BURLINGTON, Vt. — Nathan Belz, Ph.D. civil and environmental engineering student, and Brian H. Y. Lee, assistant professor, both in the University of Vermont School of Engineering, have won the Fred Burggraf Award from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies for their research titled, "Composition of Vehicle Occupancy for Journey-to-Work Trips: Evidence of Ridesharing from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey Vermont Add-on Sample." This national award recognizes excellence in transportation research by researchers 35 years of age or younger.
“Receiving this award is very significant because this is a cross TRC competition with one to two winners per year,” said Lisa Aultman-Hall, professor at the UVM Transportation Research Center. “Belz and Lee competed with researchers in all areas of transportation from planning to structural engineering to modeling to rail.”
Belz and Lee’s research paper was initially created in a new graduate course on travel and activity choice modeling developed by Dr. Lee. Belz continued to work on the project with Lee as a graduate scholar funded by the UVM TRC. The research focuses on ridesharing in Vermont and contains noteworthy information.
"I'm thrilled to hear that these two excellent researchers from the Transportation Research Center have been honored with this highly competitive award. Their work in advancing our understanding of driver/rider behavior and building sustainable transportation options clearly advances the TRC's mission in addition to the field of transportation research in general," said Austin Troy, associate professor in the UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and director of UVM TRC.
Lee and Aultman-Hall are working with another student using the same dataset as the Belz and Lee paper to study vehicle allocation within a household to estimate possible reductions in fuel and emissions for Vermont and the country.
For his Ph.D. thesis, Belz has recently collected innovative field data to develop a new traffic flow theory for roundabouts because the existing theories developed for traffic signals and stop signs do not apply. His adviser is Aultman-Hall.
Belz grew up in Readfield. He did his undergrad and Master of Science in civil engineering at the University of Maine in Orono. His M.S. thesis was on evaluating the effectiveness of the statewide deployment of advanced traveler information systems. For more information on Nathan Belz visit his research webpage at www.uvm.edu/~nbelz.