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CEE graduate student takes first place at transportation poster competition

Graduate student Kyoungmin “Andrew” Nam of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department won first place at the annual poster competition for the Transportation Engineering Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (TEAM Stl), earning a $250 prize.

Nam

Civil engineering graduate student Kyoungmin “Andrew” Nam won first place at the annual poster competition for the Transportation Engineering Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. He’s seen here with Missouri Department of Transportation Assistant District Engineer over System Management Tom Blair. Photo courtesy of Kyoungmin “Andrew” Nam.

Nam’s poster, titled “Preliminary Results of Parclo (A2/B2) Stop Controlled in Rural Area,” worked to calibrate the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) for Missouri roads by studying the relative safety of different types of Missouri interchanges. The study helped to pair crash reduction countermeasures with cost-benefit analysis in order to make Missouri roads safer for drivers.

CEE Associate Professor Carlos Sun, Associate Professor Praveen Edara and research engineer Henry Brown acted as primary investigators for the project, while Nam led a team of students.

To collect the data, the team used the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Transportation Management System (TMS), the Automatic Road Analyzer (ARAN) and Google street view. As a basic starting point, they looked at the geographic condition of the area, whether it was a rural or urban area and the number of lanes and crossroads it had, among other factors.

Using the data they collected, the team then analyzed which types of interchanges were safer and which reported more crashes, as well as discern which point within an interchange is most dangerous. “We can say this type is safer than this one, or within the interchange, we can say this part is more dangerous so we need to extend it or add more lanes or make it straight — things like that,” said Nam.

The HSM analyzes the safety of various road structures on a nationwide level, but every state is different, and the HSM must be calibrated for each state’s unique conditions.

“There are a whole bunch of mathematic equations and functions within the HSM,” said Nam. “We use these functions to put these local conditions into the nationwide manual and then we can get a number for how the Missouri interchanges compare relatively with other states.”

Out of ten different types of interchanges, Nam’s team tested the A2/ B2 partial clover. It was found that on average the safety calibration for parclo (partial clover) interchanges was at .725, meaning these interchanges caused less crashes than the HSM’s national average prediction.

Nam is passionate about improving safety conditions for drivers, and he plans on studying the cost-benefit analysis of highway safety for his dissertation topic. He’s even made a hobby out of analyzing the safety of the interchanges he comes across while driving.

“I really love that my intuition and experience can go to the academy,” said Nam. “From this kind of project, we can improve the overall safety on the highway in Missouri and other states.”