School of Civil Engineering

The vision for the TPRN is to establish UQ as an international leader in the fields of transport engineering, planning and management allied with applied demography and population geography, and harvesting a convergence of smart sensors, IoT and information driven services. The TPRN leverages a five-year investment from the Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Initiatives, and will seek to expand UQ’s involvement with the Australian Research Council (ARC), the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), and industry-funded research initiatives.

UQ’s research in transport and population recognises that the study of people and their movements is inherently multi-faceted. Fields as diverse as planning and geography, psychology and economics, statistics and operations research, big data and sensor technologies, all have a role in understanding and managing population growth patterns and the resulting movement of people and goods. The TPRN enhances research by encouraging these multi-disciplinary collaborations, integrating expertise across the University to address major challenges for the future cities, regions and rural areas.



Project: FleetVALID

UQ Investigator: Prof Amin Abbosh

The FleetVALID research concept is to provide a standards-based radio-frequency ID (RFID) infrastructure for governments to ensure all vehicles on the road are using the road legally and in compliance with the road rules. Such identification and compliance checking can facilitate safer roads and more efficient use of road infrastructure.

The research will create an RFID automated detection solution that can trigger immediate manual intervention by law enforcement agencies for:

  • Vehicle identity anomalies
  • Driver behaviour anomalies
  • Vehicle fitness anomalies

A particular focus is the detection avoider, who represents 1% of vehicles but is over 80% of the problem with illegal or non-compliant driving.

A key component of the research is the development of a set of FleetVALID compliant products that integrate with new ITS sensors, existing infrastructure and Internet-of-Things (IoT) methodologies.

FleetVALID project graphic

Product development:

RCsensor: An inroad sensor, currently in the pre-production phase and will soon be ready for pilot deployments

RChub: An RCsensor road side controller prototype which can be used in future pilot deployments

RAIN RFID Number plates: We are collaborating with our international development partners to optimise an RFID number-plate solution

The FleetVALID research project will enable the adoption of these products into existing ITS solutions, current & future Smart Cities and Countries for safer and more efficient transport systems.


For more information about this and other projects please contact Amin Abbosh.


Port of Brisbane

Project: Economic Analysis of Horizontal and Vertical Integration of Logistics Actors

UQ Investigators: Dr Elnaz Irannezhad, Prof Carlo Prato

As the primary interface in the import-export industry, ports can play an important role to reduce the inefficiencies in supply chains by providing a concerted and coordinated logistics solution, affect positively the end-users, and thus have a direct influence on the wider economy. This information sharing can be provided via an online system called “Business Intelligence” or so-called Port Community system (PCS), where information becomes available to freight actors in a multi-level system. The applications of a PCS have evolved during the recent years from serving as an information hub to generating value-added logistics solutions (through so-called Decision Support System), while the main objective remains encouraging horizontal and vertical integration among freight agents. The freight agents’ decision on cooperation depends on their gains resulted from economies of scale and scope in a dynamic market. In this study we developed a scenario-based simulation model of horizontal and vertical integration through PCS. This model is a prototype of an intelligent decision support system of PCS to support optimised logistics decisions, decrease costs associated with distance and time, diminish empty container repositioning and costs, and reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions.


Project: Econometric modelling of the joint decisions of using transport yards and dwell time

UQ Investigators: Dr Elnaz Irannezhad, Prof Carlo Prato

As maritime containerised trade continues to grow, the role of transport yards (TY) in improving the efficiency of logistics operations becomes paramount. The Port of Brisbane needs to understand how freight agents (importers, exporters, shipping lines, carriers, and transhipment agents) manage their supply chains as well as understand what behaviours lies behind their logistics decisions for example using TYs. This will assist the port in making informed decisions about infrastructure investments that are necessary to facilitate smoother and potentially cheaper supply and logistic chains for freight agents.

Making use of econometric models, the choice of transhipment via transport yard in inland import/export logistics alongside the choice of dwell time were studied. In this study, we explored the factors which are determinant of the decision of using TYs and dwell time. Results emphasised the role of time of day, type of day, location of importers and exporters, commodity type, and land use distribution in terms of businesses and distribution centres.


For more information about this and other projects please contact Carlo Prato.


