Skip to main content

Civil and Environmental Engineering

News | August 5, 2019

‘I’d drink my jacuzzi’: how earthquake scientists prepare for the ‘big one’

Two back-to-back earthquakes, of magnitude 6.4 and 7.1, hit southern California in less than 24 hours last month, and seismologists have warned of an increased chance of more shaking in the near future. We spoke with four earthquake scientists living in high-risk areas to see what the people who think about earthquakes the most plan to do…


News | June 29, 2022

1 year after Surfside collapse, local officials still working to ensure buildings are safe

One year has passed since a condominium tower in Surfside, Florida, collapsed and killed 98 people in the early morning hours of June 24 — but experts, officials, and those who lived through the disaster say there’s still a long way to go to ensure the safety of other buildings in South Florida. The devastation…


News | September 7, 2021

2021 Urban@UW Spark Grants awardees announced

Urban@UW is excited to announce awardees for the second round of funding through our Spark Grants program. The two projects selected address critical urban challenges, with a focus on transdisciplinary scholarship and engagement with vulnerable populations.    Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Among Vehicle Residents: A Case Study of the Seattle Public Utilities’ Recreational Vehicle Wastewater…


News | January 14, 2022

2021: The deadliest and most dangerous year on Washington’s roads since 2006

As Washington went quiet in the early days of the pandemic, Staci Hoff figured at least it would mean fewer deaths on the roads in 2020. She was wrong. Then, as cars began returning in 2021, she hoped maybe the carnage would slow as congestion increased and speeds decreased. She was wrong again. Washington ended…


News | March 6, 2021

2021’s best cities to own an electric car

Originally written for LawnStarter. You likely have seen more electric vehicles on the road, at stoplights, and charging in grocery store lots and parking garages. But some U.S. cities have embraced the electric car faster than others. With huge differences in tax incentives, electricity costs, and charging infrastructure, the convenience of electric vehicle (EV) driving…


News | September 14, 2022

2022 Urban@UW Spark Grants Awardees Announced

Urban@UW is excited to announce awardees for the third round of funding through our Spark Grants program. The three projects selected address critical urban challenges, with a focus on transdisciplinary scholarship and engagement with vulnerable populations. Analysis of a Food Bank Home Delivery Program Food security, defined as access at all times to nutritious food,…


News | March 31, 2020

A decade of punishment and heavy traffic catches up to the West Seattle Bridge

Most mornings in the last decade, travelers on the West Seattle Bridge could see a menagerie of box trucks delivering food, 25-ton buses aligned nose to tail, flatbeds of steel rebar and hordes of cars, vans and pickups. It turns out, we may have loved the concrete span to death. The Seattle Department of Transportation…


News | October 29, 2021

A new tool suggests we’re underestimating the environmental cost of new roads

The infrastructure bill being hammered out in D.C. will fund a lot of road projects, including some in Washington State. But it’s difficult to reduce our carbon emissions when we keep building more highways. That’s what inspired a network of environmental groups to build a calculator that shows how much air pollution is caused by…


Scholar

Ahmed Abdel-Aziz

Visit scholar website

News | February 18, 2020

Air Pollution Crosses Borders

Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York State’s Adirondack Park, offers breathtaking views to hikers on a clear day. But despite being hundreds of miles from the nearest smokestack, summer air pollution levels here can sometimes be worse than in Times Square in New York City. “Often you’re going to feel lung burn in…


News | February 1, 2022

Air pollution from planes, roads infiltrates schools and can be dramatically reduced with portable air filters

What started as a University of Washington-led project to measure air pollution near Sea-Tac International Airport has led to schools in the area installing portable air filters to improve indoor air quality. First, UW researchers found they were able to parse aircraft pollution from roadway pollution in the communities under Sea-Tac International Airport flight paths and map…


Course | CEWA 557

Air Resources Management

Technical, administrative, and legal aspects of air conservation. Topics include urban and regional scale air quality measurement and modeling systems, receptor modeling based on chemical fingerprinting of sources and current case studies involving engineering analysis, air-quality modeling, and regulatory aspects at local, state, and federal governmental levels.

Course | ENVH 461 / CEE 490

Air-Pollution Control

Fundamental concepts of air pollution Control including emission sources, atmospheric dispersion, ambient concentrations, and emission standards, with emphasis on processes and equipment for controlling emissions.

Course | CEE 101

Amazing Infrastructure, its Impacts and the Roles of Civil and Environmental Engineers

This seminar course will cover an overview of world infrastructure and the roles for civil and environmental engineers perform in planning, design and construction.

Scholar

Amelia C Regan

Visit scholar website

News | September 23, 2019

Americans would rather drive themselves to work than have an autonomous vehicle drive them, study says

Many Americans use a ride-hailing service — like Uber or Lyft — to get to and from work. It provides the privacy of riding in a personal car and the convenience of catching up on emails or social media during traffic jams. In the future, self-driving vehicles could provide the same service, except without a…


Scholar

Anne Goodchild

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Anne Vernez-Moudon

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Barb Ivanov

Visit scholar website

News | October 26, 2018

BECU and CoMotion partner to create Seattle fintech hub

UW CoMotion has partnered with BECU, Washington’s largest community credit union, to create a fintech hub in the Seattle region, which includes the launch of the BECU FinTech Incubator at CoMotion Labs. Fintech startups, Noonum and Warren, are the first two members. The collaboration combines BECU’s expertise in broad-based financial services, data analysis, and customer experiences with CoMotion’s…


Scholar

Bethany Gordon

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Brett Maurer

Visit scholar website

News | February 20, 2020

Building Codes for ‘The Really Big One’ in Seattle

Earthquake experts say current building codes don’t reflect the riskiest features of the Seattle area’s geology — but the outlook for survivability looks a lot better if the Really Big One can just hold off for a few more years. The Cascadia subduction zone, centered along a submarine fault just off the West Coast, is…


News | April 21, 2021

Building for sustainability

For civil engineering doctoral student Nathalie Thelemaque, it’s not enough to research how to design a building or a bridge. Thelemaque wants to know the impact of infrastructure systems on the climate and marginalized communities and help create more sustainable ones. It’s an issue so important that it even helped change her mind from considering a career in…


News | May 24, 2021

Built on pudding: Can modern quake engineering prevail?

