Civil Remarks is a publication from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland.
The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland

Feature Story

UMD Transportation Engineers Evaluate Costs of Traffic Jams, Congestion

When metropolitan area drivers hear the word, “traffic,” most often another word comes to mind: congestion.

According to a study issued earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Transportation, congestion will no longer be a headache confined to areas surrounding the country’s largest cities. In fact, “Beyond Traffic 2045: Trends and Choices” states that, “short of land use plans that expressly curtail it, sprawl is likely to remain a dominant development pattern and, if we do not act, congestion will be much more widespread.”

While this trend could spell more headaches for everyday commuters, congestion also poses a major economic problem, according to Mark Franz, Assistant Director of Outreach and Technology Transfer for the National Transportation Center at the University of Maryland (NTC@Maryland).

“What people might not realize as they’re sitting in traffic is the number of commercial vehicles also impacted by congestion and jams,” he said. “When you’re thinking in terms of a passenger vehicle versus a commercial freight vehicle, the cost for the freight vehicle sitting in traffic is significantly higher. To start, the person driving that vehicle is working on the clock. Second, the material he or she is transporting is being delayed, which means final delivery could be impacted. As such, there’s a cost associated not only with the person in the vehicle, but also the goods that are being transported by that vehicle.” Full Story

Cracked Rails: How Engineering Could Explain Your Late Arrival to Work


Throughout the capital region, it is no secret that winter temperatures can fluctuate dramatically over the course of just a few hours, particularly as close calls with weather events send air temperatures downward, even as snow totals remain low. According to University of Maryland Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Chair Chuck Schwartz, it is this sudden change in temperature that, at times, spells trouble for Metro rail riders.

“As temperatures fall, not only do stresses increase as the rails contract, but the fracture resistance—the ‘strength’—of the steel in the rails also decreases,” Schwartz said. “Higher thermal contraction stresses, combined with lower strength of the steel, equates to a crack in the rail.” Full Story
 

Knight, Link Share Insights on White House Flood Zone Standards

Department of Civil and Environmental (CEE) Senior Research Engineers Sandra Knight and Ed Link weighed in on an Engineering News-Record report on the Obama administration’s decision to tighten standards for determining where federally funded infrastructure projects in floodplains should be situated. Knight and Link were quoted in the article stating that the executive order is “a positive step forward in reducing flood risk and protecting federal investments.” » Read more


Fu Publishes Computational Analysis and Design of Bridge Structures


Research Professor Chung Fu’s 600-page Computational Analysis and Design of Bridge Structures book was published by CRC Press, Taylor & Frances Group, this past December. Fu co-authored the book along with Shuqing Wang, research fellow and bridge consultant at the University of Maryland Bridge Engineering Software and Technology (BEST) Center.
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Gabriel Receives Humboldt Research Award


CEE Professor Steven Gabriel received a Humboldt Research Award from the the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to study energy market modeling in Berlin. Gabriel will concentrate on developing equilibrium modeling/algorithms with discrete restrictions.
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CEE Transportation Engineers Tackle Key Topics during TRB 94th Annual Meeting 


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering transportation engineering researchers made their presence known at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 94th Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C., Jan. 11-15. Additionally, the A. James Clark School of Engineering hosted two post-TRB events: the First Outsourced Probe Data Symposium on Jan. 15, and the “Autos, People and Policies: Addressing the Issues of the New Millennium” workshop on Jan. 16. » Read more


Galloway Weighs in on Climate-Related Risks to Mississippi River 


Research Professor and retired Army Brigadier General Gerry Galloway contributed to a Jan. 12 Yale Climate Connections podcast on climate-related risks to the Mississippi River. As noted in the report, a major disruption of the Mississippi River could spell severe repercussions for U.S. economic and national security interests. » Read more


Kjellerup Joins CEE Faculty 


The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and the A. James Clark School of Engineering welcomed CEE's newest faculty member, Assistant Professor in Environmental Microbiology and Pedro E. Wasmer Professor in Engineering Birthe Venø Kjellerup. Kjellerup, whose research interests include evaluation of microbial biofilms, aerobic and anaerobic degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and biocorrosion in drinking water and oil distribution pipelines, served as an assistant professor at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md. before joining the Clark School.
 

Project Management

Second Annual Symposium to Feature NASA, U.S. GAO, and More

On June 8-9, 2015, project management professionals and academics from across the country and abroad will gather for the Baltimore-Washington region’s second annual Project Management Symposium held at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park, Md. Keynote speakers will include Chip Hastie, Vice President of Clark Construction Group, LLC; Ed Hoffman, NASA Chief Knowledge Officer and Karen Richey, Assistant Director for the Applied Research and Methods Team at the U.S. Government Accountability Office. » Read more
 

ASCE Maryland

Suit Up & Be Civil Networking Reception and Dinner: March 2

For the first time in the history of ASCE Maryland, students, professionals and faculty will meet under one roof for a networking reception and dinner. This Monday, March 2, ASCE will host Suit Up & Be Civil from 5:30—9:00 p.m. at UMD's Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. Keynote speaker David S. Thaler, President of DS Thaler & Associates, will present “Sprawlburbia—The American Dream?” Tickets are required for entry. Email suitupbecivil@gmail.com with any questions or to register.
 
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