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Lab Sheds New Light on Intelligent Traffic Systems

A new laboratory will help students in the College of Engineering and Technology see traffic in a whole new light.

The ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) Information and Infrastructure Laboratory or I3 (pronounced “I-cubed”) at the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha will be used as a multidisciplinary research and education platform.

Intelligent transportation systems apply information technology and telecommunications infrastructure to improve the overall efficiency of existing and future transportation networks.

The lab will provide a research intensive educational environment for undergraduate and graduate students in transportation engineering, computer and electronics engineering, computer science and other intelligent transportation systems disciplines. Research areas of study will include:

• basic traffic flow characteristics over a long period of time;
• signal control strategies;
• various visualization techniques to enhance and improve current traffic monitoring techniques;
• communication needs associated with intelligent transportation systems; and
• methods and mechanisms for traffic database management and database sharing

“This kind of multidisciplinary teaching and research opportunity should make the I3 Lab a focal point for transportation education and research at the University of Nebraska and throughout the region,” said Elizabeth Jones, director of the lab and an assistant professor of civil engineering.

Students and faculty will monitor the Pacific Street and 72nd Street corridors near the Institute using control equipment located in the lab’s traffic management center and on the street. This provides students with hands-on experience in a real-world situation, Jones said.

“The project and lab are significantly enhanced by a close working partnership with the City of Omaha,” she said. “The city donated time and labor in the installation of the equipment and donated traffic control equipment inside the traffic management center.”

Gary Duncan, senior vice president of new product development at Econolite, said the work of the Peter Kiewit Institute complements Econolite’s mission of “providing innovative solutions for the transportation management systems market.”

In business since 1933, Econolite Control Products Inc. manufactures advanced traffic management equipment and systems, including advanced traffic controllers, pre-timed controllers, the trademarked Aries and “icons” traffic management systems, Autoscope video vehicle detection systems, arterial system masters, vehicle and pedestrian signals, and traffic control cabinets.

— Constance Walter