The Autoscope Van in the Department of Transportation Studies is a mobile ITS data collecting system, which is named as Mobile Traffic Lab. It is equipped with two Autoscope Solo Pro cameras that are mounted on a 42′ telescoping mast. By connecting with the computer and video recording equipment in the van, these two cameras can simultaneously process, record and store traffic data.
The Autoscope van is an effective tool for collecting on-site, real time traffic data at any locations – heavily traveled freeways, busy signalized intersections, work zones, or remote rural locations. In addition, it is a non-intrusive data collection device – it does not require placing or installing any equipment in travel lanes. The Autoscope van will serve as a platform for a wider range of transportation studies.
The Driving Simulation Lab has a state-of-the-art motion capable high-fidelity driving simulator. The visual display consists of 3 large screens with 135-degree wide-angle field of view. In addition, auditory feedback is provided through stereo components. A motion – platform provides initial cues in the form of pitch and longitudinal motion. A validated vehicle dynamics program governs the behavior of the vehicles in the simulation. All of these provide a true-to-life, scientifically validated driving experience.
Students will have comprehensive training on various aspects including the design and creation of testing scenarios and the design of posterior questionnaires. Students will be well equipped with skills such as experimental design, computer programming, software application, questionnaire administration, roadway design, and traffic signal timing. With this training, students will be equipped with practical experiences in traffic operations, transportation safety, intelligent transportation
systems and technology, and even transportation psychology. Students will have better and broader job opportunities in transportation management centers (e.g. Houston TranStar), metropolitan planning organizations (e.g. Houston-Galveston Area Council), and various private companies and government agencies. The driving simulator is a very powerful tool for conducting advanced transportation research including:
It has been, and will continue to be an essential research asset to enhance research productivity and funding opportunities for TSU.
The Maritime Transportation Lab is also the location of the annual Summer Maritime Academy, a program for high school juniors and seniors designed to introduce students to the maritime industry.
The Mini-TranStar lab in the Department of Transportation Studies was established in 2006 according to an agreement between TSU and Texas Department of Transportation, which allows TSU to access all the real time Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) traffic videos and speed data that are currently available in Houston Traffic Management Center, TranStar.
This lab is equipped with an exclusive internet connection between the Houston TranStar and the TSU lab. In the lab, there are five large LCD monitors and a couple of computers for displaying, selecting, recording, and analyzing traffic video images. The main function of this lab is to provide a surveillance of real-time traffic at any location on Houston freeways. The Mini- TranStar Lab is used for the courses TMGT 810, TMGT 812, and TMGT 862.
Traffic management centers deploy traffic management strategies to reduce congestion and coordinate state and local authorities during daily traffic or special events and emergencies. Accessibility of a mini traffic management center in the College and experience with the equipment in this lab provide the students with better credentials when they apply for jobs in the area of traffic management and operations.
The Mini-TranStar Lab combines the use of a research lab with a real-world Traffic Management Center. The lab is equipped with a TrafficVision Traffic Management Center Remote unit which can process and analyze real-time or recorded traffic videos, and collect traffic related data from many locations on Houston freeways to support the research being done in transportation operation, safety, and security areas. This lab can maximize the efficiency and productivity of the research being done in the Department of Transportation Studies.
The special computer lab in the Department of Transportation Studies is equipped with 26 computers installed with a variety of transportation software, including transportation planning software (CUBE, TRANSCAD, etc.), traffic statistical analysis software (Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, SPSS, SAS, etc.), and Geographic Information System (GIS) software (ArcGIS, etc.). Students will learn the use of these softwares through a series of classes, including TMGT 815, TMGT 882, TMGT 850, TMGT 830, TMGT 811, TMGT 823 and TMGT 812. Regular trainings or workshops are also held in this lab by faculty or invited experts.
Students will gain experience and skills in the following areas: 1) traffic demand forecasting. With the use of transportation planning software, e.g. CUBE, students can estimate the future travel demand and the impacts of alternative transportation policies and improvements, 2) transportation system design and data analysis. With the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, e.g. ArcGIS and data analysis software, e.g. SPSS, students can spatially analyze the performance of different transposition designs and develop mathematical models to predict traffic conditions. Through these experiences, students will gain marketable skills to facilitate placement in both academic and industrial fields after their graduation.
Most federal or state funded transportation projects include tasks that require data analysis, traffic demand forecasting, or ArcGIS based system design and analysis. By using the state-of- the-art softwares installed in this lab, TSU researchers could conduct research in the fields of travel demand forecasting, air quality analysis, public transit systems, transportation design and analysis, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), and transportation planning and management.
This lab significantly increases our research capabilities and improves the funding opportunities for TSU.
Transportation professionals have used traffic simulation as an important tool for testing different traffic design alternatives in a realistic and highly detailed manner before field implementation. Simulations are widely used in the industrial and academic fields. With the state- of-the-art simulation software available in this traffic simulation lab, students will acquire important skills related to the use of software, which could significantly increase their employment potential in the transportation related public and private sectors.
This laboratory allows TSU researchers to conduct advanced transportation researches including 1) development, evaluation, and fine-tuning of signal priority logic, 2) evaluation and optimization of traffic operations in a combined network of coordinated and actuated traffic signals, 3) easy comparison of design alternatives at intersections, roundabouts, and grade separated interchanges, 4) modeling and simulating flows of pedestrians, etc. The enhanced research capabilities for TSU researchers will be an advantage when applying for external funding.
The advanced Portable Emission Measurement System (PEMS) – Axion in the Department of Transportation Studies, facilitates measurement of second-by-second real-world fuel consumption, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and pollutant emissions from a variety of on-road vehicles and non-road equipments such as yard tractors, construction machinery, forklifts, locomotives, small aircraft, etc.
Students will be trained to use the PEMS equipment for collecting vehicle emissions in field studies. This is a very practical training with interdisciplinary skills required.
Students will receive interdisciplinary training, not only in transportation operations and management, but also in vehicle emissions testing and modeling, and environment technology and science. Due to the nature of the training, students will receive some basic knowledge regarding vehicle manufacturing. Students trained in this lab will be more competitive in finding jobs in even wider areas such as transportation engineering, environmental protection agencies and companies, and vehicle engineering.
The vehicle emission testing equipment, PEMS is a state-of-the-art device that can measure real time vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. Axion is composed of five components: the dual five-gas analyzer, the Particulate Matter (PM) monitor, the engine data obtaining subsystem, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and the on- board computer. The PEMS equipment is a very convenient and powerful tool for conducting advanced transportation and environmental research in evaluating the impacts of adopting environment-friendly traffic management strategies to reduce poor air quality and energy consumption. This equipment is a great asset for TSU and will support efforts to win more external funding.