Program / Transportation
Design and construction of roads and bridges are major parts of the important infrastructures that civil engineers are heavily involved, and this is reflected in the large proportion of relevant subjects provided in the Department of Civil Engineering at National Taiwan University. In broad definitions, ‘transportation’ means ‘communication’, while in respect of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which includes transportation, telecommunications, post, tourism, and weather forecasting. Among those, the planning, design, operation and management of transportation facilities are the main research areas of the Transportation Engineering Division in the Department of Civil Engineering In early 1970, needs for land transportation facilities and ground transportation system had dramatically increased due to the booming economic growth. Traffic engineering, which originally was con ned to the road traffic area, attracted more and more attention and became a major research topic in the area of transportation engineering. However, not only the trafficengineering but also the infrastructure planning, design, operation and management of land, air, sea and pipeline transportation are all included in the research fields of the Transportation Engineering Division these days.
The Transportation Engineering Division started recruiting postgraduate students in 1970, while Taiwan was working on the Ten Fundamental Infrastructure Developments, including National Freeway, Railway Electrification, Northern Railway, Taizhong Port, Su’ao Port, C.K.S.
International Airport, China Steel and China Ship Building. It is clear to see that six of the ten national projects are transportation related developments which required the heavy involvement of transportation engineers.
Currently, the division has 7 full time faculty members, 3 adjunct professors, and more than 60 students in Ph.D. and master programs. Comparing with the situation in 1971, no full time faculty and only 5 master students, the Transportation Engineering Division has shown its quality and quantity in a significant growth over the last 4 decades.
The research areas of the division are always emphasized on practicality as a prerequisite. In addition to the new technologies innovated through research projects, from other developed regions, such as Europe and America, the division also aims to“technology localization” to meet our own needs. In the late 1970s, the first freeway was completed and opened for operation. We initiated the research work in the area of analyzing traffic characteristics, and then move to the traffic control and ramp metering control, pavement design and management systems, heavy vehicles size and weight regulations, and O-D trip table estimation, etc. In relation to public bus transit, the research works also began in the 1970s and cover on routes, bus operation and management, bus lanes, costing and pricing, policies, up to the Automatic Vehicle Location for advanced buses and dynamic information systems recently. At the request of rail transportation, we have also conducted a study of land use planning along the Muzha MRT Line, traffic impact assessment of station development, a traffic planning for MRT stations of the Xindian and Songban Lines, as well as demand forecasting, pricing mechanism, station planning, and ground access planning for Taiwan high-speed rail system. For the last decade, research work also involves airport runway design, maintenance and management system, air traffic safety and improvement strategies. Regarding traffic engineering, we have cooperated with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to publish the first version of “Highway Capacity Manual”, and developed an image detection system of traffic volume and characteristics, a remote sensing application system and a geographic information system. Recently, our main research directions also include applications of advanced technology to transportation systems, green transportation, as well as sustainable transportation planning.
Our research outcomes have been applied in many infrastructure developments and transportation policies by both central and local governments in Taiwan, such as the freeway system planning, bus operation and management strategies as well as rapid transit system construction and operation, highway capacity analysis and service evaluation, nuclear plant evacuation plan, traffic impact assessment, regulations of heavy vehicles size and weights, highway traffic control, electronic toll collection for national highways, smart card ticketing systems, high-speed railway demand analysis and fare mechanisms, runway skid resistance measurement specification, urban street pavement management system, and public participation in decision making about the best planning in major transport projects. In recent years, we have also been involved in many international cooperation projects, including mixed traffic flow and motorcycle management, green transport and sustainable development, bicycle systems, bus rapid transit system and so on.
Teaching and Learning Environment
In addition to the research spaces of our faculty, Ph.D. and master students, research associates and administrative assistant, we also have three teaching and research laboratories, namely traffic engineering laboratory, pavement engineering laboratory, and ITS laboratory. Computer software programs, such as remote sensing software, urban transportation plan kit software, highway design software, VISEM/VISUM/VISSIM traffic transportation and plan software, TransCAD, PARAMICS transportation plan simulation software, RTC railway simulation software are also available for the various research purposes. For the past years, many research equipments have been purchased through university fund and research fund. These include trafficflow measurement device, radar speed guns, Portable Weigh-in-Motion, Traffic Engineering Experimental Van, Traffic Signal Controllers, Laser Inertial Profilers, Grip Tester, Dynamic Friction Tester and other types of skid resistance measuring devices, Auto Rod and Level, noise detectors, ITS experimental car, driving visual simulation system, CUBE transport planning software, a model railway system, and automatic pavement image capture systems.