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Transportation Engineering

Transportation & Pavement Engineering

Transportation engineering is the science of safe and efficient movement of people and goods (transport). The planning aspects of transportation engineering relate to urban planning, and involve technical forecasting decisions and political factors. Technical forecasting of passenger travel usually involves an urban transportation planning model, requiring the estimation of trip generation (how many trips for what purpose), trip distribution (destination choice, where is the traveler going), mode choice (what mode is being taken), and route assignment (which streets or routes are being used). More sophisticated forecasting can include other aspects of traveler decisions, including auto ownership, trip chaining (the decision to link individual trips together in a tour) and the choice of residential or business location (known as land use forecasting).

While passenger trips are often the main focus of transportation engineering since these often represent the peak of demand on any transportation system, the field also has a focus on freight transport - the movement of goods from their point of manufacture to their point of sale.

The design aspects of transportation engineering include the sizing of transportation facilities (how many lanes or how much capacity the facility has), determining the materials and thickness used in pavement, designing the geometry (vertical and horizontal alignment) of the roadway (or track).

Operations and management involve traffic engineering, so that vehicles move smoothly on the road or track. Older techniques include signs, signals, markings, and tolling. Newer technologies involve Intelligent Transportation Systems, including Advanced Traveler Information Systems (such as variable message signs), Advanced Traffic Control Systems (such as ramp meters), and Vehicle Infrastructure Integration. Human factors are an aspect of transport engineering, particularly concerning driver-vehicle interface and user interface of road signs, signals, and markings.


  • Samir A. Ahmed, Ph.D., P.E., Professor

  • Rifat Bulut, Ph.D., Professor

  • Mohamed Elkashef, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor

  • Joshua Li, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor

  • Deb Mishra, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor

  • Kelvin Wang, Ph.D., P.E., Regents Professor

Research Focus Areas and Sample Projects


  • OK Dept. of Trans for the U.S. Depart of Trans Analysis of ODOT's Traffic Speed Deflection Device Data for Pavement Structural Evaluation

  • OK Dept of Trans for the US Dept of Trans Utilizing Pavement Friction and Texture Data for the Reduction of Traffic Crashes and Delays

  • OK Dept of Trans for the US Dept of Trans Screening Tools for Considering Grade Separation of Rail-Highway Crossings in Oklahoma

  • Idaho Transportation Department for the Federal Highway Administration         Evaluation of Pavement Rehabilitation Alternatives for I-15 Sections in Idaho

  • Indiana Dept of Trans for the US Dept of Trans Determining Concrete Patch Locations Other Than Visual

  • National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Developing Standard Definitions for Comparable Pavement Cracking Data (NCHRP Project 01-57A)

  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Long Term Performance Monitoring of High Friction Surfacing Treatments (HFST) Sites

  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Development of Standard Data Format for 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional (2D/3D) Pavement Image Data that is Used to Determine Pavement Surface Condition and Profiles

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Surface Characteristics and Improved Airport PCI Survey Solutions with 3D Data

Sample Course Listing

Undergraduate Courses

  • Engineering Surveying – CIVE 3614
  • Transportation Engineering - CIVE 3633

Graduate Courses

  •     Systems Analysis for Civil Engineers - CIVE 4303/5303
  •     Highway Traffic Operations - CIVE 4313/5313
  •     Civil Infrastructure Systems – CIVE 4323/ 5323
  •     Urban Transportation Planning - CIVE 4343/5343
  •     Design and Planning of Airports - CIVE 4363/5363
  •     Geometric Design of Highways - CIVE 4383/5383
  •     Pavement Design and Analysis - CIVE 4693/5693
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