News and Events

November 2018

Fred OHene and staff explore the PASS System at UNR. Dr. Fred Ohene, Deputy General Manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTCSNV) and his staff made a visit in mid November to UNR CATER to discuss collaboration opportunities in the area of LiDAR research for improving Nevada's pedestrian safety and transportation system's efficiency. Their visit included a tour of CATER labs and the Intelligent Mobility program at the Nevada Center for Applied Research (NCAR). Dr. Tian and Dr. Xu both presented the latest research on traffic signal optimization and LiDAR technology applications. A test site in Las Vegas will install UNR's LiDAR system to automatically detect midblock pedestrian crossings and provide flashing beacon warnings to drivers as a means of mitigating serious pedestrian safety problems in the Las Vegas area.

Tina Quigley, General Manager of RTCSNV, visited UNR CATER to explore the PASS System and present a seminar to students on emerging technologies. A link to her presentation can be found under "Distinguished Seminar Series."

October 2018

The PASS (Physical Arterial Signal Simulator) System at UNR was highlighted in the Reno News and Review this month. The article outlines the use of the system on the local traffic signal network and how it is being implemented to alleviate congestion and reduce travel times. Click to view the article.

July 2018

Student at the Reno-Stead Airport with EngineersThe third annual Civil/Transportation summer camp was held July 9-13 at UNR. Twenty-two students participated in a week-long educational experience that included topics on signal timing, soils, bridge engineering and water treatment. A field day included tour of the Verdi dam and Chalk Bluff Water Treatment Facility, followed by the Reno-Stead Airport Runway Project.

May 2018

Dr. Tian presents at the Traffic Signal Workshop at UNR

A three-day workshop on Traffic Signal Timing Practice and Research was hosted by Dr. Zong Tian of CATER at UNR. Providing a forum for researchers and practitioners to exchange experiences and ideas, participants from various universities attended the workshop held in Reno and in Tahoe City. The workshop included overview of signal control basics, hands-on signal timing plan development, site visits, timing verifications, and practical-oriented research topics in signal control.

July 2017

INFORMS’ First Transportation Science and Logistics Conference was held July 26-29, 2017 in Chicago. ASU PI Pitu Mirchandani and graduate student Gita Ayu Ketut, working with the conference organizing committee, developed and organized the conference. The conference included over 130 sessions on various transportation topics and two plenary talks. Conference attendees thought that the conference was a resounding success. Twenty scholarships of $300 were also given to PhD students who were giving presentations at the conference, which largely offset their registration fees for the conference.

June 2017

SOLARIS, in conjunction with the College of Engineering at UNR, hosted the second Civil/Transportation Engineering summer camp. Twenty students attended the camp where they explored soils, water treatment, bridge building and traffic operations. The five day camp also included field trips to the Southeast Connector project and Chalk Bluff Water Treatment Facility.

Research from UNR was cited in a USA Today article highlighting self-driving car readiness in the US. PI Hao Xu's research titled "High-Resolution Micro-Traffic Data from Roadside LiDAR Sensors for Connected-Vehicles and New Traffic Applications" is leading the way with new technology to contribute to enhancements under a connected infrastructure.

April 2017

Dr. Tian with Econolite RepsEconolite Representatives Greg Groves and Lori MacIntyre visited CATER offices on April 4. Based out of Fort Collins, Econolite is the current vendor for traffic simulation controllers in the lab at UNR.

Dr. Elie Hajj was elected as an Executive Officer for the Academy of Pavement Science and Engineering (APSE). Dr. Hajj, who is a founding member of the newly established group of academic leaders in pavement science and engineering, will be serving as the first treasurer of APSE. The term is for two years.

Dr. Pitu Mirchandani, IEEE Life FellowDr. Pitu Mirchandani of ASU has been granted Life Fellow status in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his 40-year dedication and work in intelligent transportation and production systems.

February 2017

Dr. Tian with Bill HoffmanDeputy Director at NDOT, Bill Hoffman visited with students and faculty at the UNR CATER lab for an update on traffic simulation research.

November 2016

Dr. Zong Tian attended the 2016 Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Summit held by NDOT and the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition.

September 2016

Drs. Hongchao Liu and Dali Wei from TransIntelligence, LLC visited with Dr. Tian at UNR to discuss collaboration and research opportunities.

August 2016

Dr. Nader Ghafoori from UNLV chaired and hosted the Fifth International Conference in Sustainable Construction Materials and Technologies in Las Vegas. Over 300 technical articles from more than 38 countries presented at the conference.

Dr. Zong Tian traveled to Tucson, AZ to provide a one-day training on TranSync. The training was attended by University of Arizona students and faculty and engineers from five local agencies who manage signal operations. TranSync is planned to be deployed in several arterial improvement projects in the state.

Ming Zhong at UNR CATERDr. Ming Zhong from Wuhai University of Technology in China visited the CATER offices to discuss research and collaboration opportunities.

May 2016

Dr. Peter Sebaaly received UNR's College of Engineering Faculty Excellence Award for 2015-2016. Sebaaly is the Director of the Western Regional Superpave Center and is a regular PI for SOLARIS.

