SC State, Clyburn Transportation Center train future logistics professionals on advanced software

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SC State University’s Transportation Program, in partnership with the James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center (JECUTC), hosted a two-day training session on TRANSIMS, a cutting-edge transportation analysis tool that provides detailed simulations of large geographic areas. The training for the program, which organizers say is used by many transportation planning agencies and researchers, was the first ever conducted in South Carolina by the Argonne National Laboratory, according to training coordinators.  


Training on the program was presented to an audience of SC State faculty and students in the Master of Science in transportation program, from April 14-15 on the campus of SC State.


Short for Transportation Analysis and Simulation System, TRANSIMS is very useful for travel demand modeling, large-scale transportation network simulation and air quality analyses. It can also be used to conduct a host of other transportation analyses, including optimal traffic control, emergency evacuation modeling and transit planning.


Noting that South Carolina has several nuclear facilities, training organizer and SC State Assistant Professor of Transportation, Dr. Yuanchang Xie, said the program’s capabilities can be used to better position the state in the event of an emergency involving nuclear power plants.


“This software can simulate very large cities such as Houston and Chicago,” he said. “It can also simulate the movement of each individual vehicle and pedestrian. In the event of an emergency similar to the hurricane in New Orleans or more recently, the nuclear crisis in Japan, this tool can help us develop better and more efficient evacuation plans.”


Xie, who is also conducting research with the JECUTC, added that TRANSIMS will better prepare students for jobs in transportation. “The goal is to have our students well prepared for the future,” he said.


The training provided to the students as well as other educational and research opportunities, including scholarships, encompass a few of the transportation center’s main goals, explained Dr. Charles Wright, JECUTC  executive director.  


“Part of our mission is capacity building,” he said. “We are tasked with training logistics professionals; thus, we partner with the transportation program to provide the latest technology to keep our students more competitive and allow for more in-depth research to address the logistics needs of the state and the nation.”


When asked about their training experience, students were favorable toward the center’s latest software acquisition.


Da’ Veda Sistrunk, a graduate student in the transportation program, called the training session “very beneficial,” and hopes to have more exposure to the system. 


Her colleague, James Burgess, agreed.


“This is a really good system to use for transportation planning,” he said. “A working knowledge of the program allows you to do better forecasting especially in the area of transportation planning.”


Burgess, who is preparing for a summer internship for the Department of Transportation’s Research Innovative Technology Administration in Washington D.C., believes the exposure will also increase his competitiveness in the field.


For more information on the master’s of transportation program at SC State University, contact Dr. Yuanchang Xie, who also serves as the coordinator for the academic program, at yxie@scsu.edu or  (803) 536-8321.