InTrans / Jan 19, 2023

Day named Mack 2050 Challenge Scholar

Christopher Day

Institute for Transportation (InTrans) affiliate researcher Christopher Day was named the Michael and Denise Mack 2050 Challenge Scholar, which provides funds to support research that impacts society as we look into the future.

The award contributed to a larger research initiative under a pooled fund research project Day is co-leading with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) on intelligent traffic control. The project is examining sensor technologies and data sharing capabilities for traffic control systems to design new algorithms that will more efficiently control traffic.

“Traffic control systems have a profound effect on the character of the communities they serve. However, much of the time, this infrastructure is ignored by its users except when it is operating poorly,” said Day, who is also an assistant professor with Iowa State University’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE).

The research presents an opportunity to better include nonmotorized users in understanding traffic control operations and to prepare traffic control systems to receive the wealth of data that has recently become available.

Looking to the future, the project will result in methods that can be implemented at scale at a relatively low cost and fundamentally transform the nature of traffic control infrastructure.

Iowa State and its College of Engineering have set goals around the year 2050, which is when the world population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion.