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Faculty Receives Funds for METRANS Projects

CSULB recently received $616,898 to fund six 2006-07 METRANS-CSULB Research Projects. Among theprojectsis one that will study methods of modeling and evaluating the effect of port disruptions and another that will assess the impacts of streamlining in-terminal vehicle movements at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

METRANS is a University Transportation Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation.It was established in 1998 through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century and is a joint partnership of the University of Southern California and Cal State Long Beach.

“I am pleased about the good response from CSULB faculty. METRANS received the request for proposals and it selected those that promised to be of great value to the transportation stakeholders and community,” said Marianne Venieris, executive director of CSULB’sCenter for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) and deputy director of METRANS.

The funded projects and their grant amounts are:

“Reconfiguration Strategies for Mitigating the Impacts of Port Disruptions” – $179,514.Headed by Anastasias Chassiakos, a CSULB electrical engineering professor, and Petros Ioannou, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering-Systems at USC, theproject willinvestigate methods of modeling and evaluating the effect of disruptions and develop mitigation strategies for reducing their impact at the terminal, port and regional levels.

“Dual use of electric utility rights of way by integration of an urban maglev container corridor and gas insulated transmission lines” – $90,000. With CSULB electrical engineering professor Kenneth A. James serving as the principal investigator, this project will investigate the feasibility of integrating urban freight magnetically levitated (maglev) transport and gas insulated transmission line technologies; collect and analyze data to make an order of magnitude, cost per mile comparison for the two technologies individually and in combination; delineate societal and environmental benefits of the combined technologies; and propose a utility, right of way route from the port to the Inland Empire for further detailed engineering, economic, and environmental analysis.

“Efficiency Improvements by Passive Control and Optimization of the Combustion Process and Engine Cooling” – $89,396.Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Reza Toossi headsthis project to study an innovative passive thermal management cooling system deploying expandable thin film assembly.The system is sensitive to small changes in pressure and temperature and adjusts through thermal expansion of a stagnant gas that accommodates sufficient heat transfer to control the flow rate of a given fluid.The proposed system is ideal for passive control of density and air/fuel ratio of fresh charge of an internal combustion engine.

“Impact of Streamlined Chassis Movements and Extended Hours of Operation on Terminal Capacity and Source-Specific Emissions Reduction” – $89,118. Under the direction of Thomas O’Brien, director of research for CITT, and Hanh Dam Le-Griffin, a lecturer in civil engineering at USC, the project builds upon current METRANS-funded research andwillassess the impacts, in terms of terminal capacity and source-specific emissions, of streamlining in-terminal vehicle movements at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports with a focus on chassis pools and extended hours of operation.The goal is to investigate how different operational procedures would change the current number and sequence of vehicle movements necessary to process a container and the time it takes to conduct the container handling process within a terminal.

“On Sequencing of Container Deliveries to Over-the-Road Trucks from Yard Stacks” –$86,636.Headed by CSULB Professor Shi F. Lam, this project focuses ondeliveringcontainers to over-the-road trucks andthe effect of container delivery methods on the mean truck turn time as the container volume increases.This project will provide performance comparison of various container delivery methods for terminals with operating characteristics that can be customized to those in the LA/LB twin ports.Thistoolcan potentially be adopted by each terminal for short and long term planning with regard to container delivery, layout of the import yard, as well as alternative locations for container pickup; and an import yard object that can serve as a plug-in to a simulation test bed being developed in a prior METRANS project.

“Inter-county Spillovers and Ports and Roads Infrastructure Investment” – $82,234.Headed by CSULB Professor Kristen Monaco, this study willassess the role that transportation infrastructure plays in production and employment in the manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade industries.Using data from 1998-2005, the study will model production and cost for three industries -- manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade -- incorporating local investment in port and roads infrastructure as variables in the model.The study willquantify the extent to which counties benefit from port and highway investment in neighboring counties.