UIC Department of Civil & Materials Engineering Seminar Series

Friday, April 2, 2010: 1047ERF, 2:00 pm

From Transportation Emissions Control to Public Health – Are We Doing the Right Thing, and Doing it Right?

H. Oliver Gao,
Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering,
Cornell University


Transportation-related air pollution and energy problems are a significant issue in the U.S.  and across the world. The World Health Organization estimates that urban air pollution causes 200,000 deaths per year worldwide and that it will be responsible for 8 million premature deaths from 2000 to 2020. Sacrificing transportation needs for environmental quality is simply infeasible since transportation provides a vital wheel for economic development. How do we meet the transportation needs in the age of development without sacrificing environment and energy sustainability? Gao’s research and teaching focus on the nexus of transportation and environment/energy systems. The overarching goal of his research redicates on a multi-disciplinary system-driven approach to education and novel basic research, applied research and implementation discoveries that will advance the understanding of the transportation-air quality- energy nexuses, where the lack of science and knowledge is the biggest barrier to successful transportation, air quality and energy management strategies. In this talk Dr. Gao takes a phased approach looking into the depth and their inter-relationships of the following intermingling topics that span across transportation, air quality, and energy systems: cleanup of the legacy diesel fleet— mathematical modeling in search for cost-effective environment abatement strategies; equity and environmental justice in the clean diesel programs; truck traffic and ozone weekend effect (OWE): emphasizing the nonlinear dynamics between transportation emissions control and ozone
pollution; catching the moving targets: from PM mass to PM number; and environmental impacts of biofuels.


Olier Gao is an assistant professor jointly appointed in the graduate fields of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Systems Engineering, and air Quality in Earth and Atmospheric Science at Cornell University. His research focuses on transportation systems, environment (especially air quality), energy, and sustainable development. Gao received his degrees from the University of California at Davis in 2004 (Ph.D. in CEE, M.S. in Statistics, and M.S. in Agriculture and Resource Economics). Gao offers a graduate course CEE6650 on environment/energy and transportation systems. He also teaches SYSEN5300: Systems Engineering and Six-Sigma for the Design and Operation of Reliable Systems.