In the News
A Closer Look: LTAP Team
Christopher Melson is the newest addition to the LTRC/LTAP family as program manager. He coordinates LTAP activities with Local Road Safety Program efforts and the implementation efforts for the Louisiana Strategic Highway Safety Plan. He also provides technical assistance to local agencies on road safety problems and oversees course content for LTAP technical and workforce development programs. Chris is excited to join LTAP to serve the training needs of local communities as he used to integrate community perspectives in his previous research management roles. In addition, he serves as an instructor for LTAP technical courses and workshops including "Work Zone Safety", "Road Safety 365", "Safety Data Analysis", "Basics of a Good Road," etc. as part of LTAP's annual work program. Chris received his master's degree in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Wyoming.
Presentation at 2019 Traffic Engineers Meeting
Mr. Christopher Melson (Tran-SET Program Manager) presented at the 2019 Traffic Engineers Meeting hosted by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) on August 15, 2019 in Baton Rouge, LA. He provided an overview of the Simulation and Capacity Analysis Users Group of Louisiana (SimCap Lousiana). Mr. Melson is the co-founder and Interim Chair of SimCap Louisiana, a volunteer network of professionals aiming to support, promote, and improve best practices in the application of traffic simulation and capacity analysis. Please visit the SimCap Louisiana website, if interested in learning more about the organization.
The Traffic Engineers Meeting is an annual event by LaDOTD to communicate important updates, guidance, deployments, and other information to traffic and transportation safety practitioners throughout the state. For additional information on the Meeting, and to access the agenda and presentation materials, please visit LaDOTD’s website.
WTS Louisiana Luncheon
Tran-SET hosted WTS Louisiana on the campus of Louisiana State University (LSU) for their August Luncheon. Mr. Christopher Melson (Tran-SET Program Manager) briefly gave an overview of Tran-SET and led a tour of several LSU laboratories: the Building Simulation and Information Modeling (BIM) studio, the Advanced Materials and Methods Laboratory, and CAT® equipment simulators. Approximately 35 professionals attended.
WTS is an international organization dedicated to building the future of transportation through the global advancement of women. For more information about the WTS Louisiana chapter, please visit their website.
Department of Construction Management: Publications
Chris Melson, Program Manager for Tran-SET, has recently published five manuscripts, including Characterizing the Impact of Production Adaptive Cruise Control on Traffic Flow: An Investigation published in Transportmetrica B: Transportation Dynamics and Modeling Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control in Dynamic Traffic Assignment published in Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.
Presentation and Tour at the 2018 Deep South ITE Fall Meeting
Christopher Melson, Tran-SET Program Manager, presented at the 2018 Deep South ITE (DSITE) Fall Meeting held in Baton Rouge, LA during October 25-26, 2018. Mr. Melson presented his research on the “Operational and Safety Attributes of an Alternative Design, Space-Efficient, One-Sided Interchange”. Mr. Melson also led a tour of transportation-related laboratories at Louisiana State University, including a visit to the Building Simulation and Information Modeling (BIM) Construction Management Studio. The presentation and tour were highlighted in DSITE’s Fall Newsletter. For more information regarding DSITE, please visit their website.
SimCap Louisiana's First Educational Meeting
Christopher Melson, Program Manager of Tran-SET, co-organized and presented at the first educational meeting by the Simulation and Capacity Analysis Users Group of Louisiana (SimCap Louisiana) on July 17, 2018. Mr. Melson is the co-founder of SimCap Louisiana, which is a volunteer network of professionals aiming to support, promote, and improve best practices in the application of traffic simulation and capacity analysis. The meeting consisted of two main presentations: (1) providing an overview of the history, structure, and current activities of the North Carolina SimCap chapter and (2) a case study in the application of transportation modeling and simulation analyses to inform planning and the decision-making process. The meeting also included a business discussion on the newly-formed Charter.
Approximately 20 members attended, including members from the private sector, local government, state government, and academia. SimCap Louisiana will be hosting their second educational meeting (via webinar) on October 31, 2018. If interested in attending or to learn more about this workforce development entity, please visit their website.
Presentation at Gulf Region ITS Workshop
Christopher Melson, Program Manager of Tran-SET, presented at the 2018 Gulf Region ITS (GRITS) Spring Workshop on April 25, 2018. The workshop topic was planning for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) in the Gulf Region and included presentations from industry, state government officials, and researchers. Mr. Melson presented on two in-house research projects involving the potential operational impacts of CAV applications, specifically Characterizing the Impact of Production Adaptive Cruise Control on Traffic Flow: An Investigation and Dynamic Traffic Assignment of Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control.
Approximately 50 transportation practitioners, students, and faculty members were in attendance. For more information regarding GRITS, please visit their website.