July 2016

Tian at WCTRS ChinaDr. Tian traveled to China in July for organizing and attending several major transportation conferences, including the World Conference on Transportation Research Society’s (WCTRS) Congress. This is a major international transportation conference held once every three years. It attracted more than 1500 participants from all around the world. As the chair of the Special Interest Group (SIG) C2 – Urban Transport Operations of WCTRS, Dr. Tian organized two special sessions focusing on traffic signal control. One session was held in Shanghai during WCTRS Congress which included 9 country reports, delivering the state-of-the-practice on signal control in these countries. Another special session was held in Tianjin with in-depth technical presentations and roundtable discussions. The session in Tianjin attracted more than 70 participants from seven different countries.

March 2016

Dr. Zong Tian visited the University of Arizona for collaboration efforts in the area of traffic signal control. He presented two seminars, one for students and one for local traffic engineers.

Dr. Zong Tian attended the Synchronized Mobility Summit in Las Vegas where many high tech companies and Nevada agencies gathered to identify strategies to improve mobility in the Las Vegas area.

February 2016

Dr. David Sanders of UNR was selected as a Fellow Member of the Structural Engineering Institute. He was formally recognized at a ceremony in Phoenix, AZ.

Dr. Zong Tian traveled to the University of New Mexico to attend a PhD Dissertation presentation as part of the UTC's effort to serve on committees across institutions. The research is also a joint project between UNM and UNR on evaluating the efficiency of signalized intersections with connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

Dr. Zong Tian met with New Mexico city and county signal engineers and provided a field demo of the Transync Software, the mobile app previously called SMRT. In collaboration with Trans-Intelligence in Texas, TranSync is now expanded to have a desktop component that performs signal timing management, optimization and performance measure reporting.

January 2016

Johny Habbouche presenting at TRB 2016Johny Habbouche, graduate student at UNR, presented findings from the Thin Asphalt Overlays project during the TRB meeting in Washington D.C. on Jan. 13.

SOLARIS consortium members at TRB 2016SOLARIS consortium members attended the TRB annual meeting held in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 10-14.

Dr. Zong Tian and Erika Hutton attended the annual CUTC banquet and meeting on Jan. 9 and 10 in Washington, D.C.

October 2015

SOLARIS UTC Advisory Board 2015SOLARIS held its first Advisory Board Meeting to discuss the second round of proposals as well as the future direction of the center. Twenty members attended, including PIs from the consortium to present progress on current projects.

Arizona State University, in part hosted by SOLARIS, gave a Mini-Symposium on Advances in Pricing and Incentives in Travel Behavior where noted professors from various universities gave presentations on mobility options, demand models and congestion mitigation.

September 2015

UNLV PI Hualiang "Harry" Teng was one of five appointed to the Governor's California-Nevada Interstate Rail Commission, which is expected to lead a thorough discussion on a possible high-speed rail system for Nevada. 

August 2015

Summer Camp in Beijing Jiaotong UniversityDr. Zong Tian presented a seminar at the 2015 International Summer Engineering Camp hosted by the College of Civil Engineering at Beijing Jiaotong University. About 30 students from six different countries attended the camp. The presentation on signal control strategies attracted major interest from camp participants and gave them a new perspectives on how civil engineering design can be integrated with traffic signal operations. 

Elie HajjSOLARIS PI Dr. Elie Hajj presented Pavement Design and Materials Research Update at the Asphalt Institute Summer Meeting at Lake Tahoe on August 20, which included the laboratory evaluation of his UTC project "Thin Asphalt Overlays for Nevada".

July 2015

Dr. Zong Tian attended three international conferences in China and made a presentation at each conference: The 3rd International Conference on Transportation Information and Safety (ICTIS) held in Wuhan, The Scientific Committee Annual Meeting of the WCTRS held in Shanghai, and the 15th COTA International Conference of Transportation Professionals (CICTP) held in Beijing.

June 2015

PI Dr. David Sanders and Center Coordinator Erika Hutton attended the annual CUTC meeting in New Brunswick, NJ on June 1-4.

May 2015

Dr. Zong Tian conducted a two day workshop for the City of Houston on using advanced tools and methodologies for signal timing. About 25 engineers from various agencies in the area were in attendance. The workshop was well received, giving the engineers an opportunity to see how advanced tools can help their signal timing work become more efficient. Tian also visited Texas Southern University, delivering a seminar on "UNR Research on Traffic Signal Control."

April 2015

Dr. Zong Tian was the  invited speaker for the OST-R Transportation Innovation Speaker Series in Washington, D.C. on April 15. His presentation, Are Adaptive Signal Control Systems a Solution to Urban Congestion?, which focuses on the current status of adaptive traffic signal control system applications, was streamed live and can be viewed on YouTube.

Dr. Zong Tian attended the 2015 Intertraffic Exhibit in China on March 31-Apr. 2.

March 2015

Dr. Zong Tian presented a demo on SMRT (Signal Managements and Retiming Tool), an iOS based tool used to help retime traffic signals, at Stantec in Orange County, California on March 19.

