Urban Infrastructure Engineering

Urban Infrastructure Engineering

Research under Infrastructure Engineering and Construction Management focuses on the planning, design, analysis, and construction management of infrastructure systems crucial to the economic viability of UAE.

Research projects covers construction planning and intelligent management of buildings, transportation networks, and public works, such as roads, bridges, and airport. Urban planning ensures that infrastructure projects consider aspects of resilience and sustainability. Leveraging the wealth of local civil engineering and construction activities, and the transportation sector ensures relevance and immediate use of research results.

Faculty

Air Traffic Noise Monitoring with ADS-B Signal and GIS

Due to aggressive developments in airport expansions and expected growths in demand for air travels in UAE, associated issues with the air traffic noise are also expected to arise.  As UAE is preparing to host various international events in the near future while newly expanded airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are morphing into major hubs for international travelers, it is essential to monitor and assess air traffic noise levels in the vicinity of those airports and nearby regions for impacts on residential and commercial zones.  Recently, all commercial airlines have started equipping their planes with a new type of transmitter that produces automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) signals with which airplanes periodically broadcasts their position and other information related to the aircraft including its altitude, velocity, engine type etc. The noise generated from the engine and friction between the craft and atmosphere travels as sound waves in all directions and reduces its magnitude as they travel through the air.  A live geographic information system (GIS) layer in a raster format can accumulate the noise in a quantifiable unit of decibels in associated cells for various tempo-spatial analyses of air traffic noises. In order to more accurately account for the noise on the ground surface, digital elevation model (DEM) integrated with building information modeling (BIM) can provide exact geometry of noise projection on particular residential or commercial buildings. The proposed methodology would be useful for various sectors of government related to urban planning, city-zoning, sustainable civil infrastructure management etc.

Personnel

PI: Dr. Young-Ji Byon

Co-PI: Dr. Ki Sun Park
Co-Investigators: Dr. Chung-Suk Cho, Dr. Tadahiro Kishida, Dr. Tae Yeon Kim

Funding

ADEK Award for Research Excellence (AARE), 2018 – 2020 (AED 300,000)

AI-empowered Large Scale Traffic Signal Control for use in Metropolitan Area

Over the past decades, the field of urban traffic control (UTC) has been studied in various ways for increasing urban mobility. Development of traffic responsive signal control strategies is the main example since urban traffic flow dynamics essentially depend on a given signal control strategy. Various signal control strategies have been developed so far, such as SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimization Technique), SCATS (Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System), and TUC (Traffic responsive Urban Control). All of these strategies are applicable to large-scale urban road networks for finding network-wide optimized solutions. However, most of them are known to be less efficient when road network’s traffic condition is oversaturated with spillback problems, and the use of highly complex optimization algorithms is another disadvantage in terms of network-wide application. Thus, considering the real-time feasibility, the recent trend has move to developing distributed approaches or taking advantages of machine learning techniques.

An alternative approach for network-wide traffic signal control in real-time manner is the perimeter control, which aims to control the traffic demand for specified urban networks prior to controlling the internal traffic flow inside each of the networks. The researches on perimeter control concept began just recently and have great potential to be developed further. A well-defined network perimeter control system that cooperates with the existing signal control system (network internal traffic control) shall be the core factor affecting the performance of the future urban traffic management.

Personnel

PI at KUST: Dr. Young-Ji Byon

PI at KAIST: Dr. Hwasoo Yeo

Funding

KUKAIST Seed Money, 2018 – 2019 (AED 250,000)

(AED 300,000)

Analysis of Best Practices for Energy Efficient Buildings through Building Energy Modeling in Design

Abu Dhabi has set a clear vision for 2030, dictating sustainability as the foundation for all new commercial and residential developments in the Emirate. In setting the Sustainable Green Building Design Criteria, green building practices, such as life cycle materials usage; energy and thermal efficiency; and indoor environmental quality are advocated by the Urban Structure Framework Plan (Plan Abu Dhabi 2030). To this effort, building energy performance modeling is used to evaluate design options and to develop the business case for incorporating energy efficiency. However, owners and decision-makers perceive building energy modeling to be an add-on cost that does not bring real beneficial information into the design process, building operation processes or energy efficient building systems. As a result, there are significant amount of misused opportunities of energy efficiency-related decisions that could be incorporated into the building design through quality energy modeling. The aim of this study will be to develop a comprehensive set of energy modeling procedures that cover key modeling applications.

