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Where were you before you came to pursue your graduate degree at UT?
I was born and raised in Bangalore, India. I came to UT straight from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, having finished a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.
How did you become interested in an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career such as transportation engineering?
I grew up in Bangalore, infamous for its nightmarish traffic, but also ironically known as the garden city of India. Traffic concerns were an integral part of my experience growing up. As an undergraduate student, a few courses on transportation sparked my initial interest to potentially address some of these problems that I faced every day back home. But it was not until my summer internship that I got hooked. The internship at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, gave me an opportunity to delve into the depths of transportation technology through the research I carried out there. We spent a great deal of time and effort and were finally successful in building a model using simple spring-mass-damper dynamics to capture complex heterogeneous traffic behavior. I was particularly happy to put my programming knowledge to good use by building a stand-alone simulator that worked using the model that we had built. The richness of the field and its inter-disciplinary nature perked my interests and now, here I am.
Why did you decide to pursue your graduate studies here at UT?
The Transportation Engineering program at UT is one of the best not only in the country today, but also the world. The faculty here are constantly involved in state-of-the-art research and still find time to meet with their graduate students. That makes for a wholesome learning experience. The added leverage of CTR, a major research wing here made me look no further. I was on-board as soon as I received my acceptance letter.
After you finish your studies here, what next?What kind of work are you doing here? What role are you are playing in the research, and what are your responsibilities?
I’m a Graduate Research Assistant here, currently working on a TxDOT project under Dr. Kockelman. My role involves me simulating Austinites’ travel patterns using MATSim (a Multi-Agent Transportation Simulation software). The goal is to analyze their response to Autonomous Taxis with Dynamic-Ride Sharing capabilities and real-time congestion feedback. I am also designing a survey on AVs and their implications, with a focus on privacy, security and long-distance travel.
I have about a year to finish my studies here. I’m not too sure what my future plans are as of now, but I am greatly inclined towards pursuing my doctoral studies under Dr. Kockelman.