This is the second of three stories about a little-known geologic fault that could trigger a major earthquake in Snohomish and Island counties. EVERETT — You’re strolling across a flat sandy beach, on the wet part, where the waves roll in and out. You stop to wiggle your toes. You sink. In an earthquake, this can happen…


News | September 17, 2018

Bus battle: Do private shuttles affect the reliability of public transit?

While many Puget Sound residents have to choose between taking public transit or personal vehicles to work, Microsoft and Seattle Children’s Hospital employees have an additional option: private commuter buses. Last year, King County Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation started a pilot program that allowed these shuttles to pick up employees at a few public bus…


News | July 18, 2019

Bus PASS: Testing pedestrian collision avoidance technology

Already, many cars have sensors on board that help drivers avoid collisions. But not many commercial vehicles do. With pedestrian fatalities due to collisions, on the rise, the Federal Transit Administration is working on a “Pedestrian Avoidance Safety System: ‘PASS’ for short. And it picked Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute to give it a test drive….


News | August 27, 2021

Cargo bikes hold promise for speedier, less polluting package delivery

As online shopping grows, so do the number of double-parked delivery vans blocking traffic in cities and adding carbon emissions into the air. To curb both pollution and street congestion, a new report suggests that logistics companies should be investing more in electric cargo bikes as an alternative. In city centers, the study found that…


News | July 16, 2020

CEE researchers develop first-ever map that quantifies landslide risk in Seattle

When it comes to safeguarding Seattle from landslide hazards, UW CEE Ph.D. student William Pollock has a plan mapped out – quite literally. He will soon be releasing a first-of-its-kind map that predicts landslide risk throughout the city. “As far as I know, this is the first map in the nation to quantify landslide risk…


News | August 24, 2018

Certified healthy buildings? Bellevue and UW are working on it

Considering that most people spend one-third of their day at work, UW Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers are advocating for healthier buildings. And they aren’t wasting any time. The first government building in Puget Sound, Bellevue City Hall, recently gained Fitwel Certification thanks to their help. “Since the built environment affects human health, the certification symbolizes the city’s commitment…


Scholar

Charles W Roeder

Visit scholar website

News | March 31, 2022

Chemical from tyres linked to mass salmon deaths in US found in Australia for first time

A toxic chemical released from tyres as they wear down on roads and implicated in mass deaths of salmon in the United States has been found in an Australian waterway for the first time. Scientists detected the compound – known as 6PPD-quinone – among a cocktail of chemicals and hundreds of kilograms of tyre particles…


News | January 5, 2018

Cities face a surge in online deliveries

By the time veteran UPS driver Thomas “Tommy” Chu leaves work, he will have picked up and delivered hundreds of packages in New York City, making some 16 stops an hour as his company hurries to meet the online shopping rush. But what may be his most impressive feat of the day precedes that scramble:…


Degree Program

Civil and Environmental Engineering (PhD)

Students in the UW CEE Ph.D. program work closely with distinguished faculty on research and pursue their own innovative projects, preparing them to make a difference in the world. Students who pursue Ph.D. degrees often obtain high-level jobs in industry or go on to work in academia. Students focus their studies on one of the…

Visit program website

Degree Program

Civil Engineering (BS, MS)

At the University of Washington, civil engineering students are preparing to take on the challenges presented by aging national infrastructure and the pressing needs of both urban and developing communities around the globe. Civil engineers design, build, operate and maintain urban environments to improve people’s lives. From transportation to water quality to earthquake preparedness, resilient…

Visit program website

News | March 17, 2022

Commuter study indicates pandemic patterns likely won’t change quickly in the Seattle metro area

In many ways, it feels like pre-pandemic commutes are back. Though the peaks have pretty much returned to normal, the commutes don’t last as long in the Seattle metro area. But between commutes? There’s actually more traffic. Those were some of the findings in an ongoing study of commute patterns. It’s a study that began…


News | November 21, 2019

Could drone deliveries help the environment? Let’s unpack that

In the era of e-commerce, it takes a single click to order anything you’d like. But it takes a lot of energy to bring it to your door. Items are shipped from factories, shuttled between warehouses and finally trucked to your home. This convenience comes at an environmental cost — transportation accounts for 29% of U.S….


News | October 25, 2018

Could parcel lockers in transit stations reduce traffic congestion in Seattle?

UW researchers want to know if parcel lockers that aren’t owned by a specific company could alleviate traffic congestion in Seattle.Matt Hagen Seattle is one of the most congested cities in America. Delivery trucks take up space on already crowded roads and idle in parking spots and loading bays. And if no one is available…


Scholar

Cynthia Chen

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Dawn Lehman

Visit scholar website

News | December 17, 2019

Delivering the goods: Drones and robots are making their way to your door

The reality today is that delivery is a bigger business than ever. With online shopping, it’s estimated the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS will process, sort and deliver more than two billion packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Amazon’s own fleet of delivery trucks is expected to handle 275 million holiday season shipments. And Amazon…


News | October 27, 2017

Developing ‘breakaway’ tsunami resistant buildings

The best designs can also be the most surprising. A promising new concept for tsunami resistant buildings features breakaway walls and floors on lower levels that, when removed by forceful waves, strengthen the structure and better protect occupants seeking safety on higher floors. Thanks to a $1 million National Science Foundation Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing…


News | December 24, 2020

Did COVID lockdowns really clear the air?

