Research Projects


by Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020

Meet Zhenlu Huang – a young transportation engineer from USC Viterbi School of Engineering who has recently joined a BCC transportation engineering consulting firm as a Transportation Planner in their Altamonte Springs, Florida office.   


Huang graduated from USC in December 2019 with a master’s degree in Civil Engineering, focusing on Transportation Engineering. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Traffic and Transportation at Southeast University in China in 2017. “When I was an undergraduate student, I was interested in public transit. I did the projects about the seamless transfer of transit systems based on rail metro stations,” she noted. In her undergraduate studies, Huang worked on a project that aimed to improve the connections between rail metro stations and other traveling modes. The project’s main goal was to encourage people to use transit systems rather than driving a car. Huang worked on another project to optimizing the allocation of bicycle share rental sites to improve their accessibility and mobility.



While at USC, Huang became very interested in traffic data analysis. “I found data to be a good explanation of problems. Moreover, visualized data can be very helpful in supporting solutions,” she shared.  To fulfill her interest in data analysis, she learned related software, including ArcGIS, Synchro, CUBE, and Python.


While at USC, Huang also actively participated in transportation seminars and workshops, including the METRANS events. “I learned about METRANS events in my first year of studying at USC, and I found them very helpful for learning what is happening in the transportation area,”  she said.  Huang not only attended METRANS events but also contributed by volunteering at several seminars. “I am grateful for the opportunities METRANS events give students studying the transportation field,” she added. “Students can learn new transportation technologies and get in contact with professionals.” Huang also joined the METRANS Mentor Program, which helped her learn more about organizations like ITS and WTS Orange County Chapter.


While at USC, Huang completed several internships at transportation consultation companies, where she shared that she obtained valuable experience in map development, traffic data analysis, traffic signal design, transportation demand modeling, and others.


Huang’s primary duties at BCC Engineering now include supporting and conducting transportation planning and modeling tasks, such as travel demand model development, map recreations and reviews, spatial data analysis, social-economic data analysis, land use analysis, operation analysis, and data visualization. Additionally, she will do traffic impact studies and support project development. Huang believes that the skills and knowledge she got during her study at USC helped her find this job. “The position I applied to had high requirements regarding the data analysis skills,” she shared, “and, fortunately, I learned most of the skills, such as ArcGIS, Synchro, CUBE, and Python, beforehand.”


When asked about a piece of advice to students, Huang said, “You should know what you want to be in the future and be persistent in pursuing it. Also, be grateful to anyone who helps you.”


We wish Zhenlu Huang the best of luck at her job and many professional successes in the future!


About the Author:

Adylbek Abdykalikov is a graduate student in the International Public Policy and Management Program at USC Price. He has working experience in various positions at the Ministries of Transport and Communication and Investment and Development of Kazakhstan and was in charge of Transportation and Civil Aviation policy development and implementation. He serves as the lead writer to METRANS Newsletter and lead student event coordinator for METRANS and PSR.