2023 NJDOT Research Implementation Award

2023 NJDOT Research Implementation Award, Dr. Hao Wang, Rutgers University Energy Harvesting on New Jersey Roadways. Photo © Steve Goodman.

Focused on a “Commitment to Safety,” the 25th Annual NJDOT Research Showcase provided an opportunity for the New Jersey transportation community to learn about academic research initiatives underway at universities across the state.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, NJDOT’s annual Research Showcase this October highlighted the benefits of transportation research, recognized leaders in the field, and featured presentations from faculty and students on critical infrastructure, safety, mobility, and equity research being conducted today.

This year’s Showcase theme, “Commitment to Safety,” served as the organizing framework for the speakers and panelists during the morning plenary session and afternoon breakout sessions.

At the event, Dr. Hao Wang, a professor and researcher at the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), won the 2023 NJDOT Research Implementation Award for his work studying Energy Harvesting on New Jersey Roadways.

Energy harvesting is a promising technique that can produce renewable and clean energy and improve the sustainability of infrastructure. In recent years, researchers have begun to harvest electrical energy from the ambient environment using different techniques, such as piezoelectric, thermoelectric, electromagnetic, and photovoltaic energy harvesting.

His research with NJDOT identified potential energy harvesting technology for applications on roadways and bridges and conducted feasibility analysis and performance evaluation for large-scale and micro-scale energy generation. Solar energy harvesting, for example, showed great potential to generate renewable energy using roadway assets in Right of Ways, noise barriers, rest areas, and building. Future studies need to consider the influences of slope, solar obstruction, terrain, and vegetation.

Dr. Wang and his team provided recommendations for future implementation of energy harvesting in the state’s roadway and bridge network for development of sustainable and smart transportation infrastructure. Read the full report here to learn more.

NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti kicked off Research Showcase with opening remarks and reflected on the history of the Research Showcase Event on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary. In framing the day’s activities, Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti recognized the event’s “Commitment to Safety” theme and the foundational importance of transportation for affecting positive change, improving the quality of life, and the shape of New Jersey’s transportation system.

In her remarks, she appealed to attendees to advance community-centered transportation and to commit to considering the needs of ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) persons when devising research questions and in carrying out their day-to-day activities with the goal of planning, building and maintaining a more safe, equitable and sustainable transportation system.

Dr. Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia delivered the keynote address on the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes (NJ-SHO) Data Warehouse. In organizing her talk, she explained the vision behind the development of the data warehouse over the last 15 years, the data sources that have been employed, its innovative features that can support meaningful research, and her vision for future research and collaborations drawing upon the data warehouse platform.

Dr. Curry described how crash data can be linked to other data sets to extend the period of study about crashes. She explained the data warehouse has been built through an array of administrative data partnerships with NJ agencies (e.g, public health, hospital, motor vehicle, police, medicare and medicaid, etc.) that have been linked alongside rich community-level indicators available at the census tract level to create a robust data tool for traffic safety research.

In the afternoon, concurrent break-out sessions were held and research presentations were given on the topics of Equity & Mobility, Infrastructure, and Safety in transportation. Students and researchers at New Jersey’s colleges and universities also presented their research objectives, methods and findings in a concurrent poster session offering those in attendance an opportunity to learn more about ongoing and recently completed research and interact with the researchers.

Read a full recap of the 25th Annual NJDOT Research Showcase here.