Transportation Engineering

group of students and Professor Hamdar standing outside of the science and engineering hall

Transportation Engineering

The George Washington University (GW) Transportation Program advances the science that relates to transportation engineering while: 1) integrating fundamental and applied research in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) curriculum; 2) operating multiple laboratories for research and educational purposes; and 3) maintaining different equipment ranging from driving simulators to instrumented cars. By transforming the GW campuses into a real-life testbed, the program collects different types of data with the objectives to design, model and analyze smart transportation networks in a connected and automated environment. The program’s research areas include:

  • Artificial Intelligence for traffic analysis, prediction, and control
  • Driver and pedestrian detection and behavioral modeling
  • Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs)
  • Evacuation modeling and emergency management
  • Transportation safety
  • Urban mobility and shared ride services

Research Facilities

Students and faculty at the GW Transportation Program conduct research in four different laboratories:

  • Driving Simulation Laboratory (DS-Lab)
  • Mobile Robotics Laboratory (MR-Lab)
  • Sustainable Urban Mobility Laboratory (SUM-Lab)
  • Traffic Equity and Safety Laboratory (TES-Lab)
  • Vehicle Instrumentation and Automation Laboratory (VIA-Lab)

The laboratories house major equipment including three simulators (car, truck, and bike simulators), two instrumented vehicles, multiple robots, sensors, and a network of cameras.

Research Stories

Third Generation Simulation (TGSIM) data: a closer look at the impacts of automated driving systems on human behavior (Prof. Hamdar)

Optimizing Driver Incentives for Ride-Sourcing Services (Prof. Xu)



samer hamdar



Samer Hamdar
Associate Professor

Prof. Hamdar the director of the transportation program and an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at GW. He served in visiting research positions at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Netherlands, and at the Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden), Germany.  He is currently the chair of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Connected and Automated Vehicles Subcommittee and is a member of the TRB Traffic Simulation Committee (ACP80) and Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics Committee (ACP50). Dr. Hamdar has 15 years of experience working on driver behavior modelling, evacuation management, connected and automated vehicles, and (vehicular and pedestrian) traffic flow dynamics. He has an international research background participating/leading projects in Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea and the United States. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award titled: “Collision Prediction and Vehicular Control Using an Episode-Based Modeling Framework”. Dr. Hamdar serves as associate editor, assistant editor, and editorial board member at three journals.

Zhengtian Xu



Zhengtian Xu
Assistant Professor

Prof. Xu is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research interest mainly focuses on developing novel models, tools, and conducting data-driven quantitative analyses to understand, promote, and regulate urban mobility systems and services. Dr. Xu’s research work has been published on top-tier transportation research journals, including Transportation Research Part B/C, and Transportation Science. One of his papers was recognized as the recipient of the Stella Dafermos Best Paper Award and the Ryuichi Kitamura Paper Award at the Transportation Research Board 95th Annual Meeting. In addition, his dissertation, “On the Empty Miles of Ride-Sourcing Services: Theory, Observation, and Countermeasures”, got awarded the 2021 HKSTS Outstanding Dissertation Award cum Gordon Newell Memorial Prize. Dr. Xu currently leads the Sustainable Urban Mobility Lab of the GW Transportation Program. He received the Civil Engineering Professor of the Year Award conferred by GW Engineers’ Council in 2021.