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Masdar Institute Team Wins Transport Research Laboratory Student Award 2016 for Innovative Transport Solution

September 21, 2018

A team of three Masdar Institute students has won the 2016 Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) Student Award for their dynamic solution for public transportation in Abu Dhabi.

The students received the 2016 TRL Student Award at the prestigious Gulf Traffic Awards 2016 for their project titled ‘Bus Oriented Development (BOD)’. The theme of the competition in the student category was ‘sustainability’ and the Masdar Institute team’s proposal was shortlisted for its ‘Innovation and creativity’, ‘Applicability to the region’ and ‘Impact’.

The student team includes Engineering Systems and Management students Asim Khanal, Allan Pimenta and Jean Phelippe Ramos. Khanal’s research advisor is Dr. Khaled Alawadi, Assistant Professor, Engineering Systems and Management.

Dr. Abdulla Al Hefeiti, Interim Dean of Students and Dean of Library, Masdar Institute, said: “Congratulations to the Masdar Institute students – Asim, Allan and Jean Phellipe – for their creative sustainability project. These talented young innovators are a credit to Masdar Institute and its commitment to attracting and developing some of the world’s most promising problem-solvers. I am confident we will see more great things from them in years to come.”

The BOD idea proposes an Abu Dhabi Bus Rapid Transit system for Abu Dhabi related to the emirate’s planned metro system, which is scheduled for completion in 2020. In a Bus Rapid Transit system, buses run in an exclusive lane, thus avoiding traffic so that they can be more quick and effective.

The project also proposes a ‘smart mobile app’ that can be used for multiple purposes. It would include a fare discount system based on passenger’s level of daily walking. This will encourage people to walk because they will receive discount coupons based on the distance they walk. In this way the project promotes healthy, sustainable and vibrant communities. Moreover, commuters will be able to buy tickets, reserve seats and access real-time touristic and traffic information via the app. These functions are intended to make the app a powerful marketing tool for partners and a nice interface for passengers.

Award recipient Khanal said: “We believe we won because our idea offers a holistic solution to improve the public transportation in Abu Dhabi. Along with efficient transport services, it also takes into consideration public health concerns such the need to promote walkability, land use planning in the vicinity of the bus stations, and consequent economic clusters that can be created so that development is initiated by the inception of our project.”

TRL, a global center for innovation in transport and mobility, instituted the TRL Student Award in September 2016 to tap into the creative skills of today’s younger generation and help solve practical, real life problems while also helping the country in its move towards more economic growth.

The award aims to recognize outstanding proposals from the UAE’s smartest students and their proposals for sustainable traffic solutions that promote socially and environmentally sustainable transport of passengers and goods. These solutions may address the vehicles used, the transportation infrastructure, the energy source, and the logistics of the transport system or transport planning measures to promote sustainability.

Clarence Michael
News Writer
20 November 2016