UWM Transportation Symposium Highlights

Learning how UWM collaborates with WisDOT

By Erin Puro, UWMRF Technology Commercialization Manager
On October 6th, I attended the 2023 Southeast Wisconsin Transportation Symposium. This event is co-hosted by UW-Milwaukee’s Institute for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). The event showcased university fundamental research projects and how they translate into further projects, practices, and policies that have impact on our lives. The intersection of innovation in public and private sectors was captured in this well-rounded event.     For example, do you ever wonder what WisDOT is up to behind the scenes? Well, you can visit Wisconsin Highway Research Program Current Research (WHRP) to check out research opportunities. You can also download the strategic plan for 2021-2025. There are also links to learn who is on the Steering and Technical Oversight Committees. These groups are composed of representatives from WisDOT, academia, industry and consulting engineers. These individuals work together to identify research needs, oversee and guide research projects. There are four areas of focus: flexible pavements, rigid pavements, structures and geotechnics.​​     UWM Researchers check this page out for upcoming RFP’s.     During the breakout sessions I attended, one was for Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC). This new material was installed during construction on bridges in New Jersey. The installation company, UHPC Solutions was represented by Gil Brindley. Mr. Brindley spoke about the challenges of testing and proving the use of this newer material. He also described factors to grow and scale up the operation. The co-presenter, Nic Passint of Mixer Systems, from Pewaukee, WI also shared some challenges from the project. For example, Mixer Systems had to create the first concrete mixer to handle the UHPC material. There was also engineering required to scale up the model mixer for the projects in the Garden State. The larger capacity machine had to have:
  • faster mix times,
  • be mobile for movement during the pour,
  • be able to lift 10 feet into the air,
  • and have all the necessary computers and sensors integrated into the system.
  Installing this new product required developments, adaptation, and new invention in parallel sectors.   Another interesting breakout session discussed transportation challenges, such as driverless cars. The presentation, “Traffic Impacts of Automated Driving Features,” was presented by Dr. Xiaowei Shi. It opened with a video where pedestrians and self-driving cars were all perfectly timed at a 4-way intersection and cross walk.   There were also presentations about Roadway Departure Safety tactics and Vision Zero Milwaukee. These discussions explained the City of Milwaukee’s approach to end fatal and severe crashes by 2037. Auto crashes are a part of life, but should they be? The action plans guiding our city towards Vision Zero were explained. This included a map highlighting the areas identified as most important to address first based on reoccurring events.   There were many other breakout sessions such as:
  • Mobility, Sustainability, and Equity as it relates to safety
  • An update for the I-794 Lake Interchange Reconstruction Project
  • How WisDOT is using machine learning to create a bicycle and pedestrian support systems, and so much more.
  The Symposium closed with an interactive workshop. This workshop, “Developing an Effective Style of Workplace Communication,” was led by Wendy Kamerling. Wendy is an adjunct faculty member in the Lubar School of Business. Also leading the group was Mike Markiewicz, Director of Executive Programs at the Lubar School of Business.   Are you an expressive, analytical, driver, or amiable type? Click on Wendy Kamerling’s name above to find out more about your leadership style.