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The University of Cincinnati on Tuesday hosted an Uptown Innovation Transportation Corridor Forum, which showcased students’ smart transportation projects from courses in transportation engineering, urban planning and architecture.
Each project’s goal was to create a connected transportation network and accessible hub in the Uptown Innovation Corridor. The cooridor is a community partnership between UC, Uptown Consortium, the city of Cincinnati and other regional entities.
“We are using emerging technologies to promote economic development and improve the quality of life for local residents and employees,” said UC professor of intelligent transportation and civil engineering Heng Wei, Ph.D., co-coordinator of the grant that funded the six courses.
UC Forward, a university initiative that promotes interdisciplinary education opportunities, provided the grant. With a focus on improving surrounding community, the forum reflected the urban impact platform of UC’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here.
The Uptown Innovation Corridor, with its position between the university and downtown, provides a great location for a transportation network and hub. With UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub and the forthcoming Digital Futures Building, as well as a potential National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health laboratory, the area is at the center of industry and innovation. The area also provides great backdrop for students to test smart transportation projects.
“Students are applying their knowledge to a challenge in the real world,” said Wei. “The courses let students explore innovative solutions from the perspectives of technology, engineering, planning and architecture design.”
The courses let students explore innovative solutions from the perspectives of technology, engineering, planning and architecture design.
Heng Wei, UC professor of intelligent transportation and civil engineering
Students presented pedestrian-friendly solutions that focused on infrastructure design, like additional bike lanes, enhanced bus stops and autonomous shuttle routes. Several engineering students presented their work on traffic signal controls, using connected vehicle technologies to improve the timing of traffic lights and reduce the use of detectors that need regular maintenance.
A group of architecture graduate students presented designs of the transportation hub, applying simulation technology and eye-tracking software to visualize their models. Students in a geographical information systems course tracked each project in an online story map.
“This is collaborative coursework,” said Wei. “Socioeconomic changes affect land use. Traffic pressures affect new development. We need to work together to solve these problems.”
The presentations and posters will provide data for a final report, which may lead to more funding to plan a smart transportation hub. The forum highlighted UC’s commitment to leading urban public universities into a new era of innovation and impact.
“We feel excited with the opportunity offered through the UC Forward grant,” said Wei.
Featured image at top: A UC graduate student speaks at Tuesday's Uptown Innovation Transportation Corridor Forum. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing