2017-2018 Scholarship Competition Award Winners

CTRF wishes to thank the sponsors for the current scholarship program, namely Transport Canada, Canadian Pacific Railway and CN, and many other individuals.

Alireza Mohammadi – Concordia University
Hamed Shahrokhi Shahraki – University of Waterloo
Matthieu Goudreau – University of New Brunswick
Andrea Craig – Queen’s University
Ahmed Osama Amer, University of British Columbia
Georgiana Madar, University of Windsor


Canadian Pacific Railway Scholarship $5,000

Hamed Shahrokhi Shahraki – University of Waterloo

Hamed is a PhD candidate in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Hamed holds a MASc degree from Concordia University, and a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Tehran.

Throughout the course of his PhD, Hamed will be developing analytical models that feature innovation in joint transport-economic modeling. His research is expected to provide a powerful decision making tool to be used by engineers, governments, policy makers, and managers for conducting ‘Smart Infrastructure Investment’.


CN Scholarship $6,000

Alireza Mohammadi – Concordia University

Alireza Mohammadi is a PhD candidate at the Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering (BCEE) Department of Concordia University. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Civil Engineering (from Iran). He is an experienced project manager in construction of infrastructures including Marine Structures, and Oil & Gas. For the accomplishments during his PhD study, Alireza won the Concordia Merit and TAC foundation awards. He was also nominated for Bourse d’études Alain Lamoureux.

In his research, Alireza works on Transportation Asset Management (TAM) to improve comfort, reliability, efficiency, and sustainability of transit systems with the focus on urban railway. The main objective of this research is to develop a comprehensive framework for managing subway transit systems that supports strategic decisions to maintain and expand metro-transit-trains in any metropolitan area. The expected results will be suitable for any transit agency including Bus-rapid-transit, Tramway and suburban trains. This research identifies and characterizes performance, and allocates resources on a strategic term to increase safety, security, and user’s satisfaction.


Transport Canada Scholarship $6,000

Ahmed Osama Amer, University of British Columbia

Ahmed Osama is a Ph.D. candidate in the Transportation Engineering program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Prior to studies at UBC, he completed his MSc in public transportation at Ain Shams University while pursuing practical experience as a transportation engineer in the world-renowned Dar Al-Handasah consultants.

Ahmed is now a research assistant at the Bureau of Intelligent Transportation Systems and Freight Security at UBC, where he has participated in several traffic safety projects for cities within Canada (Vancouver, Edmonton, and Surrey) and abroad (Doha and Adelaide). He also worked as a part-time research assistant for the faculty of education at UBC, where he participated in a project that studied the immigrants’ experiences in the engineering profession in Canada.

Recently, Ahmed’s research focus is on active transportation ridership and safety, in which he authored or coauthored more than six articles in prominent journals and presented another three in top transportation conferences. Ahmed’s research continues to explore this latter line of inquiry and seeks to develop a comprehensive framework for identifying, diagnosing, and remedying active transportation crash hot zones. Following graduation, Ahmed intends to resume his research and professional work on ridership and safety strategies for sustainable transportation.


Transport Canada Scholarship $6,000

Andrea Craig – Queen’s University

Commute Mode and Residential Location Choice

Public transportation infrastructure projects are major government investments that affect not only travel mode choices, but also residential locations in the long-term. To analyze the impacts of public transportation projects, accounting for the effect on households’ residential location decisions, I develop a structural model of commute mode and residential location, in which households have heterogeneous preferences for neighbourhood characteristics and commute costs. I estimate this model using microdata from Vancouver and commute times calculated with geographic information system (GIS) data. The preference estimates from this model imply the value of travel time savings, which are heterogeneous across household income. With the model and estimated preference parameters, I will simulate households’ residential and commute mode decisions for proposed transportation infrastructure and analyze the counterfactual impacts on public transportation use, consumer surplus, income segregation, and vehicle kilometres traveled.


Transport Canada Scholarship $6,000

Matthieu Goudreau – University of New Brunswick

Matthieu is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering with the University of New-Brunswick’s Transportation Research Group.

The focus of his graduate thesis is investigating the potential of Volunteer Driver Programs to satisfy low density rural areas. This includes research into the organizational structure of programs and developing a tool and framework to evaluate their implemented level of management, known as organizational maturity. This quantitative assessment will be used in conjunction with demographic and geographic factors to better understand descriptive statistics of group performance. Through understanding which factors contribute to group success, the goal of this research is to assist transportation planners in assessing volunteer driver programs as a potential alternative to promote in areas where people struggle with mobility. Preliminary findings of this work are expected to be published at the CTRF 53rd annual conference in Gatineau, Canada.

Following the completion of his master’s degree, Matthieu is keen on continued learning and seeking employment involved in determining Canadian transportation policy.


Transport Canada Scholarship $6,000

Georgiana Madar, University of Windsor

A dependable transportation network is essential to maintaining and growing any economy, since it is the means by which all resources, goods, and services are moved. Events that cause disruptions along the transportation network, whether natural or manmade, can have significant negative impacts on traffic volumes and travel costs and must be mitigated appropriately and efficiently. The vulnerability of a transportation network refers to its susceptibility to disruptive events that can lead to a degradation in the level of service experienced on the network. Resilience refers to the speed with which a disrupted network is able to return to a state of user equilibrium (Mattsson and Jenelius, 2015). Other integral factors when studying network criticality include redundancy, robustness, and flexibility.

The main objective of this doctoral research is to examine the transportation network in the province of Ontario, Canada in order to identify its critical links and to model the effects of various disruptive incidents. It has been noted that the average age of Canada’s bridges and underpasses has been increasing (Gagnon, Gaudreault and Overton, 2008). Such areas will be of specific interest, as it is reasonable to assume that the failure of these infrastructure elements along major highways could cripple the flow of goods and, subsequently, the economy. An aging infrastructure, which may be more susceptible to structural failure, implies that significant costs may be required for maintenance and repairs. This kind of investment must be done in a planned and optimal fashion to ensure the system’s resilience. The goals of this research include: (a) identifying measures of criticality that can be used to analyze the Ontario road network utilized to move goods by trucks; (b) developing a cost-benefit framework to study the effects of transportation infrastructure criticality; and (c) producing geospatial models to simulate and explore the impacts of critical link failures, with respect to network resiliency.

Past research efforts have employed a variety of methodologies, including graph theoretic, optimization, and different simulation techniques (Grubesic et al, 2008). As a first step, the literature will be examined to identify measures that have been used to quantify criticality in a network. Applying such measures to the road network of interest, a cost-benefit framework will be constructed. Data on freight flows will be obtained for the Ontario network. These flows will be introduced into Geographic Information Systems (GIS) simulations to conduct geospatial analyses of the effects of network disruptions and to identify the most sensitive links in the highway system.

Contributions from the proposed project are expected to be of interest to transportation researchers, adding to the knowledge base in the area of network resilience and criticality. This research will identify critical links and produce models that accurately reflect the effects to freight movements arising from disruptions. The measures of criticality that will be identified will also be transferrable to applications in other regions. Policy makers for the province of Ontario will also benefit, since the models will aim to identify the most vulnerable parts of the transportation network. This knowledge will lead to informed decisions about infrastructure spending and traffic policies better suited to mitigating the effects of critical link failure within the network.

References

Gagnon, M., Gaudreault, V., Overton, D. 2008. Age of Public Infrastructure: A Provincial Perspective. Statistics Canada, Ottawa.
Grubesic, T., Matisziw, T., Murray, A., Snediker, D. 2008. Comparative Approaches for Assessing Network Vulnerability. International Regional Science Review, 31 (1). pp. 88-112.
Mattsson, L., Jenelius E. 2015. Vulnerability and resilience of transport systems – A discussion of recent research. Transportation Research Part A, 81. pp. 16-34.