2015 Student Participation in Research

A specific workforce development component is required for all research projects funded by the ATLAS Center at UMTRI and TTI. Funded researchers provide a work plan describing how students will engage in the research.

Students currently participating in ATLAS Research are:

Adrean Contreras - Good One

Adrian Contreras

Adrian is currently a graduate student at Texas A&M University and is working towards an M.E. in Transportation Engineering with a focus on design. He was born in San Antonio, TX and attended Texas A&M for his undergraduate studies, where he earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering. Adrian has held positions in organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and the Texas A&M Chapter of Chi Epsilon. He is also a current member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and works as a graduate research assistant with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). Upon graduation, Adrian hopes to stay in Texas to work with a consulting firm on transportation engineering projects. When he is not studying or working, Adrian enjoys recreational activities (such as jogging and badminton), listening to music, and watching movies.


Tessa Elwart - Student2

Tessa Elwart

Tessa is entering into her senior year at the University of Michigan this fall.  She will graduate with a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering in December 2015.  One of her biggest interests is people.  She loves helping people and interacting with them which ultimately led to her interest in research.  Currently, Tessa is working on a project at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) in the Driver Interface Group.  This group is focused on the design of controls, displays, and information systems and how they can be created to be more user-friendly and less distracting for drivers.  The current project she is working on has to do with estimating task times while using a navigation-radio.  These task times determine if that task is excessively distracting.  This information can be used to change the design of navigation-radios to become less distracting and reduce distraction-affected crashes.  This experience has allowed her to be involved with many phases of research, including data reduction and analysis, literature reviews, pilot studies, editing papers, and writing a technical article. After graduating, Tessa plans on getting a job to gain more experience and will ultimately return to graduate school with a better idea of focus for her area of study.  She is continuously trying to learn everything she can and is full of questions.  Tessa is always up for a challenge and loves to figure out how things work. Tessa is a member of the flag line in the Michigan Marching Band and coaches volleyball for Huron Valley Volleyball Club.  In her free time, she loves playing volleyball, walking in the woods, and spending time with her friends and family.


Cameron Gagnon

Cameron Gagnon

Cameron Gagnon is interested in the areas of Neuroscience and Computer Science, and how these two fields interact.  His goal is to attain knowledge of medicine or software and hardware development, as a means to help and better others lives.  Working on the technology and science to create a safer driving environment fits perfectly within his goals.


Anjali Kumar

Anjali Kumar

Anjali Kumar is a first-year student at the University of Michigan originally from New Delhi, India, studying to potentially major in Economics. She is part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program offered by the university and works for the Transportation Research Institute as a research assistant. She is interested in cognitive science research and is working on the project titled “Passenger Effects on Risky Driving.” In her free time she likes to work with non-profit organizations that help underprivileged children get educated and participate in discussions about current events. When Anjali is not working, she likes to practice yoga, listen to music and play tennis.


Lin Irene Lu

Lin Lu

Lin “Irene” Lu is a Graduate Research Assistant in System Reliability Division at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) and a second year master’s student in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Texas A&M University. She started working at TTI in October 2014. In the ATLAS project, her research will focus the development and the evaluation of a framework for incorporating connected vehicle drivers’ behaviors into traffic simulation models. Irene has worked on ITS research and application evaluations since her junior year. She helped developed a traffic condition reporting system using RFID data and a dilemma zone protection algorithm using vehicle trajectory data in her senior year. Currently she is also working a master’s thesis focusing on the potential of improving traffic flow using data exchange from connected vehicle environment.


harika_Prodduturu photo-cropped

Harika Reddy Prodduturu

Harika Reddy Prodduturu is a Graduate Assistant – Research at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. She holds Bachelor’s degree in Civil engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University-Hyderabad, India. She is currently pursuing her Masters’ degree in Structural Engineering at Texas A&M University. She has a past experience in research as an intern at Indian Institute of Technology –  Guwahati, India (May – June, 2012) and at Indian Institute of technology, Hyderabad (May – June, 2013). Her exposure to computational work and research during her internship, made her more inclined to pursuing a PhD, in future.

She is presently working for the Roadside Safety and Physical Security Division at Texas A&M Transportation Institute, under the project “Project Investigation of the Correlation between Roadside Safety Hardware and Vehicle Safety Standards Evaluation Criteria”, which  is related to the potential for increasing the maximum limits dictated in MASH for occupant risk evaluation. The research involves FE computer modeling with use of a small passenger car vehicle an  preparing a  full-scale crash test and performing according to FMVSS testing criteria.



Mohammadali Shirazi

Mohammadali Shirazi received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran in 2009 and his M.S. degree in civil engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran in 2011. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. degree from the Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. His general research interests are statistical modeling of crash data, highway safety, transportation planning and applying operations research to transportation.


Youngbo Suh

Youngbo Suh

Youngbo Suh has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Industrial Engineering from Seaoul National University, South Korea.  He is currently a PhD student in Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M and is working on the ATLAS project “Investigating the roles of touchscreen and physical control interface characteristics on driver distraction and multitasking performance.” His research interests include human factors-interface design, cognitive processing, and usability.


Yaoyuan Vincent Tan

Yaoyuan Vincent Tan

Yaoyuan Vincent Tan has a bachelors in Statistics and Applied Probability from NUS and a Masters in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan.  He is currently applying for his PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan.  He is currently working on the ATLAS project “Development of a Statistical Method for Predicting Human Driver Decisions and a Paradigm for Communicating Predicted Decisions to Automated Vehicles in the Connected Environment“. His research interests include developing statistical methods to solve research problems.  He enjoys doing calligraphy and listening to classical music during his leisure time.


Haotian Zhong Revised

Haotian Zhong

Haotian Zhong graduated from Texas A&M University in May of 2014, with an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning and is currently a doctoral student in Urban and Regional Science Program at the same university. His research interests include bicycle and pedestrian safety, urban economics, and economic impacts of sustainable urbanism.

Since September of 2013, Mr. Zhong has been assisting Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Mobility Management Program on several projects including the Roadway Congestion Analysis project for the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, bicycle and pedestrian crash data analysis for the Austin District, and literature reviews for various projects. As a planning student, his works on public transit planning have been presented in several conferences, including the American Planning Association 2014 National Conference, the International Association for China Planning 2014 Annual Conference, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning 2014 Annual Conference.

Currently, Haotian Zhong is taking an active role in the ATLAS project to evaluate safety measures for pedestrians on high speed roadways under the supervision of Joan Hudson.



The ATLAS Center is a collaboration between the University of Michigan (U-M) Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and Texas A&M Transportation Institute