Dr. Heng Wei is a Professor of Transportation Systems and Engineering in Department of Civil & Architectural Engineering & Construction Management at The University of Cincinnati (UC). He has a wide spectrum of research interests and expertise in advanced transportation systems, including intelligent transportation systems (ITS), travel demand in the context of Smart City, traffic data monitoring and management, traffic operation and safety, transportation conformity, computing and information technologies in transportation infrastructure systems, microscopic traffic simulation modeling, Connected Automated Vehicle (CAV) affected traffic flow theory and behavior modeling, artificial intelligent techniques in transportation, and geographic information system (GIS) application in transportation. Since joining UC, he has secured a great number of research projects from ODOT, FHWA, NSF, US EPA, USDOT UTCs, and UC URC/FDC. His research has resulted in over 173 peer-reviewed and referred papers, and nine book or chapters. He has been awarded more than 20 professional prizes and honors for excellence in research and teaching. He is a member of numerous outstanding professional committees, such as TRB Committee on Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Computing Applications (ABJ70), User Information Systems (AND 20), Transportation in Developing Countries (ABE90), ASCE T&DI Committee on Advanced Technology, ASCE T&DI Committee and Transportation Safety, ASCE T&DI Committee on Sustainability and Environment, and ASCE T&DI Committee on CAV Impacts. He is the Chair of IEEE ITSS Travel Information and Traffic Management Committee and Past President of Chinese Overseas Transportation Association (COTA). In addition, he has successfully organized/chaired/co-chaired 31 international professional conferences, including IEEE ITSC, programs of TRB annual/mid-year meetings, and CICTP series. He is a member of review panels for SHRP 2 Projects, US DOT RITA UTCs, NSF, and referees for top transportation journals (e.g., Transportation Research C & D
, Journal of ITS
). He is an associate editor of the Open Journal of Civil Engineering
and editorial board member of the Open Transportation Journal,
and Journal of Environmental Pollution and Climate Change.
Since joining UC in 2004, Dr. Wei has successfully
rehabilitated and directed the transportation engineering program that was established by Dr. Prahlad Pant who retired in 2003, and to date, it has become a compelling research and study program with great teaching curriculum and an excellent standing in national and international academic services. More significantly, he established the Advanced Research Transportation Engineering and Systems (ART-EngineS) Laboratory through the support of the start-up fund and other external funding. The ART-Engines Lab has become an integrated transportation research and education base for graduate and undergraduate students specialized in transportation engineering via collaborations with environmental engineering, planning and geography programs. Dr. Wei has adapted the problem-and project-based STEMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and System) approach to train transportation graduate students to boost their interdisciplinary research abilities or skills in real-world problem identification, problem-solving procedure and solution development, and solution alternatives evaluation. As a result of his persistent dedication to this endeavor, four Ph.D. students (Mr. Zhixia Li, Mr. Qingyi Ai, Mr. Harikishan Perugu, and Mr. Zhuo Yao) and two M.S. students (Mr. Nagaraju Kashayi, and Miss. Maria F. Ramirez-Bernal) have won totally 13 top awards at regional and national student paper competitions and scholarships.
Dr. Wei’s breakthrough achievements have been achieved at the ART-EngineS lab in multiple perspectives. Firstly, he invented a video-capture-based method for simultaneously extracting vehicle trajectory data on multiple lanes from video and developed a software tool, Vehicle Video-Capture Data Collector (VEVID). The method and software enable accurate extraction of data in a cost-effective and efficient way that is critically needed for traffic flow theory and simulation modeling, and understanding of travel behaviors, but difficult to obtain by traditional data collection techniques. This new method helped him successfully secured several research projects funded by FHWA, ODOT, NSF, and US EPA, which have resulted in profound new findings of vehicular travel behaviors at lane-vehicle level, and revealed inherencies and mechanism of dilemma zone dynamics and vehicle classification with dual-loop sensors. The results have drawn great attention to major media such as Washington Post, The Seattle Times (Winner of a 2010 Pulitzer Prize), Canada.com, Before It’s News, etc., which have published articles to introduce his research. Recently, he and his graduate student has upgraded the VEVID into another new adaptive video-based vehicle classification technique for monitoring traffic and received a research grant from ODOT. In this project, VEVID has been combined with image processing technique into the development of a “hybrid” system, i.e., “Video-based Information Extraction in Wide Traffic Range with Assured Fast Identification Capability” (VIEW-TRAFIC) in order to make the video-based traffic extraction suitable for all traffic conditions (light and congested traffic).