The early days of the Covid-19 lockdowns were seen as an environmental marvel. With fewer commuters and empty highways, residents of cities from Los Angeles to New Delhi witnessed clear blue skies and mountain views that had long been obscured by smog. The dramatic atmospheric transformation was one of first of the “silver linings” that the coronavirus…


News | November 7, 2019

Does Seattle’s dockless system offer a glimpse of the future of bike-sharing?

In downtown Seattle, if you’re trying to find the nearest shared e-bike, you could check an app. But, typically, all you really need to do is look down the sidewalk six feet in front of you. They’re on every street, standing next to light posts, up against railings on bridges and occasionally in the middle…


Scholar

Don Mackenzie

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Dorothy Reed

Visit scholar website

News | June 8, 2017

Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which creates less carbon pollution?

Delivering packages with drones can reduce carbon dioxide emissions in certain circumstances as compared to truck deliveries, a new study from University of Washington transportation engineers finds. In a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of Transportation Research Part D, researchers found that drones tend to have carbon dioxide emissions advantages over trucks…


News | May 20, 2020

EarthLab announces Innovation Grant recipients for 2020

Research projects funded for 2020 by EarthLab’s Innovation Grants Program will study how vegetation might reduce pollution, help an Alaskan village achieve safety and resilience amid climate change, organize a California river’s restoration with tribal involvement, compare practices in self-managed indigenous immigrant communities and more. EarthLab is a University of Washington-wide institute connecting scholars with community…


News | October 10, 2017

Earthquakes are inevitable but catastrophe is not

Written by University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Marc Eberherd, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering associate professor Jeffery Berman, and Department of Human-Centered Design senior scientist Scott Miles. Many older buildings provide vital, low-cost housing. But we must find a way to make these structures safer. It should not be…


Scholar

Edward McCormack

Visit scholar website

News | May 23, 2019

Employees are pressuring Amazon to become a leader on climate. Here’s how that could work.

Amazon is preparing to do something it’s never done before: disclose its companywide greenhouse gas emissions. Amazon, with its diverse portfolio of energy-hungry businesses, faces a challenge in calculating and reducing emissions. Some recent moves, such as its push toward ever-faster delivery speeds for its core Prime customers, raise questions about its ability to do…


News | March 11, 2022

Empty Champlain Towers garage offers rare window into impact of sea rise underground

As sea levels rose from climate change, a new study found, flooding in the underground garage at the beachside Champlain Towers South became more common. Much more common. Whether rising seas played a role in the collapse of the doomed Surfside condominium is unclear — and perhaps, unlikely — but the new research from Florida…


Course | CEE 420

Engineering with Developing Communities

Introduces key technologies, theories, and challenges of infrastructure design for development. Covers technologies for energy, water, sanitation, and disaster response in low-resource contexts. Explores development theory and cross-cultural communication as they pertain to global infrastructure design.

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering (BS)

Environmental engineers work to both safeguard and improve the quality of the environment. By utilizing a combination of both scientific and engineering principles, environmental engineers work to protect the world and its people from negative environmental impacts caused by both natural and human activities. The work of environmental engineers is increasingly important, as healthy environments…

Visit program website

News | August 11, 2022

Expansion of electric vehicle grid hits roadblocks in rural WA

In just the past few years, the number of electric vehicles registered in the state more than tripled as new EV options became available, according to state licensing data. This year so far, one out of every 10 vehicles sold is an EV. Today about 100,000 EVs roam Washington highways and streets, though they still…


Scholar

Faisal Hossain

Visit scholar website

News | June 22, 2020

Fighting climate change means fighting racial injustice

“You can’t let one segment of society become a sacrifice.” Michael Méndez, an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine, was on the phone talking about the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd beneath a white police officer’s knee. But he was also talking about environmental justice and climate change. And he could…


News | July 6, 2021

Food for thought: Urban lakes contaminated with arsenic pose consumption risk

After analyzing the human health risks of eating aquatic organisms from arsenic-contaminated urban lakes in the Puget Sound lowlands, UW researchers have a menu of concerns. Specifically, they found that consuming certain aquatic organisms in the lakes elevates cancer risk. “The idea was to focus on organisms that people might eat, so we studied snails,…


News | September 28, 2018

Glacier melt likely to impact Pacific Northwest water supply

In light of global warming, more glaciers means more melting. And for the Pacific Northwest, which is home to the most glaciers in the contiguous 48 states, that also means increased vulnerability. For the first time, a team of researchers has evaluated the hydrological impact of receding glaciers in the region, which is expected to…


News | October 22, 2019

Global climate action motivates King County Council push for zero-emissions public transit by 2035

Back when King County first began to test electric buses in 2016, officials hoped to build a “zero-emission fleet” by 2040. But recent activism calling for aggressive measures to cut carbon emissions — especially from Indigenous demonstrators and students — has helped push forward proposed legislation that aims to accelerate that transition to 2035. Cities that truly aim for zero-emissions status…


Scholar

Greg Miller

Visit scholar website

Course | CET 567

Health and Sustainable Transportation

Examines how transportation policy is driven by human health impacts. Highlights water and air impacts on health along with the health benefit of human powered transportation. Presents legal and regulatory issues. Case studies provide examples of application of these principles to real world transportation issues.

