Hesham Rakha named fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers
As a result of his dedication to transportation research, Hesham Rakha has earned several titles. Currently, he is the director of the Center for Sustainable Mobility at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), the Samuel Reynolds Pritchard Professor Engineering in the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and holds a courtesy title of professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
This month, Rakha’s work earned him a new prestigious title — fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
“Hesham deserves this prestigious honor,” said Zac Doerzaph, executive director of VTTI. “The positive impact that Hesham’s research has on the transportation sector is creating a more sustainable future for us all.”
Rakha’s research focuses on large-scale transportation system optimization, modeling, and assessment. He works to amplify transportation system operators including enhancing the efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and enhance the safety of vehicles. He also is researching vehicle routing techniques that ensure drivers travel the most efficient route possible.
“This honor reflects Hesham’s impactful contributions to transportation engineering and his leadership as director of the Center for Sustainable Mobility at VTTI,” said Mark Widdowson, department head of the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "We are proud to see Hesham’s name among the list of distinguished ASCE fellows.”
One of his key research achievements involves the continuous development of the INTEGRATION microscopic traffic simulation software, an internationally recognized transportation tool that models human travel and driving behavior. Rakha’s software optimizes the longitudinal and lateral motion of various ground transportation modes — cars, buses, trucks, trains, and bicycles — and routes vehicles efficiently and includes various traffic signal controllers.
The INTEGRATION software has been used in a variety of applications including the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. It also was used in the greater Los Angeles area, modeling more than 3 million multimodal traveler trips.
Rakha’s additional research work includes the development of calibration methodologies of transportation modeling tools, the development of various energy and emission modeling frameworks, the development of safety modeling tools, and the large-scale modeling of the interdependencies of the communication and transportation systems.
“Such a recognition is a great honor," said Rakha. “This would not have been possible without the support of my family and the hard work of my students and research colleagues.”
As a professor, Rakha has taught over 40 undergraduate and graduate courses on skill sets needed to develop environmentally friendly and safe transportation systems. Since 1999, he has instructed over 1,000 students, including serving to completion as an advisor for 35 Ph.D. and 46 master's students. Rakha also serves as a fellow for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Rakha earned his bachelor's in civil engineering from Cairo University and his master's degree and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Queen’s University. He also completed his postdoctoral in civil engineering at Queen’s University.