Logo: University of Southern California

ISE Student

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

Luca Quadrifoglio
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 success.

“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 transportation.

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.

--Diane Ainsworth