News | October 15, 2019

How bike sharing in Seattle rose from the ashes of Pronto’s failure

In October 2014, Seattle launched Pronto, a docked bike-share program. But Pronto had problems shifting into a higher gear, and the city ended the program in 2017, making Seattle one of the few cities in the world to shut down a modern public bike sharing system. Then, four months later, Seattle became the first city…


News | March 9, 2022

How one of Seattle’s first landmarks was nearly destroyed in Big Snow of 1916

One of the biggest winter storms to strike the Northwest arrived 106 years ago this week. Though it wasn’t as intense as the Big Snow of 1880, the February 1916 storm nearly destroyed one of Seattle’s earliest landmarks. One of the places where that heavy wet snow really took a toll was at St. James…


News | October 22, 2019

How the Urban Freight Lab seeks to fix the last 50 feet of shipping

The very last step of shipping packages in a city ⁠— not the end mile but the “final 50 feet” ⁠— bedevils delivery drivers. Every day, they face the task of driving and parking safely and legally in urban environments not built for the brick-and-asphalt end journeys of e-commerce. For these workers every hour is rush hour,…


News | November 5, 2019

How Washington’s toll lanes help low income communities

A recent study sought to discover how toll lanes like the ones implemented on Washington’s 405 freeway affect low-income communities. And while those communities are the ones who most often can’t afford the toll lanes, one expert argues that they benefit everyone. “(Drivers) are voluntarily choosing to subsidize the operation and the construction and the maintenance of…


Course | CEE 481

Hydraulic Design for Environmental Engineering

Introduction to the theory and the practice of planning and design of urban water supply distribution, pump stations, and sewage and storm-water collection systems. Evaluation of service areas and service requirements and their relationships to urban and regional planning activities. Engineering methods and computer programs for designing basic system elements.

Course | CEE 404

Infrastructure Construction

Basic concepts of large transportation infrastructure construction projects including planning, scheduling, life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA), construction cost, logistics, productivity and, where applicable, traffic impacts. Term project is designed around a large-scale I-5 pavement reconstruction project involving construction, traffic, and the interaction between the two. Involves presentations on local transportation infrastructure projects.

Scholar

Jeff Berman

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Jessica Kaminsky

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Jessica Ray

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Joe P. Mahoney

Visit scholar website

Scholar

John Stanton

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Joseph Wartman

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Julian Marshall

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Julian Yamaura

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Laura N. Lowes

Visit scholar website

News | July 18, 2019

Lessons from California earthquakes: What Seattle should know about ‘basin effects’

Ridgecrest, California was hit with a magnitude 6.4 earthquake on the morning of July 4, followed by a magnitude 7.1 quake in the same area on July 5. Despite being 125 miles from the epicenter, people in Los Angeles felt long-lasting shaking. This is because of something called “basin effects” — and Seattle should take…


Scholar

Linda Ng Boyle

Visit scholar website

Course | CET 562

Livable Communities and Design

Explores the positives and negatives affecting livability. Covers sprawl and compact cities, energy issues and environmental quality, transit-oriented and traditional neighborhood development, and mixed-use and mixed income developments. Includes context-sensitive solutions to transportation projects.

News | December 13, 2019

Mapping jet pollution at Sea-Tac airport

Communities underneath and downwind of jets landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are exposed to a type of ultrafine particle pollution that is distinctly associated with aircraft, according to a new University of Washington study that is the first to identify the unique “signature” of aircraft emissions in Washington state. Researchers at the UW Department of Environmental &…


Scholar

Marc Eberhard

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Mari Winkler

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Mark Hallenbeck

Visit scholar website

News | May 21, 2020

Measuring traffic performance during COVID-19

It’s not a surprise that traffic, like many things, has been impacted by COVID-19. But by how much? Researchers in UW CEE’s STAR Lab now have an answer to that question after employing a new scoring algorithm they developed to measure fluctuations in traffic. “We felt a strong need and thus started to develop an…


Scholar

Michael T. Brett

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Mike Gomez

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Mike Motley

Visit scholar website

News | March 28, 2022

More air pollution present in areas with historical redlining

Despite dramatic improvements in air quality over the past 50 years, people of color at every income level in the United States are exposed to higher-than-average levels of air pollution. While this disparity has been widely studied, the links between today’s air pollution disparities and historic patterns of racially segregated planning are still being uncovered. Now…


Degree Program

MS in Civil Engineering: Construction Engineering

Learn to combine the engineering principles and management techniques needed to lead major infrastructure efforts. Prepare for new challenges in the heavy construction industry with a program designed for professionals who have an undergraduate degree in engineering.

Visit program website

Degree Program

MS in Civil Engineering: Energy Infrastructure

The country’s existing energy systems are transforming at a rapid pace, driven by technological advances and factors such as the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. The new online Master of Science in Civil Engineering: Energy Infrastructure program, offered by the University of Washington, prepares you for the growing opportunities in this field. This engineering…

Visit program website

News | February 11, 2020

New Study Abroad Program focused on Sustainable Building in Indonesia

It’s possible to learn about sustainable building materials in a classroom setting. But now, it’s also possible to learn about this important topic while immersed in a bamboo “Green Village” in Indonesia, where villas are constructed almost entirely from bamboo. In addition to residing in a Green Village for a week, students in the new Engineering…


News | May 7, 2019

New study finds Seattle is even less prepared for mega quakes than previously thought

Scientists have found that the shaking likely to be generated by a massive earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone is worse than previously thought—and Seattle’s current building codes aren’t equipped to handle it. The study, which was presented at the 2019 Seismological Society of America Annual Meeting last month, is based on the work of…


News | January 30, 2020

New Technique Finds 64 New Chemicals in Puget Sound

The waters of Puget Sound support many species, including mussels, salmon and killer whales. But researchers know that runoff from land in the urbanized areas might contain chemicals that could harm these creatures, even if it’s not always clear which chemicals are the most harmful. Existing methods track specific chemicals of known concern. Until recently, however,…


