Transportation operations involve monitoring, managing, and operation of the various elements of the transportation system including the highway network, vehicular, and non-vehicular traffic to facilitate safe and efficient movement of people and goods.

The transportation operations group at CTOPS which includes faculty, staff, and students, emphases on performing innovative and cross-cutting research that benefit the University, the state of Alabama and beyond. The group is currently undertaking several research projects with the state DOT and outside stakeholders. Some of the research areas include: arterial and corridor management, freeway operations, connected vehicle research, deployment and evaluation of intelligent transportation systems, incident management and operation, traffic modeling and simulation, traffic engineering research, development of transportation guides and manuals, as well as delivery of technical assistance to research partners.

The transportation operations house a state-of-the-art traffic signal lab. This lab is used to advance research in traffic signal control, detection technology, and connected vehicle infrastructure. The lab helps to prototype and pilot various advanced technologies and systems which are often used for transportation management and operations in real world. The traffic lab is co-located in the same building as the West Central Traffic Management center (TMC) in Cyber Hall which has been a backbone of several research collaborations and partnerships.

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Transportation and mobility planning is a forward-looking process to examine current transportation systems, design for future mobility needs, and combine all of that with the elements of budgets, goals and policies. It helps shape how a community or city grows and it can influence everything from economic development to quality of life. The CTOPS brings together a interdisciplinary group of faculty and students from transportation engineering, urban planning, geography, social science, business and economic research. Among the issues studied at CTOPS are traffic impacts of economic development, transportation project benefit-cost analysis, land use and travel demand forecasting, rural and urban transit, shared mobility and micro-mobility, future mobility with autonomous and electric vehicles, urban air mobility, human development, transportation environment, equity and resilience. The CTOPS forms partnership with public and private stakeholders for transportation and mobility planning.


Road crashes kill more than one million people around the world each year. CTOPS conducts a range of research focused on reducing the occurrence and severity of crashes. The research at CTOPS is based on a Safe Systems approach that seeks to understand the overwhelming influences of human factors within a context of how engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency response can be leveraged to eliminate crashes and mitigate their impacts on society. CTOPS has been instrumental in supporting the adoption of the Highway Safety Manual and kts principles by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and other agencies throughout the State. In addition to conducting technical analyses to develop Safety Performance Functions (SPFs) and Crash Modification Factors (CMFs) for ALDOT, CTOPS provides support in developing policy documents such as the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Additionally, CTOPS has extensive experience conducting exploratory research to better

understand the factors contributing to crashes and how they relate to engineering design and related socioeconomic issues in an effort to provide equitable road safety to the people of Alabama and beyond.

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