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Center for Sustainable Mobility uses applicable research to make a difference

VTTI's Center for Sustainable Mobility (CSM) conducts relevant research that directly impacts societal needs related to transportation mobility, the environment, safety, and energy. The Center conducts its research through a number of methods including, but not limited to, transportation multi-modal network control, traffic state prediction, large-scale transportation system modeling, and developing environmentally friendly and safe transportation systems.

Director Hesham Rakha, a VTTI employee since 2004, focuses on tackling issues that can have a long-term impact.

“You see the outcome of your work as helping society and helping humanity,” Rakha said. “I love being able to work on unique and challenging problems every day.”

Rakha believes that with additional financial support his center could ascend to new heights. His wish list includes on-board portable emission measurement devices for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) that would enable vehicles to collect emissions data as they are driving on the roadway. This data could then be used to create models and control algorithms based on these models for the vehicles. In addition, Rakha sees a need to branch out from naturalistic data collection and understand the context for why drivers take certain actions on the roadway. New models are needed that would combine naturalistic data with information gathered from drones to understand the behaviors of vehicles and drivers as they respond to the traffic and vehicles around them.

CSM researchers also plan to build scaled-down connected automated vehicles to test various technologies in a low-crash-risk realistic environment, while at the same time capturing all the latencies and inaccuracies associated with real implementations. Finally, Rakha sees a need to expand his modeling tools to model various ground transportation modes (pedestrians, bicyclists, e-bikes, scooters, and e-scooters). In order to do that, there is a need to collect data on these modes to understand their movement and the interactions for these various modes of transportation.

Rakha emphasizes that his center's work encompasses VTTI's core missions while also making an impact on the next generation.

“Our research is very applied because we are trying to solve real problems and address real needs,” said Rakha. “I love being able to teach people and contribute to saving the environment and saving lives.”

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