Presentation and Participation in Young Member Panel at Deep South ITE Meeting
Christopher Melson, Program Manager of Tran-SET, presented at the 2018 Deep South ITE (DSITE) Winter Meeting held in New Orleans, LA during March 8th – 9th, 2018. Mr. Melson introduced members of DSITE to Tran-SET, providing an overview of the Center and highlighting two on-going research projects: “Evaluation of the Performance and Cost-Effectiveness of Engineered Cementitious Composites (ECC) Produced from Region 6 Local Materials” and “Development of a Self-Powered Structural Health Monitoring System for Transportation Infrastructure”. Approximately 50 transportation practitioners, students, and faculty members were in attendance.
Mr. Melson also participated in DSITE’s young member panel – which aimed to increase participation and engagement of young members in transportation professional societies. DSITE comprises the states of Louisiana and Mississippi and is a section of the Southern District ITE. For more information regarding DSITE, please visit their website.
Interchange Paper Emphasizing Land Savings Recognized by ITE
In August, staff from FHWA’s Office of Operations Research and Development—Joe Bared, Cory Krause, and Christopher Melson—received the Traffic Engineering Council Best Paper Award at the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) 2016 Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Anaheim, CA.
Their winning paper, “Operational and Safety Characteristics of an Alternative Design, Space-Efficient One-Side Interchange,” presents a unique, all-directional system interchange that emphasizes land savings. Operational and surrogate safety characteristics of the interchange were analyzed and compared to an equivalent cloverleaf interchange.
FHWA Delivers Instrumented Vehicle to the Volpe Center
On May 13, 2016, research engineers from FHWA’s Office of Operations Research and Development visited the Volpe Center in Cambridge, MA to deliver one of their instrumented research vehicles. Equipped with front and rear radar, the vehicle will be used to collect driver behavior data to support an ongoing effort to enhance car-following in microsimulation models.
Gregg Fleming (FHWA Center Director for Policy, Plan and Environment), Rick Marquis (FHWA Division Chief of Organizational Performance), and David Arthur (FHWA Division Chief of Energy Analysis and Sustainability) were briefed on the project during their visit.
Although data collection is focused on collecting car-following behavior in freeway work zones, the Volpe team plans to collect data during various road weather and operational conditions, such as rain and incident events. The Volpe Center is supporting this research through an interagency agreement with TFHRC.
TFHRC Extends STEM Outreach
Noting the enthusiasm of the children who attended events during previous years’ Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, leaders at TFHRC began to increase outreach to students through activities both onsite at FHWA and at local schools. Volunteers from the center supervise exhibits at the annual STEM Symposium held at the Nysmith School for the Gifted in Herndon, VA.
This all-day event attracts more than 2,500 students from kindergarten through high school, their parents, and teachers who have an interest in STEM subjects. TFHRC’s team of researchers demonstrated the high-tech research being conducted by FHWA and promoted the career potential of researchers with Federal agencies.
Tomorrow’s Women in Science and Technology, a student-run STEM outreach organization at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, VA, held its annual Techstravaganza, a 1-day STEM activity fair for elementary and middle school students. A team of volunteers from TFHRC attended and encouraged students from diverse backgrounds to nurture interest in STEM subjects.
Recent Operations Research and Development Publications
FHWA’s Joe Bared, together with Christopher Melson and Cory Krause, published a research paper in the June edition of the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal regarding an alternative freeway interchange that reduces congestion and emphasizes land savings. The article features recent research conducted to reduce land use and improve mobility, performance, and safety on freeway interchanges. While the physical ability and funding available to make changes on already existing freeways is quite challenging, Melson, Krause, and Bared have shown that nontraditional design concepts can provide efficient means of transportation without sacrificing performance. The published study presents an all-directional system interchange, called the one-sided interchange that intends to do just that.
The one-sided interchange is unique in that it utilizes the lack of right-of-way to enhance uninterrupted traffic flow. The interchange is intended to be space efficient with speed-constrained loops, allowing for more movement within a smaller location. The interchange is designed with full access control for all turning movements, and compared to the full clover-leaf interchange design, the one-sided interchange design requires a smaller footprint.
HRDO Welcomes Professional Development Program Researcher
On July 7, 2014, Christopher Melson will start a 4 to 5 month assignment at HRDO under FHWA’s Professional Development Program (PDP). Melson will work on two research projects. The first is a study and technical paper on one-sided interchanges. As part of this effort, Melson will conduct a simulation to determine optimum lengths of speed change lanes for exceptional left-side and on- and off-ramps for one-sided interchanges. This innovative type of directional interchange will reduce lane requirements and can be built on one side of a freeway crossing. The second project, which will be determined jointly by HRDO and HOP, may focus on dynamic traffic assignment (DTA). Melson, who is currently working at the Madison Wisconsin Division, completed a thesis on DTA.