the lead author of new regulations for accessible lavatories on passenger air craft. Currently research is the spatial analysis of the new proposed regulations for the next generation of passenger rail cars.
  • Professor David Hurwitz conducts research in the areas of transportation human factors, transportation safety, traffic control devices, and engineering education. In particular, Dr. Hurwitz is interested in the consideration of user behavior in the design, evaluation, and innovation of surface transportation systems. Additionally, his research program contributes to advancing the state of the practice in transportation engineering education through the development of research based curricula, assessment tools, and learning theories. Dr. Hurwitz leverages the OSU Driving and Bicycling Simulator Laboratory and a significant array of traffic data collection tools to provide a more detailed understanding of how and why transportation systems perform the way they do.
  • Associate Professor Haizhong Wang's research interests are in the areas of (1) stochastic traffic flow models, traffic system planning and analysis in particular the impacts of emerging technologies such as connected and automated vehicles on traffic operations and future travel behavior; (2) an agent-based modeling and simulation (ABMS) to model behavioral heterogeneity (i.e., when, how, where to evacuate) for life safety and post-disaster mobility in multi-hazard emergency evacuation and disaster response; (3) a network of network (NON) approach to model interdependency for resilient lifeline infrastructure systems; (4) Complex adaptive system (CAS) for large-scale system modeling and simulation; (5) Mileage-based road user charge for alternative financing; and (6) Dada driven smart city and big data applications for urban mobility. In addition, Dr. Wang also conducts research on bicycle safety through GIS—based mapping and visualization of bicycle level of traffic stress and bicycle crashes to identify risk factors to facilitate the development of bicycle safety performance functions. Dr. Wang’s goal is to better transportation systems through innovative and interdisciplinary research. 
  • Assistant Professor Erdem Coleri's research interests are in the areas of sustainable pavement materials and structures, energy efficient pavement design strategies, and infrastructure health monitoring using wireless sensor networks. His research focuses on modeling and testing in several areas of pavement technology including asphalt binder and mixture characterization, aggregate characterization, asphalt mix and structural design, concrete materials testing, and concrete pavement design. The ultimate goal of his research is to encourage the use of more sustainable pavement materials, such as permeable pavements, rubber asphalt, warm-mix asphalt technologies, recycled asphalt pavements, recycled concrete, and alternative cement binders.
  • Professor Jason Weiss' research and teaching focus is on the development of mixture design procedures to reduce shrinkage, curling and cracking as well as test methods to evaluate the performance of these mixtures. Specifically, his research group is well known for work in the area of shrinkage reducing admixtures and internal curing. His research group has performed substantial research on the freeze-thaw performance of concrete and the durability of concrete exposed to deicing salts. This work has substantial impact on the durability of concrete pavements and the development of performance specifications for concrete pavements. His research group is well known for their use of a variety of test methods to assess transport properties in concrete and the use of these material properties in models that can predict the service live of concrete elements.


A hub for transportation engineering research at OSU is the Center for Accessible Transportation (CAT). Research at CAT is focused on solving problems related to accessible public transportation including intra-city and over-the-road-buses, trains, and air travel. Its goal is to make travel seamless, safe and dignified for all.

Another significant research facility is the OSU Driving and Bicycling Research Laboratory. The lab hosts a full scale driving simulator and a full scale bicycle simulator. The lab is unique as an experimental subject in the driving simulator can interact in the same virtual world simultaneously with an experimental subject in the bicycle simulator. The lab is focused on studying transportation operations and safety issues from a multimodal perspective.


  • "By Air & By Land"
  • "Safer solutions for the national truck parking crisis"

Graduate Student Spotlights

  • Kamilah Buker
  • Dylan Anderson 

Examples of Research Papers and Projects

  • “Impact of High-Pressure Tires and Single-Tired Axles in Oregon,” Bell, C., Randhawa, S., and Xu, Z., Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Issue 1540, pp. 132-141, 1996.
  • “A Time of Day Analysis of Crashes Involving Large Trucks in Urban Areas,” Pahukula, J., Hernandez, S., and Unnikrishnan, A., Accident Analysis and Prevention, V 75, pp. 155-163, 2014.
  • “Use of Mobility Devices on Paratransit Vehicles and Buses,” Hunter-Zaworski, K.M., and H.U. Rutenberg, TCRP Report 171, National Academies, Washington D.C., August 2014.
  • “Three- or Four-Section Displays for Permissive Left-Turns? Some Evidence from Simulator-Based Analysis of Driver Performance,” Hurwitz, D., Monsere, C., Marnell, P., Paulsen, K., Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Issue 2463, pp. 1-9, 2014.
  • “Potential Changes to Travel Behaviors & Patterns: A Fuzzy Cognitive Map Modeling Approach,” Vogt, R., Wang, H., Gregor, B., and Bettinardi, A., Transportation, V 42, pp. 1-18, October 2015. 
  • “Clogging Evaluation of Open Graded Friction Course Pavements Tested under Rainfall and Heavy Vehicle Simulators,” Coleri E., Kayhanian M., Harvey, J.T., Yang, K., Boone, J.M., Journal of Environmental Management, V 129, pp. 164-172, November 2013.
  • “Electrical Response of Mortar with Different Degrees of Saturation and Deicing Salt Solutions During Freezing and Thawing,” Farnam, Y., Todak, H., Spragg, R., Weiss, J., Cement and Concrete Composites, V 59, pp. 49-59, May 2015.