The best practice analysis of this proposed study will help optimize the building design and will allow the design team to prioritize investment in the strategies that will have the greatest effect on the building’s energy use. Specifically, this project aims to identify the market opportunities for using the building energy modeling to inform a range of efficiency-related decisions, identify the top stakeholders and decision makers and their perception of energy efficient building design, and assess the markets in terms of potential energy cost savings, opportunities for competitive advantage and profitability, workforce skills and capabilities required to implement, and barrier to adoption.

Personnel

PI: Dr. Chung-Suk Cho

Co-PI: Dr. Young-Ji Byon

Funding

KUIRF L1, 2015 (AED 132,000)

Construction Safety – Training for Engineers and Supervisors on Crane Safety

Although all stakeholders including the construction management team are responsible for ensuring safe crane operations at site, their lack of complete knowledge on the latest OSHA standards, regulations and best practices for planning and conducting crane operations has often resulted in fatal crane accidents. As such, this research includes developing a tool that can be used by all stakeholders responsible for the management and planning of crane operations to assess their crane safety readiness prior to and during crane operation activities. Specifically, this research aims to investigate the hypothesis that the new OSHA crane regulations have significantly lowered the number of crane related accidents and to develop a safety readiness checklist  that serves as a guide for the project team to carryout safe crane operation and to prevent accidents and avoid costly code violations.

Personnel

PI: Dr. Chung-Suk Cho

Innovation in Pedagogy: Teaching the 21st Century Civil Infrastructure Engineering Students using Guided-Inquiry Modules and Project-Based Learning

As part of the UAE Vision 2021, Emiratization encourages Emirati students to contribute to the nation’s growth as national human capital, through higher education training where they will be guided and educated to fuel the needs of the knowledge economy. Leading engineering research and accreditation bodies have requested that engineering course curricula become more reflective of real life engineering practices which challenge and provide opportunities to the student to encounter work place scenarios and further engage with their learning and facilitate development of interpersonal skills such as teambuilding and communications. This is contrary to traditional didactic teaching methods and student learning in the UAE which has been teacher focused and not student centered. In the Teaching and Learning literature, there is evidence to suggest that culture influences values and learning styles. In the UAE, teaching is more teacher focused and students are more knowledge recipients rather than producers. Students are encouraged to memorize material with a focus on reproduction for an exam where critical thinking and problem solving has been minimal. BUSS301, a third year undergraduate course taught to engineering students has undergone major revisions influenced by student evaluations on application, relevance and assessment. The earlier syllabus entitled Corporate Leadership and Human Resource Management (more theoretical and examination driven) evolved to a more recent Enquiry Based approach: Teaching and Learning Leadership by Simulation and Theory where students are taught to be informed future leaders through a myriad of theoretical analysis with much practice using case studies, simulations, strategic planning, personality testing, self-reflection and SWOT analyses. Analysis of feedback and SWOT testing indicates a strong preference for such a course; a welcome deviation from summative assessment and rote learning. Through group activities, students expressed a greater understanding and appreciation of the subject matter as well as their own limitations and strengths.

Personnel

PI: Dr. Chung-Suk Cho

Co-PI: Robert Pech

Co-PI: Dr. Young-Ji Byon

RA: Siobhan O’Sullivan

Funding

ADEK Award for Research Excellence (AARE), 2015 – 2017 (AED 132,000)