William Barbour

Research Scientist

William Barbour

I am a research scientist at the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University researching transportation systems with Professor Daniel Work. I earned my Ph.D. in civil engineering from Vanderbilt University; my M.S. degree in civil engineering, with a concentration in sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and my B.S. in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I graduated summa cum laude with distinction from the Chancellor’s Honors Program and the Haslam Scholars Program. I have previously worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and CSX Transportation and have also received graduate funding support from the Roadway Safety Institute and Federal Highway Administration.

My career and research interests focus on the application of novel and advanced computational techniques to transportation systems engineering; examples include big data analytics, machine learning, optimization, and artificial intelligence. Currently, my work is focused on building sensing and data processing infrastructure for highway traffic analysis. Using cameras and computer vision processing, we can assemble the trajectory of each vehicle on the roadway to form a complete picture of traffic. This unlocks potential experiments on the roadway to reduce congestion, control the generation of traffic waves, and understand the impact of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles.

My dissertation dealt with improving network operations in the freight rail transportation domain through ongoing industry collaboration with Class I railroads; railroad operational improvements can lead to capacity and efficiency gains for the system, which is a critical transportation asset. My other domain interests include pedestrian and cyclist accessibility, public transit planning, and transportation policy.

M.S., Civil Engineering, 2017, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.S., Biosystems Engineering, 2015, University of Tennessee, Knoxville