A Papers

Saturday, February 11, 2017 - 9:42pm

By Griffin Kantz, B.S. in Policy, Planning, and Development 2017


With appreciation for the students that help make METRANS and its constituent university transportation centers what they are today, I am proud to launch this monthly column featuring transportation student projects and papers. My goal is to disseminate noteworthy samples of just some of the brilliant work continually produced by transportation students, in an effort not only to share their accomplishments, but also to inform and inspire.

In this first installment I include two papers, each recently published by current USC doctoral students. Mohammad Motie, Ph.D. candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering, co-wrote “Throughput Analysis of a Horizontal Traffic Queue under Safe Car Following Models” with assistant professor Ketan Savla, and was selected to present it at the 55th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) held in Las Vegas, Nevada last December. Eun Jin Shin, currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Development, published the first essay of her doctoral dissertation, “Unraveling the Effects of Residence in an Ethnic Enclave on Immigrants’ Travel Mode Choices,” in the Journal of Planning Education and Research in August 2016.

“Throughput Analysis of a Horizontal Traffic Queue under Safe Car Following Models”

Author Motie is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Motie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tehran with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2012, then obtained his M.Sc. in construction management and engineering from the same university in 2013. Concurrently with his Ph.D., Motie is obtaining a second M.Sc. degree from the Department of Computer Science in USC Viterbi; he expects to graduate in December 2017.

Motie’s research, advised by METRANS researcher Ketan Savla and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, discusses the impacts of emerging capabilities in driverless cars and vehicle-to-vehicle communication on surrounding transportation systems. In his recent paper, Throughput Analysis of a Horizontal Traffic Queue under Safe Car Following Models, “through a novel queuing theoretic framework using the construct of horizontal traffic queues, he analytically characterizes system-level performance measures (such as capacity and travel time) under different safe vehicle-scale configurations. Unlike existing simulation-based methods, his framework provides fundamental insights about the relation between various vehicle-level interaction rules and macroscopic performance metrics that can be utilized for the purpose of designing connected and autonomous vehicles.” In December 2016, Mohammad presented his work at the 55th IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) – a prestigious conference in the field of control theory and dynamical systems. There, he reports that he received positive technical feedback. He hopes that his findings will prove to be useful for the next generation of transportation systems, in which the rules of interaction between vehicles may be designed to optimize system performance.

(Photo by Mohammad Motie)


“Unraveling the Effects of Residence in an Ethnic Enclave on Immigrants’ Travel Mode Choices”

Author Eun Jin Shin is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Urban Planning and Development in the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, and expects to receive her degree in May 2017. Shin’s research and teaching interests lie in the intersection of transportation, urban structure, and social inequality. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil and Urban Engineering from Seoul National University in 2008 and 2010 respectively, and her Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington in 2012.

Her dissertation, supervised by METRANS Director Genevieve Giuliano, consists of three essays that each examine how residential segregation of ethnic minorities shapes their travel behavior and access to economic opportunities. The first essay of her dissertation, Unraveling the Effects of Residence in an Ethnic Enclave on Immigrants’ Travel Mode Choices, was recently published online in the Journal of Planning Education and Research. She has also worked on various research projects investigating the relationship between social class/location and accessibility, as well as the impacts of transportation investments on development patterns and the spatial economy.

(Photo by Eun Jin Shin)

This column runs in monthly installments. If you are a transportation student and have recently completed a project or paper (within or beyond the context of class) of which you are proud, we invite you to submit your work! Reach out to the author for consideration.


Griffin Kantz

Griffin Kantz is a fourth-year undergraduate studying Sustainable Planning in the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. He can be reached at