Academic transportation engineering research has contributed to the development of transportation systems in a continuously changing environment for over 40 years. Central research topics in addition to intelligent transport are the modelling and the analysis of transportation and its impacts.
Transportation is essential for both individuals and society. Transportation is a consequence of people's needs to travel and to transport goods, and it can be defined as moving people and goods from one place to another. Traffic can also be considered from another perspective: as a flow seen by an outside observer. From this viewpoint, traffic involves the movements of pedestrians and vehicles on routes and areas assigned for them. Within traffic flow theory, for instance, traffic is mainly studied as a phenomenon and regardless of the purpose of transport.
Transportation can be divided into different modes, for example according to the route or means of transport. The transportation system consists of a stationary physical infrastructure (routes and terminals) and a transport management system (vehicle fleet, traffic control systems, and operator organisations). The physical infrastructure also includes some parts of the control systems, such as traffic signals and signs.
The scope of teaching and research in transportation engineering is the examination of the goal setting, the activities and the consequences of passenger and freight transport systems of different modes, general planning and analysis of transportation systems, and traffic control and management.
The professional duties of transportation engineers are versatile and comprehensive. They range from concrete traffic and freight transport planning assignments to theoretically demanding research projects and expert tasks. The research methods vary from traditional field measurements to interview studies and from statistical analysis and modelling to fuzzy logic and neural networks. In solving transportation engineering problems, methods can be found within the fields of applied mathematics, economics, urban planning and psychology.
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