Secondly, he proposed a new theory for transportation emergency evacuation planning models and new intelligent dynamic traffic control system for bottlenecks or work zones on freeways. The prototype of the Integrated Urban Emergency Evacuation Contingency Plan (IUE2CP) was developed for a Beijing Olympic Games research project collaborated with Beijing University of Technology (China). The research has resulted in several journal papers and presentations at top international conferences, and the results have been adopted into two book chapters and a science book titled Fundamental Theory of Emergency Highway Traffic Evacuation Planning and Control (in Chinese) that was published in 2010. Thirdly, his recent research is focused on integration of traffic operation with emission impact via various advanced traffic and emission monitoring technologies, funded by FHWA/ODOT and US EPA. The breakthrough achievement is reflective of the development of Traffic Air Environmental Health Impact Analysis (TAEHIA) and Air Impact Relating Scenario-based Urban Settings and Transportation Assets In Network (AIR-SUSTAIN) systems. The TAEHIA aims to facilitate application of existing permanent traffic monitoring data and air quality monitoring data in support of running vehicle emission and ambient air pollutant concentration estimations, with extended capability to address public problems due to transportation activities. The AIR-SUSTAIN provides a GIS-based synthetic platform to analyze land-use and social economy adaptations to climate changes by the integrating the regional-level and project-level transportation environmental impacts due to travel demand and associated transportation activities. Such integration efforts will be greatly beneficial to identifying strategic solutions to design and operate transportation systems in an attempt to satisfy the transportation conformity requirements, and provide supporting information for measuring and assessing sustainability of transportation systems. The efforts in exploring the cutting-edge, interdisciplinary issues are anticipated to produce fruitful achievements in the near future.
To date, Dr. Wei and his team have developed the prototypes of the Traffic Air Environmental Health Impact Analysis (TAEHIA) and Air Impact Relating Scenario-based Urban Settings and Transportation Assets In Network (AIR-SUSTAIN) systems. The HAEHIA aims to facilitate application of existing permanent traffic morning data in support of project-level analysis. The AIR-SUSTAIN provides a GIS-based synthetic platform for analyzing land-use and social economy adaptations to climate changes. In addition, they have developed the VIEW-TRAFIC, a “hybrid” system in which the following two systems are integrated: 1) the Rapid Video-based Vehicle Identification System (RVIS), an image processing technique based tool for identifying the number of vehicle axles, particularly applicable to light traffic condition; and 2) VEVID, a semi-automatic tool applicable to heavy traffic conditions. Since 2014, his team has engaged in the development of the simulation-based tool, Synthetic Adaptive V2X Effect (SAVE) Estimator, which is used to explore the interactions between the CV system and transportation performance. Moreover, this work is being incorporated into the exploration work addressing how to rehabilitate today's highway infrastructures and transportation systems into "smart connected infrastructures" (i.e. integrated transportation infrastructures in support of cyber/sensing/communication/ computing infrastructures to be connected via Internet of Things and big data accessibility) to lay out a infrastructural foundation for adaptation of the CAV and other disruptive technologies into the Smart City environment.
Prior to joining The University of Cincinnati, Dr. Wei was a lecturer faculty for University of Southern California and California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, where he offered civil and transportation engineering courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Additionally, Dr. Wei has five years of industrial experience and has involved in various transportation infrastructure design, maintenance, and operations, and ITS projects. Representative projects include the Illinois DOT Transportation System Center Upgrade Project (Chicago Illinois), US National ITS Architecture Maintenance Project, FAST-TRAC Traffic Information Management System Maintenance Project (Oakland County, Michigan), Michigan DOT ITS Center Software Maintenance Project, the City of Franklin TMC Build Project (Tennessee), and Traffic Control and Monitoring System ITS Project (Pasadena, California). Through those practices, Dr. Wei has accumulated hand-on experiences in applications of advanced computing, communication and information technologies in transportation systems. Moreover, Dr. Wei had participated in several major transportation planning and travel demand forecasting, traffic impact and signal control improvement projects for cities in Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and California, as well as, freeway system operation assessment project for Wisconsin DOT.
Dr. Wei received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Kansas, B.S. and M.S. degrees from Beijing University of Technology, China, all in Civil Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer with the State of Michigan.