News | August 11, 2021

New UW collaboratory to support equitable and just climate action

An interdisciplinary group of University of Washington researchers has teamed with Front and Centered to create an innovative Collaboratory to promote just and equitable climate action. The Collaboratory aims to respond to climate change impacts with attention to equitable mitigation and adaptation solutions. It will feature three linked platforms to achieve this goal through a…


News | June 7, 2022

New, stronger rules for truck pollution still would not meet air quality goals

EPA’s proposal to limit toxic pollution from heavy-duty trucks is stronger than anything that has come before it. But state and local air quality agencies say it’s not aggressive enough to meet the federal regulator’s own clean air standards. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies — which represents 115 local air pollution control agencies…


News | August 29, 2019

No minorities, no meat? Gig economy deepens cities’ divides

When an Indian customer of online food delivery service Zomato tweeted that he had canceled his order because it had been assigned to a non-Hindu worker, and his request for a Hindu denied, thousands weighed in. Last month’s incident was among a long series of allegations of discrimination related to religion, race, gender or sexual…


News | October 28, 2016

October Recap: Urban Transporation, Health, and Justice

October has seen a lot of research and engagement surrounding urban design, health, and transportation from University of Washington’s urban scholars and practitioners. Here at Urban@UW we’ve kicked off our Livable City Year program, reflected on our first full year of work and collaborations, and are planning for our symposium on Urban Environmental Justice in…


Scholar

Paolo Calvi

Visit scholar website

News | December 10, 2019

Park it, trucks: Here come New York’s cargo bikes

Delivery trucks and vans laden with online packages are putting a stranglehold on New York City streets and filling its air with pollutants. Now a new city program aims to replace some of these delivery vehicles with a transportation mode that is more environmentally friendly and does not commandeer street space: electric cargo bikes. It…


Course | URBDP 576 / CEE 586

Pedestrian Travel, Land Use, and Urban Form

Seminar concentrating on walking as a mode of transportation in cities and city-regions, including social, cognitive, and perceptual dimensions of pedestrian movement and behavior theory.

Scholar

Pedro Arduino

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Peter Mackenzie-Helnwein

Visit scholar website

News | July 21, 2020

Pioneering study uses traffic cameras and AI to predict future, promising to save lives and money

In an effort to prevent deaths and injuries caused by crashes between vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, the city of Bellevue, Wash., set out more than five years ago to foresee the future. The idea was to use machine learning to analyze thousands of hours of video collected by 360-degree traffic cameras already installed citywide to…


Course | CET 511

Planning for People and Freight

Introduces transportation planning as a process integrating and balancing the needs of diverse users, including automobile drivers, freight carriers, public and private mobility service providers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Addresses the purpose and goals of the transportation system, the planning process and governance, use of road and curb space, land use - transportation interactions, and tools for analyzing impacts.

Course | CET 569

Policy Development, Finance, and Sustainable Transportation

Covers the development and implementation of transportation policies to support sustainable transportation systems. Reviews regulations and finance opportunities at the local, state, and federal level highlighting those that promote sustainable transportation.

News | February 27, 2021

Post-pandemic cities: Fighting congestion in the e-commerce age

Congested city streets. Trucks fighting for curb space. Bottlenecks on beltways and bridge approaches as freight-laden semis rumble toward crowded urban centers. Pedestrians, cyclists, commuters, rideshare vehicles, and parcel-crammed vans—all contending with one another. This was the picture in many cities before the pandemic hit, fueled in part by the on-demand economy. An October 2019 New…


News | February 28, 2018

Reducing failed deliveries, truck parking time could improve downtown Seattle congestion

In Amazon’s hometown, people turn to their computers to order everything from groceries to last-minute birthday presents to the odd toothbrush or medication forgotten from the store. If online shopping continues to grow at its current rate, there may be twice as many trucks delivering packages in Seattle’s city center within five years, a new…


News | June 5, 2021

Regional survey reveals work, leisure habits during the pandemic

No commute, fewer interruptions from co-workers, and the ability to work longer hours — all were factors that boosted feelings of productivity among people who worked from home during the first several months of the pandemic. At the same time, according to new data from the University of Washington, those who felt less productive while…


Scholar

Seana Davidson

Visit scholar website

News | December 24, 2020

Seattle scales back earthquake work on city bridges as costs soar

After promising Seattle voters that the city would reinforce 16 bridges to better withstand earthquakes, the Seattle Department of Transportation now says that work would cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than once expected. Instead of 16 bridges, the city plans to complete seismic retrofits on 11, leaving notable and costly locations like the…


News | November 7, 2019

Seattle’s next traffic challenge: Thousands of tunnel drivers will switch to city streets when tolls start Nov. 9

Whether you drive Highway 99 or not, the tunnel tolls starting Nov. 9 will disrupt your travel in downtown Seattle through higher costs, slower trips or more aggravation. That’s because thousands of toll-dodging motorists will crowd city streets, rather than pay for a 2-mile tunnel drive between Sodo and South Lake Union. State officials warn as…


News | May 21, 2016

Seismic Neglect: Buildings and Earthquakes

Seismic Neglect | In the first part of a continuing series, The Seattle Times examined officials’ neglect of the most vulnerable kind of building: old, brick structures called unreinforced masonry. Here are answers to some common questions about those buildings. The Northwest is threatened by earthquakes far more destructive than anything Washington state has experienced…


News | May 28, 2019

Self-driving cars: Heaven or hell?