February 2015

Dr. Zong Tian attended  the ITE/MSA 2015 Spring Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on Feb. 24-26. He held a session presentation on SMRT, the Signal Management and Retiming Tool developed at the University of Nevada, Reno in correlation with SOLARIS.

January 2015

CATER group at TRB

Students and faculty from CATER offices attended the 94th  TRB annual meeting in Washington D.C. on January 12-14. Dr. Zong Tian presented a poster on his study titled "Readily Implementable Signal Phasing Schemes for Diverging Diamond Interchanges." Other presentations from University of Nevada, Reno students included Ph.D candidates Saeedeh Farivar and Rasool Andalibian's "Modeling Right-turn Blockage and Approach Capacity at Signalized Intersections with Channelized Right-turn Lanes" and "A Stop Based Approach for Determining when to Run Signal Coordination Plans."

Associate Director, Pitu Mirchandani, and researchers, Pengfei Li and Xuesong Zhou, from Arizona State University presented "MetroSim: A Hierarchical Multi-Resolution Traffic Simulator  for Metropolitan Areas" at the TRB annual meeting. Their symposium paper was also accepted for publication in the Journal of Transportation Research Record. 

Center director, Dr. Zong Tian, and center coordinator, Erika Marquez, attended the annual CUTC meeting in Washington D.C. on January 10-11.

November 2014

Researchers from the Desert Research Institute, Vic Etyemezian and George Nikolich, presented "Early Warning Sand Movement" in Las Vegas.

October 2014

Huaguo seminar

Huaguo Zhou from Auburn University visited the CATER Transportation Lab on Oct. 16 and gave a presentation on Emerging Safety Countermeasures for Wrong-Way Driving Crashes.

Dian Mao

Dr. Zong Tian and students from CATER attended the ITE Fall Conference in Las Vegas on Oct 8-10. Dr. Tian, graduate students Dian Mao (pictured), Guangchuan Yang and Ali Gholami presented at the conference.

September 2014

Wang visit

Dr. Yinhai Wang from the University of Washington gave a seminar presentation on Advanced Methods for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Sensing at the CATER Transportation lab on Sept. 25.

China Delegation

Members from the China delegation led by Dr. Mao from Beijing Jiaotong University visited CATER on Sept. 9 to meet with students and faculty and discuss transportation issues.

August 2014

Tian at 9th ICTTS Conference

Dr. Zong Tian delivered a keynote speech titled "Signal Control at Diverging Diamond Interchanges" at the 9th International Conference on Traffic Transportation Studies in Shaoxing, China on Aug. 1-2. He has now served five years as co-editor of conference proceedings.

July 2014


Dr. Pitu Mirchandani attended the International Conference of Transportation Professionals in Changsha, China on July 4-7 where he participated in a panel discussion and presented "Big Data! How Big is this Issue in Transportation Planning and Operations." He also held a transportation safety and sustainability workshop at Tongji University in Shanghai.

Dr. Zong Tian presented at the Alternative Intersections and Interchanges Symposium sponsored by TRB in Salt Lake City, UT on July 20-23.

June 2014


Dr. Pitu Mirchandani attended the  International Symposium on Locational Decisions in Italy where he gave a talk on "A Sensor Location Model for Bayesian Estimation of Stochastic Route Flows" on June 16-20. He also taught a short course on Intelligent Transportation Systems at Denmark Technical University and presented "A Routing and Reservation System for Battery Swaps for Electric Vehicles" at the ROUTE 2014 conference. 

Six UNITE (University of Nevada Institute of Transportation Engineers) members attended the joint annual meeting of the ITE Western District and the Midwestern District held on June 29-July 2 in Rapid City. Ali Gholami is the one of three students who received an award of $400 for the student poster session competition. UNITE also received Honorable Mention for the best student chapter website. In addition, Dr. Tian delivered two presentations as well.

January 2014

TRB meeting

Faculty and students of CATER attended the TRB annual meeting on January 12-16. Members of the group made three presentations.  Dr. Tian chaired three poster sessions for the Highway Capacity and Quality of Service Committee. During TRB, Dr. Tian also attended several meetings, including the UTC Winter Meeting, TRB Committee Meetings, and the Scientific Committee Meeting of the World Conference on Transport Research Society (WCTRS).

On January 20, a delegation from Tongji University, China visited CATER. The delegation includes Dr. Keping Li, Dr. Jian Sun, and Dr. Keshuang Tang. The delegation visited CATER facilities. Dr. Tian also took them to the field sites to observe signal coordination and diverging diamond interchange operations.

December 2013

Members of the SOLARIS team

Researchers from the five institutions involved in SOLARIS visited the University of Nevada, Reno to discuss grant requirements, establishing an advisory board, research proposals, and education and outreach.

November 2013

RITA personnel visit the pavements lab

Members of RITA, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, visited the University of Nevada, Reno to congratulate the University on being named a Tier 1 University Transportation Center, which is the most competitive category. RITA personnel visited University labs and centers that will be part of SOLARIS.

October 2013

Zong Tian

The University of Nevada, Reno continues its leadership in transportation, infrastructure and earthquake engineering, having recently received two Tier-1 University Transportation Center grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration.
Learn more about the grants >>