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Name:  Venktesh Pandey
Hometown:  Gonda, India
Current position:  Graduate Research Assistant to Dr. Stephen Boyles
Hobbies: I have been picking up running long distances as a hobby.  Other than that I enjoy traveling, biking, and meeting new people while volunteering for different activities in and around the campus.

Where were you before you came to pursue your graduate degree at UT?
I joined UT directly after finishing my undergraduate in Civil Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2014.

How did you become interested in transportation engineering?
My interest for transportation engineering was derived from the interdisciplinary nature of the field. As I was introduced to transportation, I enjoyed drawing connections to other fields of civil engineering, and borrowing tools from other disciplines to solve the problems involved in transportation. My undergraduate research experience, both at my university and at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore as an intern, helped me explore the possible directions where the research in this field was headed, and that pushed my motivation to learn and do something interesting in this field.

Why did you decide to pursue your graduate studies here at UT?
The Transportation program at UT has a world famous reputation of producing qualified engineers, faculties, and researchers. I had read about the research work being done at CTR, and it sounded really interesting to me. Having been offered a funded research assistantship position, I also wasn’t worried about the financial burden of higher education in the US. UT seemed like the best choice at that time, and having been here for the last one and a half year, it has exceeded my expectations.

What kind of work are you doing here? What role are you are playing in the research, and what are your responsibilities?

My research work is focused around transportation network modeling and simulation.

I’ve been involved with the research involving evaluating the effectiveness of Active Traffic Management (ATM) strategies on Texas corridors.  As part of this project, I am assisting our team of researchers in developing Dynamic Traffic Assignment and micro-simulation models for understanding the large scale impacts of ATM strategies like Variable speed limit, dynamic lane use control, etc.

I am also part of an ongoing research on developing multi-resolution models for planning purposes, where I am assisting in development of traffic assignment models for large scale network with smaller sub-networks modeled inside them. Aligned with this research, I am also involved with another project which is focused on developing consistent statewide and MPO planning models for the state of Texas. I am contributing towards developing and testing the definitions of consistency between the planning models of different geographic scale.

After you finish your studies here, what next? 
After finishing up my Masters, I am continuing on for a PhD degree under the guidance of Dr. Boyles.  I enjoy doing research, and feel excited about solving different real world problems in the field of transportation. I also enjoy teaching, and thus going forward in academia with a PhD degree feels like a good choice right now