Self-driving vehicles are expected to significantly change the way people move between cities and suburban neighborhoods in Washington state, but it is yet to be seen whether those will be positive changes for congestion and the environment. Fully-automated vehicles could allow large fleets of company vehicles to whisk people around city centers where space for…


News | November 25, 2019

Some communities feel the effects of air pollution more than others

Power plants are prolific particulate producers. To generate energy, power plants burn fossil fuels, and the combustion spews gases and fine specks of pollution into the air. Air pollution affects everyone, but experts are now warning that exposure levels can weigh heavier on certain racial and ethnic communities, independent of their income levels. And even…


News | October 16, 2018

Something’s killing coho salmon in Seattle, and car tires are a prime suspect

When autumn rains return to western Washington, so do coho salmon. But in many of the creeks they swim up, something in the water leaves fishes gasping for air. They die quickly, before they manage to spawn. A new study points at chemicals from tiny bits of car tires as a prime suspect in the…


Scholar

Stephen J. Burges

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Steve Muench

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Steven Kramer

Visit scholar website

News | March 26, 2021

Street smarts: University of Washington researchers develop new roadside device to improve traffic safety, mobility and infrastructure management

“Mobile Unit for Sensing Traffic” is a next generation Internet of Things device The rise in connected and autonomous vehicles and other transportation innovations have transformed municipalities into smart cities and improved the communication of roadway conditions to drivers. These cutting-edge technologies are part of a growing movement toward intelligent transportation systems (ITS), a transportation…


News | September 8, 2020

Study provides way to more accurately measure impact of COVID-19 response on air pollution

Stay-at-home orders issued in Seattle in response to COVID-19 led to a significant drop in some of the most harmful air pollutants to human health, according to a novel method used by the University of Washington School of Public Health. The researchers developed a new method to account for any differences in weather conditions –…


Course | ENVIR 415 / CEE 495 / ME 415

Sustainability and Design for Environment

Analysis and design of technology systems within the context of the environment, economy, and society. Applies the concepts of resource conservation, pollution prevention, life cycle assessment, and extended product responsibility. Examines the practice, opportunities, and role of engineering, management, and public policy.

Course | CEE 429

Sustainability in Building Infrastructure

Provides an overview of how to plan, design, construct, and manage high performance building infrastructures. Topics include integrated project delivery, green building rating systems, green building design codes and energy standards, measurement and verification of building performance, and retrofitting existing building through building energy audit.

Course | CET 564

Sustainable Transportation from a Systems Perspective

Covers tools to evaluate and develop sustainable transportation systems. Emphasizes design approaches that support sustainable transportation, methods to evaluate the full life cycle impacts of transportation systems, and tools to assess transportation networks as resilient systems.

Degree Program

Sustainable Transportation: Planning and Livable Communities (Cert)

Examine the important issues involved in sustainable transportation planning. Review policies and programs that encourage mixed use development and higher density levels in order to promote modes of transportation other than the single occupancy vehicle. Study the impact different transportation options have on the environment and sustainability. Explore the movement of goods as well as…

Visit program website

News | May 14, 2020

The cost of fast and free shipping

Would deliveries dropped off to everyone pollute less than all of us driving to stores? Yes, in principle, but probably not in practice. Anne Goodchild, founding director of the Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center at the University of Washington, has found that consolidating deliveries in one area produces fewer climate-harming emissions than the same people driving back…


News | August 22, 2019

The future of the global shipping industry is… bikes

In the rush to get packages to your doorstep faster, delivery companies are experimenting with far-out technologies like drones and robots that can circumvent traffic—and that, most importantly, don’t need a conventional place to park while they deliver. But companies like UPS and the U.K.-based company DPD are considering a low-tech option, too: bikes. DPD is rolling out a pilot program…


News | September 16, 2022

The Power of Pedaling

A class project quickly became a passion project for civil and environmental engineering Ph.D. student Dan McCabe. A cycling enthusiast, McCabe is working to optimize the delivery of groceries from food banks to people experiencing food insecurity — by bicycle. To help streamline delivery operations for the Pedaling Relief Project (PRP), McCabe is developing technology…


News | February 17, 2022

These scientists are fighting the pandemic with sewage

Sewage stinks, and it’s often laden with disease. But it can also be of tremendous value to public health. Cutting-edge biomedical research sometimes begins with prying a heavy steel lid off a sewer hole, to gain access to the data gushing below. Studies of wastewater have helped scientists pinpoint where Covid-19 variants have popped up,…


Scholar

Timothy V. Larson

Visit scholar website

News | May 12, 2021

Tiny air pollutants may come from different sources, but they all show a similar biased trend

Air pollution from fine particulate matter—extremely small bits of material like soot that can enter the nose and throat while breathing—can have deadly health consequences. One 2019 study of 4.5 million U.S. veterans estimated that nearly 200,000 people, of whom a disproportionate number were Black, died of causes associated with fine particulate matter (also known as…


News | December 8, 2020

Tire dust killing coho salmon returning to Puget Sound, new research shows

First they circle. Then they gasp at the surface of the water. Soon they can’t swim. Then they die. For decades now, scientists have known something was killing beautiful, adult coho salmon as soon as they hit Seattle’s urban waters, ready to spawn. They had escaped the orcas, the fishermen, traveled thousands of miles, only…


News | November 21, 2016

To Californians: The Hours You Spend in Traffic May Soon Be Used to Generate Electricity

LOS ANGELES, CA – If you’re a Los Angeles native, resident or even visitor, you will probably cringe at the combination of “LA” and “rush hour.” Sitting in LA traffic is an excruciatingly painful task, and not just because of the hours you spend putting pressure on your lower back. If your brakes aren’t screeching…


News | August 1, 2019

To help the environment, should you shop in-store or online?

Is cyber-shopping terrible for the environment?  Some say yes, with all those trucks heading out into suburbia to deliver your latest gadget, fashion garment or book. But online retailers insist theirs is the greener delivery route — much better than you driving to the store. So, who is right? And are there even better ways? This…


News | November 3, 2020

To save the planet, get more electric vehicles into used car lots

Electric vehicles are getting more popular. Now they’re getting flashy too: new electric pickup trucks, new electric semis, new electric sports cars, a new electric G-Wagen. But all that zippy sexiness only matters to a small slice of the US. Seventy percent of the vehicles sold in the country last year were used, according to data from Edmunds. So when…


News | December 15, 2020

Tracking the seasons of pandemic response in Seattle

Just before 7:00 on a cool, misty Seattle morning, Jacqueline Peltier stands alone on the University of Washington campus. Nearby, squirrels and rabbits frolic in the morning dew. Peltier, part of a National Science Foundation-funded research team, will spend the next hour securing a 360-degree camera to the roof of a rental Toyota Prius Prime,…


Course | CEE 589

Transit Systems Planning

Planning, operational methods for urban public transportation. Review of technological, operating characteristics of vehicles and systems; financing, management, institutional aspects. Paratransit. Short-range planning, operational strategies, revenue-fare structures. Service monitoring. Mode choice, transit demand relating to service. Computer-aided methods for planning, design of transit systems.

Course | CET 589

Transit Systems Planning

Planning, operational methods for urban public transportation. Review of technological, operating characteristics of vehicles and systems; financing, management, institutional aspects. Paratransit. Short-range planning, operational strategies, revenue-fare structures. Service monitoring. Mode choice, transit demand relating to service. Computer-aided methods for planning, design of transit systems.

Course | CET 563

Transportation Choices and Technology

Explores the range of sustainable transportation choices for both people and goods. Studies passenger modes of transportation including bicycles, single-occupancy vehicles, care and van pools, shared autos, bus, rail, ferries, trolleys, and foot travel in the context of sustainability.

Course | CET 583

Transportation Energy and Sustainability

Addresses technical and policy options for making transportation more sustainable, considering economic, environmental, and equity impacts. Topics include transportation demand management; vehicle technologies; alternative fuels; dynamics of technology change; and roles of state, federal, and international policy. Prepares students to think broadly, analyze systematically, and communicate effectively in this area.

Course | CEE 327

Transportation Engineering

Studies vehicular transportation fundamentals including vehicle dynamics, geometric design, pavement design, traffic flow concepts, level of service analysis, intelligent transportation systems, travel demand prediction methods, freight logistics, and management of transportation systems. Includes a review of relevant vehicle operating characteristics.

Course | CET 587

Transportation Logistics

Physical and information flows in supply chains. Economic drivers of supply chain choices as well as applications of technology, policy, and infrastructure to improve freight transportation systems. Focus on fundamental supply chain transportation and logistics concepts that can be mathematically demonstrated, and that underpin more complex analyses or tools used.

Course | CEE 581

Travel Demand Forecasting

Application of mathematical models to forecast urban travel behavior. Introduces emerging methods, land use models, travel demand models, including trip generation, trip distribution, mode choice, and network assignment. Discusses validation and ethics.

Course | CET 581

Travel Demand Forecasting

Application of mathematical models to forecast urban travel behavior. Introduces emerging methods, land use models, travel demand models, including trip generation, trip distribution, mode choice, and network assignment. Discusses validation and ethics.

Scholar

Travis Thonstad

Visit scholar website

News | October 7, 2020

University of Washington studies future of urban package delivery with lockers and street sensors

Fed up with porch pirates snatching your packages? Missed yet another delivery that requires a signature because you couldn’t hear the delivery person knock over your umpteenth video meeting of the day? Property manager at your apartment or condo building sending yet another nagging note to pick up packages because the mailroom is full? The…


News | January 16, 2021

University of Washington tests wastewater to track COVID-19 outbreaks in Seattle neighborhoods

The University of Washington is studying a new way to track COVID-19 outbreaks in Seattle neighborhoods, and let’s just say they are not letting anything go to waste. The College of Engineering is investigating a new large-scale testing method to detect COVID-19 in wastewater by pulling sewage samples from Seattle pump stations. The goal is to quantify how many…


News | November 21, 2018

Urban Freight Lab will help UPS evaluate its new e-bike delivery service in Seattle

Seattle is one of the most congested cities in America, in part due to delivery trucks taking up space on crowded streets. One solution could be for companies to make deliveries using bicycles instead. UPS announced today that it will be pilot-testing deliveries with cargo e-bikes in downtown Seattle. This test is expected to last a…


News | February 22, 2022

Urban stormwater presents pollution challenge

Wastewater and industrial effluent generally come from specific locations. But runoff, which is primarily carried by stormwater, is what environmental engineers call nonpoint source pollution—in other words, it flows in from all over the place. “It’s pollution coming from a whole bunch of small sources that individually create maybe a larger-than-expected issue because none of…


Course | CEE 416

Urban Transportation Planning and Design

Brief review of major issues in urban transportation planning. Planning process discussed and transportation models introduced. Uses a systems framework, including goals and objectives, evaluation, implementation, and monitoring. A design term project, individual or small groups, utilizes material presented on a contemporary problem.

News | October 24, 2019

US transit ridership is down: Can San Diego’s speedy commuter rail plan buck the trend?

