The Urban Transportation Center joined with UIC colleagues from the College of Engineering and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign June 3 and 4 to host the productive and rewarding 2015 National University Rail Center (NURail) Annual Meeting held at UIC.
Academic researchers, industry professionals and student researchers from the seven NURail partner colleges and universities met to discuss current rail research, technology transfer, education and workforce development and other topics related to railway transportation in the United States.
View a video featuring seven NURail Partners discussing the rail industry, education, research and more.
Around 100 attended the NURail Annual Meeting, which was held at the UIC Student Center West. The theme of the 2015 meeting was “Delivering Results.”
Here’s a breakdown of some key activities, sessions and presentations:
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Around 30 meeting attendees participated in a morning tour of the Metra/Amtrak Operations Center at Chicago’s Union Station.
Presentations were delivered on research completed by NURail affiliate member institutions, and a workshop was held on ways to improve the placement of graduate students in rail industry jobs.
Strategic development planning workshops were held on these five topics: Vehicle-Track Interaction; Safety and Risk; Network Capacity Planning; Urban, Regional and HSR Passenger Funding; and Economic Development, and Multimodal Freight Transport.
A student poster session featured research from NURail affiliate universities, and the “3-Minute Thesis Competition,” where four student researchers delivered brief overviews of their research.
A keynote address on the value of research was delivered by Dr. Mitra Dutta, Vice Chancellor for Research at UIC, during dinner.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Six former graduate students who worked on research funded through NURail shared insight on the value of their experiences during a panel discussion.
During two Research Showcase events, principal investigators from each NURail partner institution presented updates on current research underway. Topics addressed included: Modeling to simulate vehicle-track substructure interaction; shared rail corridor risk analysis; exposing undergraduates to rail research; rail crossing improvements; rail as a socio-technical system; off-peak delivery; and pre-crash behaviors leading to pedestrian trespassing injuries.
NURail Director Christopher Barkan moderated a discussion titled, “Outreach, Workforce Development and Tech Transfer Showcase: NURail in Action.” Eight leading professionals from the rail industry shared insight on the industry. View a video of the panel discussion.
The National University Rail (NURail) Center is a consortium of seven partner colleges and universities offering an unparalleled combination of strengths in railway transportation engineering research and education in North America.
The NURail Center is the first USDOT OST-R University Transportation Center dedicated to the advancement of North American rail transportation. The Center is headquartered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and includes researchers and educators who are experts and national leaders in railway infrastructure, systems and vehicles from seven prestigious academic institutions in the United States.