December 15, 2004 —
Luca Quadrifoglio, a Ph.D. student in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial
and Systems Engineering, has won the top prize given by the Council of University
Transportation Centers (CUTC) for his work on an innovative transit-scheduling
algorithm to improve public bus transportation.
Quadrifoglio will receive a $1,500 cash prize in CUTC’s national
student competition for a non-thesis project, report or paper in
science, technology, policy or planning. His algorithm will allow
this new public transportation service to work automatically and
efficiently. Buses will follow fixed routes with a few mandatory stops and,
in addition, allow passengers to be picked up or dropped off anywhere they want
along the way, such as at their homes or offices.
“This new system combines the flexibility of the door-to-door services with the
simplicity of the fixed route lines,” Quadrifoglio said. “Customers would be
able to book the service quickly over the Internet or by phone, or they could
just show up at a routine stop and ride the bus as they do now.”
Students from the Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC School of Policy,
Planning, and Development have been competing actively for CUTC awards for some
years, said James Moore, chairman of the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial
and Systems Engineering, but Quadrifoglio’s award is the school’s first national
“This is quite an accomplishment,” Moore said. “Students who do high quality
work on tough problems, like Luca's transit-scheduling algorithm, put the university
and USC's National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research on the map
with the nation's most elite transportation research institutions.”
The Council of University Transportation Centers represents more
than 60 of the nation’s leading university-based transportation
research and education programs. Collectively, CUTC members have
advanced the state-of-the-art in all modes and disciplines of
Quadrifoglio will receive his award at the CUTC Awards Banquet on Jan. 8, 2005,
immediately preceding the 84th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board.
The National Science Foundation sponsored the work.
Quadrifoglio’s faculty adviser, Maged Dessouky, an associate professor
of industrial and systems engineering in the Daniel J. Epstein
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, oversaw the project.