Elected officials are preparing to ask San Diegans to approve not one but two tax increases to fund billions of dollars in bus and rail investments, including a San Diego Grand Central Station to connect riders to the airport. The ask comes at a time when many cities around the country — from Atlanta to Houston to…


News | June 24, 2015

UW Professor Outlines Key Factors in Puget Sound’s Transportation Future

Mark Hallenbeck, director of the University of Washington’s Washington State Transportation Center and a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been studying Northwest transit for years. Looking to the future he has identified the following key considerations that will play important roles in shaping the regions transportation: Growth will be inward,…


News | November 2, 2021

UW receives $2M from National Science Foundation to design an ‘adaptable society’

A team led by the University of Washington has received a nearly $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to further research into how urban societal systems can be organized to be both efficient and resilient. The Leading Engineering for America’s Prosperity, Health and Infrastructure (LEAP-HI) project, based in the UW College of Engineering, supports fundamental research to…


News | May 26, 2020

UW research team seeks campus input with survey on coronavirus mobility impacts

Three professors are teaming up for a study of the mobility impacts of the coronavirus — and they are inviting UW faculty, staff and students to complete a short online survey to assist the research. The research is being conducted by Anne Vernez Moudon, professor emerita of urban design and planning in the College of Built Environments, with Jeff…


News | October 20, 2020

UW researchers drive around Seattle to document pandemic impact

So much has changed since the start of the pandemic, and University of Washington researchers are hoping to keep track of all of those changes by driving around and capturing snapshots of Seattle. “It’s a really unique dataset that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world,” said Joe Wartman, co-researcher and UW professor of civil…


News | October 6, 2020

UW researchers driving around Seattle to track COVID-19 response over time

As the city of Seattle shut down in March 2020 to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, a group of University of Washington researchers got to work. The team developed a project that scans the streets every few weeks to document what’s happening around the city — answering questions such as: Are people outside?…


News | October 26, 2021

UW students designed a rover to inspect culvert conditions to help fish

Now that the rainy season is here, culverts across the city are giving stormwater and streams a clear path away from streets and roads. Before the rains come, the Washington Department of Transportation inspects these concrete or metal tunnels for any damage that could prevent fish from using them during migration. But there are a lot…


News | April 9, 2020

Watch videos of UW students’ ideas for public toilets, road safety and job matches in India

A UW study abroad program empowers students from all disciplines to apply their skills to real-life problems — such as food insecurity, water scarcity, and a lack of adequate housing and education. At the end of the program the students create videos to share their projects. Participants in the Grand Challenges Impact Lab, directed by UW…


News | June 4, 2020

West Seattle Bridge is a surprise crisis, but plenty of other aging Seattle bridges are also vulnerable

In January, if West Seattle commuters caught in a bottleneck had gazed out the window at their high bridge and wondered about its safety, a look at federal bridge ratings may have calmed their nerves. The bridge was labeled sufficient. In a catchall rating out of 100, it had a respectable 69. By the spring,…


News | July 20, 2020

West Seattle’s low swing bridge is cracked, too, and needs repairs

Like its taller neighbor, the low-rise West Seattle swing bridge has developed shear cracks in its concrete girder, which will need repairs. But this time, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) officials say they identified the risks soon enough to contain the damage and keep the swing bridge open for travelers. The lower bridge is the…


News | May 13, 2020

What cracked the West Seattle Bridge? Hidden design problem may have doomed it all along

The West Seattle Bridge, closed in March because of excessive cracking, might have been doomed since the day it opened in 1984. City officials have listed several factors that could have contributed to the damage, including more and heavier buses and trucks, a seventh lane added years ago, a jammed rubber bearing that thwarts thermal expansion,…


News | March 23, 2020

What is Causing Late Buses in Seattle?

Under typical conditions, Seattle has some of the most congested traffic in the nation. To prepare for when things return to normal, University of Washington researchers are carrying out a research project to investigate reasons for these delays. While a bus could be late for many reasons, one holdup is that it has to compete…


News | January 6, 2016

What motivates people to walk and bike? It varies by income

Lower- and middle-income King County residents who live in denser neighborhoods — with stores, libraries and other destinations within easy reach — are more likely to walk or bike, according to new University of Washington research. But neighborhood density didn’t motivate higher-income residents to leave their cars at home, the transportation engineers found. Of the…


News | November 9, 2018

What would happen in Seattle during a large-magnitude earthquake?

If a large-magnitude earthquake were to hit Seattle, what percentage of buildings would be safe? This listener question was posed to Jeff Berman, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UW.   Continue to listen to the Radio broadcast


News | June 17, 2019

When roads ‘blow up’: How heat could play a role in pavement durability

Seattle hit a record 95 degrees on Wednesday, the hottest June 12 on record and the hottest day of 2019 so far. The record heat is what likely caused a part of 4th Avenue S. to buckle in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. We’ve seen it before. The rays from the sun heat up pavement hotter than the surrounding air….


News | May 7, 2020

Will coronavirus kill the electric scooter?

The electric scooter is, depending on your point of view, a dangerous blight of the sidewalk or a marvelous new species of transit that is perfect for the zero-emissions future city. So it’s a cause for celebration — or mourning — that the novel coronavirus is dealing the world’s networks of shared scooters a heavy…


News | July 14, 2020

Will the pandemic create a move back to the suburbs?

We’re starting to get an understanding of just how much tax revenue the state is losing because of the pandemic. The latest numbers from the state Department of Transportation are staggering. The pandemic has seen a cratering of traffic, not only on the roads, but on the ferries, at the Department of Licensing, and at…


News | July 26, 2022

With extreme heat, we can’t build roads and railways as we used to

Roads and airport runways buckling. Train tracks warping. Bridges swelling. These are just some of the damaging effects extreme heat has had on critical infrastructure in recent years, as heat waves have become more frequent and intense — a stark reminder, experts say, of the need to adjust quickly to a warming planet. For roadways…


Scholar

Xuegang (Jeff) Ban

Visit scholar website

Scholar

Yinhai Wang

Visit scholar website