1. Preparing the Next Generation of Undergraduate and Graduate Engineers in Autonomous Robotic System for Damage Detection

(Duration of Grant: 2020 - 2021; Funding Agency: UTC)

PI: Dr. Steve Efe

Co. PI: Dr. Kadir Aslan

Project Excerpt

Given the growing importance of science and engineering research in meeting national goals, US research needs to remain at world frontiers if the United States is to boost economic productivity and competitiveness. Morgan State University (MSU) recognizes the value of continued diversification and growth of Maryland’s and U.S. economy, and it continues to develop its research capabilities to ensure the next generation of STEM graduates is multidisciplinary, collaborative, and working in an environment that fosters their most creative ideas. As part of CIAMTIS outreach activities, we will engage in educational and research outreach to undergraduate and graduate students in the transportation engineering field.

Our particular interest is to train the next generation of transportation engineers in supporting the Maryland Department of Transportation (MD-DOT) Sustainable Mobility Initiative of automation technologies in electric vehicle (EV) operations and meeting transportation energy demands.  Maryland is currently home to just over 12,000 EVs and aiming to put 300,000 EVs on the road by 2025 to boost EV adoption. With the evolutionary wireless EV technologies for sustainable transport network, their implementation in densely populated cities in MD can provide continuous vehicle charging, thus, eliminating the EV range issues and need for large battery capacities. However, one of the teething problems to be envisaged in wireless electric vehicle charging implementation in MD is maintaining the road infrastructure to support this innovative technology for economic viability. Current approaches for damage detection of roads such as visual inspection are time consuming, as difficulty in scanning larger surfaces of square miles, need for a spatially-referenced grid, and skilled operators are required.

This project therefore seeks to train transportation engineering students on how to develop an autonomous robotic system (ARS) to analyze EV roads distressed locations and provide subsurface damage detection using a convolutional neural network trained to characterize EV roads image-to-crack-label dataset.

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2. MSU Outreach Activities

(Duration of Grant: 2020; Funding Agency: UTC

PI: Dr. Kadir Aslan

Co. PI: Dr. Steve Efe

Co. PI: Dr. Mehdi Shokouhian

Project Excerpt

State of Maryland government agencies and private sectors in the field are requiring that they hire and contract only with licensed professional engineers. This is a trend that is almost certain to continue in the future. Given the current job market in Maryland, there is a significant challenge replacing retiring PE engineers. With the employment of transportation engineers in the state of Maryland projected to grow by more than 4.0
percent from 2018 to 2024 (adding about 65,000 new jobs), more licensed engineers will be needed to offer engineering work for public and private clients. These cohorts of engineers are expected to possess construction and design, engineering and management, and project control expertise, among others, by following technical guidelines for promoting safety, reliability, productivity, and efficiency in civil engineering. One of the goals of this project is to increase the PE licensed engineers in the transportation field in Maryland and present findings from academia and industrial partnerships. Invited lectures from renowened PE licensure experts will form and drive implementation and sustainability of this partnership.

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3. Highway Geometrics and Noise Abatement Decision

(Duration of Grant: 2019; Funding Agency: MD-SHA)

Co. PI: Dr. Steve Efe

Co. PI: Dr. Mehdi Shokouhian

Project Excerpt

As part of the Environmental Stewardship Program, the Maryland State Highway Administration (MD SHA) continues to limit the impacts of transportation noise on Maryland’s environment. The quality and cost estimates of any abatement-type strategy should depend on the framework of the planning process through analysis of alternatives and onto consideration of implementation strategies. New road construction, re-alignment projects and noise barriers installation involve significant agency resources of manpower and monetary cost. Thus many agencies including SHA continue to seek alternative abatement-type that result in longer-lasting and effective strategy that considers site-specific characteristics.
Evaluation and reduction of the noise impacts by SHA do generally occur after a roadway construction which results in the provision of costly mitigation strategies in Type 1 projects. Since traffic noise level generated is as a result of acoustical energy emitted by vehicles as well as a combination of scenarios such as roadway geometric and materials, a decision making framework is therefore crucial to stakeholders for abatement strategy. This could be evident in the construction of a new location, physical alteration of a highway, addition of lanes and restriping of existing pavement projects. Abatement costs of these projects and resource pressures demand special attention to be given to the sensitivity analysis of solutions for effective selection and decision-making process by SHA. Current noise abatement-type selections are based on life-cycle cost analysis concepts in addition to design/alternate bidding procedure but these processes need a more rational consideration. With increasing numbers of motorists using Maryland highway system, and considering budgets and resources, the integration of all environmental, economic and engineering evaluation parameters would yield an effective abatement strategy and provide the maximum value for taxpayers.
This project reviews existing methodologies for abatement-type selection by MD-SHA, evaluates these methodologies, conducts field measurement considering site-by-site evaluation attributes, develop traffic noise models for the selected sites, create screening matrix, and implement LCCA on alternatives. Based on the findings of these evaluations, the developed decision making matrix will be applied to several example cases in Maryland State. The MCDM process will be utilized in the development of the abatement-type selection framework based on project needs and constraints. The framework will evaluate abatement –type alternatives in terms of attributes such as (1) change in geometric characteristics on noise level, ii) changes in typical section (iii) abatement materials and type geometry, and (iv) economic aspects by analyzing the Net Present Value (NPV) of alternatives. Finally, these alternatives are integrated using the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and ranked using the VIKOR model based on indices derived from the selection attributes.


4. Adoption of High Impact Pedagogical Techniques to Promote Motivation
and Achievement in STEM Fields at a Historical Black College and
University (HBCU)

(Duration of Grant: 2019-2023; Funding Agency: NSF-IUSE)

PI: Dr. Kemi Ladeji-Osias

Senior Personnel: Dr. Steve Efe

​Project Excerpts

The overarching goal for the proposed project is to adopt evidence based high impact pedagogical techniques that have been successful in promoting motivation and enhancing achievement among African Americans in STEM fields. The primary high impact pedagogy that will be adopted in this project is the
successful Experimental Centric Based Instructional Pedagogy (ECP) - formerly referred to as Mobile Hands-On Studio Technology and Pedagogy. Under the Development and Implementation Tier for Engaged Student Learning (Level II), this project seeks to develop, implement and assess the Evidenced
Based Active ECP that has increased achievement among African Americans in Electrical Engineering. It will be adapted across STEM disciplines (Civil Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Transportation Systems, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry and Physics) at Morgan State University (MSU). The
project will entail a widespread adoption/diffusion of this active learning pedagogy through the development of new curriculum to utilize portable hands-on mobile devices, targeting selected cohorts of students from their Freshman to Senior year. Research questions will be: (1) Can the Experimental
Centric Based Instructional Pedagogy enhance student learning and interest beyond the field of Electrical Engineering? (2) How successfully will be the implementation across all STEM fields? (3) Can this promising pedagogy facilitate the engagement of undergraduate students in their STEM learning and lead
to measurable and lasting learning gains? (4) What is the percentage increase in students? achievement in each STEM field where this pedagogy is implemented? The proposed project enjoys the wider institutional support and buy-in because the goals align with the ?50 by 25? initiative (50% graduation
rate by 2025), which is one of the major strategic goals of MSU. In-order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the pedagogy across other STEM disciplines, the project team shall: (1) establish and implement a rigorous, transparent, and fair performance evaluation systems; (2) link student success to faculty
effectiveness, and (3) use evaluations to improve faculty performance and student success.


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© 2017 by Steve Efe


T: 443-885-3192


Baltimore, Maryland

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