Research Trajectory

My research trajectory has focused on different topics, ranging from mobility planning or freeway traffic management to port operations. My objective has always been to extend our conceptual knowledge of transportation systems and reach some guidelines to allow practitioners for better designs which eventually have a positive effect on society.

The results of my research activities can be summarized in:

  • 18 papers in indexed journals (in 15 of them as the 1st autor; 7 in 1st quartile IF)
  • 1 Monograph (published in Springer Tracts on Transportation and Traffic)
  • 2 book collaborations / chapters (one edited by OECD publishing)
  • 32 publications in conference proceedings
  • Lead researcher in two projects belonging to the Spanish National Research Plan
  • 12 research contracts with private companies and public institutions
  • 1 PhD thesis & 25 Master thesis directed
  • Over 50 participations in research conferences, seminars, courses and invited talks both, at national and international levels
  • and 24 media collaborations

I am especially proud of the awards I have received in relation to my research activities, including:

  • 2014. Finalist in the Young Researcher of the Year 2014 Award. International Transport Forum (OECD). One of my papers was shortlisted as one of the four best research works on transport policy formulation and implementation by a researcher under 35 years of age who has undertaken his research in a member country.
  • 2013. Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award. Best Ph.D. Thesis of the course 2010-2011. Civil Engineering category. UPC – BarcelonaTech.
  • 2012. II Young Researcher Award. X Congreso de Ingeniería del Transporte. Best paper presented by researchers under 35 years old.
  • 2011. VIII Abertis Prize Winner. “Highway travel time estimation with data fusion”. Best 2010 Doctoral Thesis in the field of transportation infrastructure management
  • 2010. Top 25 Hottest Articles. My paper “Travel time measurement in closed toll highways” was ranked 11 in the top 25 most downloaded papers for the journal in the period October – December 2010 (www.sciencedirect.com).

I am also reviewer for the Spanish National Research Commission, for the ETH Zurich Research Commission, for the Swiss National Foundation (SNF) and for 5 high impact SCI journals: Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure EngineeringIEEE Transactions on ITS, Transportation Research – Part CJournal of Intelligent Transportation and Transportation Science.

RESEARCH TOPICS

-Active traffic management strategies on metropolitan freeways

Active Traffic Management (ATM) strategies are generally regarded as an approach for dynamically controlling traffic demand and available capacity of transportation facilities. A combination of real-time and predictive operational strategies are used in order to control traffic. This should lead to a more efficient freeway performance.

With the exception of ramp metering strategies, with a long tradition in the US, the implementation of ATM strategies, mainly in Europe, is quite recent. These include dynamic speed limits or dynamic lane management, being the former more popular.

DSL_Barcelona

The claimed benefits of these strategies include a reduction of traffic related emissions and accident rates, as well as congestion relief (e.g. reduction of stop&go episodes or capacity increase). However, there is a lack of scientific analysis and verification of such effects. This means that the effectiveness of many ATM policies is still a controversial issue.

My research on this topic tries to fill this gap, regarding dynamic speed limit (DSL) strategies and managed lanes on metropolitan freeways. I have developed analytical tools and simulation environments in order to assess the benefits of these ATM strategies. In addition, I recognize the need for an empirical assessment. That’s why I am working in a DSL experiment in order to construct a comprehensive traffic database that will allow researchers to test and validate their theories. In order to achieve this goal, I have the valuable collaboration of the Catalan traffic administration (SCT-Servei Català del Trànsit). We are working together in the construction of a highway lab in a corridor accessing the city of Barcelona. This freeway is intensively equipped with surveillance technologies and an automated DSL system is already installed.

Main Publications

-Freeway travel time estimation from multiple data sources

Travel time is the drivers’ most appreciated information and the key indicator of highway management performance. Despite this relevance, the interest of highway operators in providing travel time information is quite recent. In the last century, magnetic loop detectors played a role in measuring traffic volume and also, with less accuracy, average speed and vehicle length. New traffic monitoring technologies (intelligent cameras, GPS or cell phone tracking, Bluetooth identification, new MeMS detectors, etc.) have appeared in recent decades which permit considerable improvement in travel time data gathering. Some of the new technologies are cheap (Bluetooth), others are not (cameras); but in any case most of the main highways are still monitored by magnetic loop detectors. It makes sense to use their basic information and enrich it, when needed, with new data sources.

My research has developed a new and simple approach for the short term prediction of freeway travel times, based on the fusion of direct and indirect travel time measurements. These are obtained from a wide variety of sources. Bayes’ analysis makes it possible to obtain fused estimates that are more reliable than the original inputs, overcoming some drawbacks of travel time estimations based on only data sources. The developed methodology adds value and obtains the maximum (in terms of travel time estimation) of the available data, without falling in the recurrent and costly request of additional data needs.

Travel_Time

The empirical testing of the algorithms in the AP-7 toll highway near Barcelona proves that it is possible to develop an accurate real-time travel time information system on closed toll highways with the existing surveillance equipment.

Main Publications

 Optimization of operations at port container terminals

The main objective was to look for operative strategies leading to a better performance and capacity increase in port container terminals. Specifically my research focused on the optimization of the interconnection system (i.e. the movement of containers between landside/storage and storage/seaside) either using straddle carriers or terminal truck units. I developed job scheduling algorithms for the interconnection units, leading to an optimal level of centralization of terminal tasks. I also proposed a storage strategy accounting for the expected duration of stance of containers at the terminal. The performance of simplified versions of such strategies were analytically assessed using queuing theory. In addition we built a simulation model for a container terminal, and tested the realistic performance of algorithms using parameters measured at the Barcelona Container Terminal (TCB). Results showed that we were able to increase significantly the number of operations per unit time in this terminal.

simulation port

Main Publications

Sustainable mobility planning

When starting my research trajectory I devoted my attention to the planning of urban mobility, especially for industrial estates. In these areas, mobility is limited to the private car option. This involves huge externalities and creates outcast minorities, deprived of public accessibility to job locations. My research was devoted to create some guidelines in order to design a sustainable and equitable mobility system for industrial states. These guidelines should be useful to practitioners when planning the transportation system for these areas, and would lead to a more sustainable and equitable mobility.

Main Publications

Poligons

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