News & Features

Graduate Student Michael Levin Wins CUTC’s M.S. Thesis Award

photo of Michael Levin smiling, holding award

 Dec. 14, 2015

Transportation engineering graduate student Michael Levin was recently awarded the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award for his M.S. thesis on autonomous vehicle modeling.

The Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award is a national award given annually for the best Ph.D. dissertation and M.S. thesis in the field of science and technology in transportation studies. Winners in the M.S. thesis category receive a $1500 honorarium.

Levin’s award winning thesis “Integrating Autonomous Vehicle Behavior into Planning Models” makes three important contributions to the field:

  • Autonomous vehicles are incorporated into the traditional four-step planning model, accounting for both increases in capacity due to faster reaction times as well as additional demand due to empty relocation trips.
  • Building towards a dynamic traffic assignment (DTA) model, drivers' choice of departure time is integrated into the existing four steps.
  • Building on the first two points, novel intersection controls for autonomous vehicles is proposed.

Levin, now a PhD candidate, is supervised by Dr. Stephen Boyles and is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Transportation Research.