Transport Engineering

Transport Engineering GroupThe Transport Engineering Research Group at UNSW aims to build knowledge and bring research to practice in order to make transportation systems efficient, reliable, affordable and sustainable.

Despite being relatively young, the Transport Engineering Research Group is recognised nationally and internationally for performing high quality theoretical and applied research in a diverse set of domains of transport engineering.

The Transport Engineering Research Groupis the only one of its kind in Australia actively doing research on a comprehensive set of areas related to transport engineering including:

  • network design
  • optimisation
  • pricing
  • safety
  • planning
  • risk assessment
  • demand modelling
  • public transport analysis
  • traffic management
  • land use modelling
  • simulation
  • operation research.

Internationally, there are few transport engineering groups performing research on this diversity of areas as productively and effectively as the Transport Engineering Research Groupat UNSW.

The Transport Engineering Research Group has also been successful in establishing multidisciplinary collaborations with research centres at UNSW, in Australia and overseas, including with:

  • the UNSW Schools of Built Environment, Medicine, Aviation and Electrical Engineering,
  • NICTA, Sydney University and Monash University within Australia, and
  • the University of Texas-Austin, EPFL, Louisiana State University, University of Illinois at Chicago and Purdue University.

Research themes

  • Network Modelling (Professor Waller, Dr Gardner and Dr Rey)
  • Optimisation (Professor Waller, Dr Gardner and Dr Rey)
  • Pricing (Professor Waller and Dr Gardner)
  • Epidemiology (Dr Gardner and Dr Rey)
  • Travel demand modelling (Dr Rashidi and Dr Dixit) – Demand for transport is a derived demand and estimating and forecasting it requires precise understanding on how it is formed. Research in this area is conducted using the most advanced methods to develop mathematically tractable behavioural models, such as activity-based models to estimate demand for passenger and freight movements.
  • Experimental Economics (Dr Dixit)
  • Environmental Modelling (Dr Gardner, Dr Dixit and Dr Rashidi) – One of the most important externalities of transportation, especially in large metropolitan areas, is air pollution. Estimating emission from mobile sources, its dispersion and exposure of citizens to this pollution is a necessity of all transportation planning projects. The Group uses, explores and develops microscopic emission estimation techniques.
  • Safety (Dr Dixit, Dr Rashidi and Dr Xiong) – Through a constructive collaboration established with the GoGet carsharing company, several data sources are provided which offer the chance to model accident propensity for drivers and risk of crash at different roads. The use of such a data for safety analysis is being studied for the first time.
  • Traffic flow theory (Professor Waller and Dr Dixit)
  • Freight transportation, especially rail transport and goods movement in urban areas (Dr Doust and Dr Rashidi)
  • Air traffic management (Dr Rey)
  • Land use (Dr Rashidi and Professor Black) – How the pattern of land use changes over time in metropolitan areas directly affects travel demand. The most recent land use models explore disaggregate approaches to model the behaviour of individuals, firms and land developers with regard to land use. Research is focused on modelling housing search and job type and relocation behaviours using advanced econometrics methods. 
  • Operation Research (Professor Waller and Dr Rey)
  • Public Transport (Dr Vandebona)

Research staff

RCITI Staff 2015

The Group has been rapidly expanding, with 26 PhD and 4 Masters students in 2016.

Research achievements

The Transport Engineering Research Group has an impeccable record for securing funding from international and domestic agencies and governmental and non-governmental organisations. In 2013 the Transport Engineering Research Group received over $3 million through grants and industry projects.

The Group has two Linkage projects from Australian Research Council, one partnered with the GoGet company and the other one with Transport Simulation Systems Australia for a total of almost $900,000, one Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Funding (LIEF) grant for establishing the Travel Choice Simulation Laboratory (TRACSLab) at UNSW ($390,000) and a project funded by Transport for New South Wales for $1.5 million to improve the transportation planning framework of Sydney Metropolitan Area.

Since 2010 the Group has more than 250 top tier publications.  

Research facilities

The Travel Choice Simulation Laboratory (TRACSLab) is a unique facility enabling the Group’s researchers to produce cutting-edge research by simulating the kind of data which is almost impossible to collect in the real world.

The Group is collaborating with the GoGet carsharing company to study driving safety and the development of autonomous vehicles. The research being conducted with GoGet is of great value, since it informs improvements with regards to safety and the efficient use of the transportation network.