Council of University Transportation Centers Honors NYU Tandon Faculty Member and Doctoral Student

Dual Prizes Point to Expertise of NYU’s New Research Center Called the Connected Cities for Smart Mobility toward Accessible and Resilient Transportation – C2SMART

professor chow

Assistant Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering Joseph Chow Garners New Faculty Award

Alumnus Kun Xie Recognized for Exceptional Doctoral Dissertation 


BROOKLYN, New York – The Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) honored two members of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Urban Engineering at its annual awards banquet on January 6, 2018, in Washington D.C.

Assistant Professor Joseph Y.J. Chow — who is also the deputy director of NYU’s new research center, Connected Cities for Smart Mobility toward Accessible and Resilient Transportation (C2SMART), and heads the school’s Behavioral Urban Informatics, Transport and Logistics (BUILT) Laboratory — received the group’s Cambridge Systematics New Faculty Award, given annually to a tenure-track faculty member who demonstrates excellence in classroom teaching and makes important contributions to research in the transportation field.

Professor Kaan Ozbay’s former doctoral student Kun Xie, who accepted a faculty post at the University of Canterbury after earning his degree from NYU Tandon, received CUTC’s Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award for his dissertation: "New Opportunities in Urban Safety Analytics Using Advanced Quantitative Methods and Big Data.” In it, he points out that traffic crashes result in approximately 1.24 million deaths globally each year and are projected to be among the five leading causes of death by 2030 unless urgent actions are taken.

“Research conducted in our Department of Civil and Urban Engineering has long been helping Brooklyn, New York City, and urban areas around the world become cleaner, more resilient, safer places,” NYU Tandon School of Engineering Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan said. “It is gratifying that the Council of University Transportation Centers recognizes that as urban transportation issues get more complex and have an increasing impact on quality of life, NYU Tandon continues to lead the way.”

Chow, also a recent recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a former Canada Research chair, aims to make urban transportation systems smarter, more responsive, and more cost-efficient. Chow has helped the department develop several new courses and programs, and students supervised by him have gone on to earn scholarships, fellowships, and positions in industry and academia.

“Joseph Chow is conducting research that is having a direct, major impact on the way transportation systems are designed,” said Department of Civil and Urban Engineering Chair Magued Iskander. “He is a credit not only to our department but to the whole NYU Tandon community, as we develop solutions to pressing real-world problems and create smarter, more livable cities.”

Kun Xie (left) accepts the Best Dissertation Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Intelligent Transportation Systems Society.

Xie asserts in his thesis that advanced quantitative methods and emerging data sources present new opportunities in safety management, and he proposes new methods of analyzing massive urban data to advance that mission. He explains, for example, that with more advanced quantitative approaches and richer data for modeling, risk factors can be estimated more precisely; and that with detailed, digitized, geocoded data now available for larger urban areas, crash hotspots can be identified in a larger scale with higher resolution than conventional methods.

His doctoral work also garnered a Best Dissertation Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Intelligent Transportation Systems Society, given annually for the best dissertation in any intelligent transportation system area that is innovative and relevant to practice. He was given the award at the group’s annual conference, in Yokohama, Japan, in October 2017.

“I am proud to have advised Kun Xie as he provided very valuable contributions to the field of data-driven traffic safety literature, which has been justly recognized by both the CUTC and IEEE,” said Ozbay, who is the director of C2SMART.  Ozbay emphasized the importance of this kind of advanced safety research for the success of traffic safety initiatives such as New York City’s Vision Zero. “The University of Canterbury is fortunate to have him as a faculty member, and I have no doubt that he will continue to make valuable contributions there,” he added.

“C2SMART will continue to work with other Tandon and NYU researchers to establish a world-class transportation program in New York City that will take advantage of the data revolution we are witnessing both in terms of the availability of new transportation and infrastructure data and the use of new mathematical tools similar to the ones developed by Professor Chow and Dr. Xie,” Ozbay said.

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About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, the country’s largest private research university, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit