2015 UCCONNECT Student Conference

The first Student Conference sponsored by UCCONNECT was held during the weekend of February 27-28 2015 on the campus of UC Santa Barbara.  In addition to hosting the event, UCSB Professor Kostas Goulias and student assistants Adam Davis and Jae Hyun Lee presented a well-rounded interactive program that facilitated lively discussion between students from various UC and Cal State campuses, as well as among faculty and government transportation officials.

The organizing students, including Jae Hyun Lee (left) and Adam Davis (right).

The conference kicked off on Friday, with multiple workshop presentations and a panel discussion on the topic of Pattern Recognition and Anomaly Detection for Modeling and Simulation in Sustainable Transportation, that featured faculty from multiple universities throughout the nation. 

The speakers addressed a wide variety of topics, such as the inference of activity based models using advanced machine learning tools, the mining of Foursquare’s check in data to capture LA’s pulse, the use of a cyber search to analyze the location of existing fire stations in the LA area, and cyber-security from control and game theory perspectives.


The late afternoon of day one included a talk by CUTC student of the year Jack Reilly, who presented the results of his award-winning dissertation, followed by a reception and welcome talk given by UCSB Professor Keith Clark. 

Jack Reilly presents his dissertation results.

The first day concluded with a Lightning-Talk Poster session using a ‘pass the mic’ format. This innovative approach proved effective in engaging the poster presenters and the audience in further discussion about the research. The first day concluded with a meeting of the UCCONNECT Executive Committee.

Two Cal Poly Pomona students present their research results to the attendees of the Lightning-Talk poster sessions.

Day two of the conference started with a meeting of the UCCONNECT Advisory Board.  After that, Professors Goulias and Cassidy addressed the students in attendance in their opening remarks, which were followed by a double keynote presentation from Caltrans’ Coco Briseno, Chief of Division of Research, Innovation and System Information, and Katie Benouar Chief of the Division of Transportation Planning.  Each discussed the present state of transportation research in California and funding currently provided to UCCONNECT, as well as the future of transportation research and the role that students of transportation will play in designing and shaping paradigms for California and beyond. 

Advisory and Executive Committee members on attendance during day two.

Much of the second day was thereafter dedicated to podium sessions on a myriad of topics presented by students from throughout the UC system as from various campuses at the California State University. The late afternoon featured a panel discussion composed of the UCCONNECT Advisory Board members in attendance.  Those members fielded questions from the audience in what was a lively debate.

Conference attendees listen to the opening remarks by Professors Goulias and Cassidy.

The penultimate event of the conference was the Mel Webber Lecture presented by Professor Hani Mahmassani, of Northwestern University.

Professor Hani Mahmassani presents the Mel Webber Lecture.
In his lecture, Professor Mahmassani addressed the challenges and opportunities associated with the use of big data in transportation. Interesting and provocative research and implementation examples were presented.

The final event of the evening fittingly acknowledged the students by presenting awards based on a number of criteria as judged primarily by the Advisory and Executive Committee members.  The list of awardees, their affiliations, and presentation/poster titles is as follows:  

  • Best overall poster: Duaa Gettani, UC Davis, "Achieving low-carbon transport in the Middle East/North Africa."
  • Best poster analysis: Allan Rimban, San Jose State University, "How Do US Transit Officials Approach Fare Policy?"
  • Best poster design: Rachel Lindt, UCLA, "The Avalon Green Alley Network Demonstration Project: Lessons Learned from Previous Projects and Programs to Aid in Green Alley Development in Los Angeles and Beyond."
  • Best overall presentation: Nate Isbell, UCSB, "Modeling Second-by-Second Emission in a Mega-Region."
  • Best presentation analysis: Zahra Amini, UC Berkeley, "Exploring alternative schemes to serve transit corridors."
  • Best presentation talk: Andrea Broaddus, UC Berkeley, "Longer-term impacts of the London congestion charge."