Messenger - Vol. 2, No. 2, Page 10
Winter 1993
On Campus
Getting us where we want to go

     How long Delaware motorists will have to wait in left-turn lanes may
well be decided by the Delaware Transportation Center in Du Pont Hall.
     Formed in 1988 as a joint venture of the University's Department of
Civil Engineering and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT),
the center includes a staff of three researchers and 12 graduate students
who look at a variety of transportation needs, ranging from the size of
roadway signs to computerized road maps.
     Shinya Kikuchi, associate professor and director of the center, has
worked on mathematical modeling of left-turn lanes to determine how long
they need to be to accomodate traffic at different intersections. Factors
such as the amount of traffic in both directions and the length of traffic
light cycles figure into the calculations.
     Also in the center, Ardeshir Faghri, assistant professor, has been
creating a computerized geographic information system for New Castle
County. A digitized map will give information about topography, traffic
volume, accident rates, natural resources, agricultural use and other
pertinent facts. In another project, Faghri is working out a method of
estimating the cost of construction before a DelDOT project is put up for
     John Davis, who was state director of highways from 1984-1991, serves
as chief engineer at the center. He has been involved in a project that
examines traffic signs in relation to older drivers. Some of the questions
being addressed include: Do letters need to be larger? Are signs too wordy?
Does a proliferation of signs confuse older drivers?
     The center also uses the expertise of faculty in other fields. For
example, Francis Tannian and Paul Solano of the College of Urban Affairs
and Public Policy worked on a project to develop parking policy and transit
strategies for downtown Wilmington.
     Research into transportation needs will become increasingly important,
Kikuchi says, given population growth, development, environmental concerns,
roadway congestion and technological advances.
                                        -Sue Swyers Moncure