Queensland Government Statisticians Office (QGSO) & Queensland Department of Transport & Main Roads

Project: Integrated Land Use and Transport Modelling

UQ Investigators: Prof Jonathan Corcoran, Prof Carlo Prato

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) are currently investigating developing the capability within DTMR to implement an integrated land use transport model, with the ability to test different land use scenarios in response to key infrastructure projects, such as Cross River Rail. This proposed framework and subsequent model would give DTMR the ability to influence land use planning from both a state and local government perspective to better utilise and account for changes in the future transport network capacity. This model would also greatly improve the relationship and linkages between transport and land use planning.

Transport infrastructure investment decisions are made with the help of transport model outputs. However, contemporary transport models focus extensively on day-to-day decisions at various levels of aggregation, and generally use macroeconomic projections of population, residential location and activity locations as exogenous. That is, the relations between population projections, long-term decisions (e.g., residential location, workplace location, car ownership) and mobility decisions (e.g., mode and route choices) are generally ignored in their endogenous nature. In particular, the behavioural dimensions of the decision-making processes by populations are not currently fully accounted for.

For example, highly congested urban networks likely influence household residential location choice, and household composition growth probably affects both residential location, workforce participation and mobility decisions. Model outputs are affected by the shortcoming of ignoring the endogenous nature of these relations and are likely unrealistic in their predictions. These have consequences in the allocation of resources, planning environments and funding priorities. In addition, given future mobility solutions that are likely to change the concept of commute, it becomes even more relevant to consider more integrated dynamic models.

This project will be conducted over a three-year time frame and will comprise of three interlinked stages:

Stage 1 will be concerned with the compilation of a knowledge base capturing international best practice that will inform Stage 2.

Stage 2 will develop an integrated land use and transport modelling framework.

Stage 3 will be to implement and operationalise a prototype model in an SEQ context.

The overarching aim of this research will be to assemble a new modelling framework with the capacity to analyse and model population-land use and transport interactions. The case study context for this project is the South East Queensland region.

(Author Scott Fitzgerald, February 2019:


For more information about this and other projects please contact Jonathan Corcoran.


Queensland Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR)

Project: Creating a More Age-Friendly Transport System

UQ Investigator: Dr Kelly Bertolaccini

Like many developed nations, Australia’s population is aging. This demographic shift will require thoughtful, innovative planning from Australia’s policymakers, transport planners, and engineers. While many transport professionals and policymakers agree that we must adjust our transport system to accommodate the needs of an aging population, developing successful policies will require better information on older Australians’ travel behaviours.  To learn more about older Queenslanders’ current travel behaviours and their use of transport-related technologies, we conducted an online survey. We received over 600 responses, primarily from Southeast Queensland. The results of this survey revealed that non-driving seniors make significantly fewer social trips than drivers. In particular, they made fewer trips to visit the homes of friends and family and to participate in hobbies. We also learned that while smartphones are popular among Queenslanders over 65, non-driving seniors are significantly less likely to own a smartphone than driving seniors.  This suggests that many non-driving seniors are effectively excluded from any transport service that requires the use of a smartphone. We will be continue to explore this topic by conducting focus groups with seniors across Queensland.


For more information about this and other projects please contact Mark Hickman.


TPRN SEED Projects

With the strategic funding from the Vice Chancellor, the TPRN is able to support seven seed projects of up to $25,000. These projects are intended to test concepts and ideas, with the hope they might lead to larger externally-funded projects in the near future. For more information about each seed project, feel free to contact the first (lead) investigator on the project.

TPRN SEED Project Title




Factors motivating bicycling in Australian Capital Cities Dr Scott Lieske
Smart traffic lights: Enhanced arterial management leveraging data integration and AI Dr Mehmet Yildirimoglu & Dr Jiwon Kim
An analytic framework to measure, model and monitor the habitual behaviours of public transport passengers Dr Jiwon Kim, Prof Jonathan Corcoran & Prof Mark Hickman
Understanding socio-spatial connectedness for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds: Testing a mixed-methods approach A/Prof Yan Liu, Prof Shuang Liu & Prof Lynda Cheshire
Machine learning and fusion of traffic sensors for enhanced road monitoring and anomaly detection Dr Aida Brankovic, Dr Konstanty Bialkowski, Dr Hamid Mokhtar & Dr Alina Bialkowski
Creating an age-friendly Queensland: Focus groups on age, transport and technology Dr Kelly Bertolaccini & Prof Mark Hickman
Developing an exact algorithm for optimal planning of drayage operations Dr Mahboobeh Moghaddam & Dr Michael Forbes
Get in touch

For more opportunities, please contact:

Professor Mark Hickman
Director of the TPRN