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Student of the Year

Enrique Gonzalez-Velez – 2011 Student of the Year

Enrique Gonzalez-VelezEnrique Gonzalez-Velez is a Doctoral Candidate student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of South Florida. He is employed at USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Re-search (CUTR) as a Graduate Research Assistant in the ITS Traffic Operations and Safety group and has worked with the NCTR for several semesters. Through his studies and work, he has developed an impressive set of credentials, worked on several safety topics, and has a solid track record of presentations and papers.

Prior to coming to USF, Enrique earned a Master of Science degree at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and received the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation fellowship for a Hispanic Serving Institution. During his Ph.D. studies at USF, he received the South-eastern Transportation Center Outstanding Student Award for Region 4, the Anne Shanklin Brewer Scholarship from the Intelligent Transportation Society of Florida, and the Georgia Brosch Memorial Transportation Scholarship from CUTR.

In the past year, Enrique has assisted in the research of several NCTR projects, including Moving the Bus Safely Back into Traffic and Evaluation of Camera-Based Systems to Reduce Transit Bus Side Collisions. Both of these projects proved, through rigorous field testing, that accidents and traffic delays could be reduced through the use of new equipment and technology on transit buses. He presented the results of his research at two professional conferences in 2010 and presented the findings at the TRB Annual Meeting in 2011. He has been an active member of the ITE Student Chapter, serving in several officer positions. In addition, he is a Young Member of the TRB Committee on Visibility (AND40) and the Transportation Safety Council of ITE.

Enrique hopes to perform more research in transit safety and has a strong interest in the evaluation and implementation of new technologies that can be used to improve the operation and safety of the transit industry.


Past Recipients

Martin Akerman NCTR 2009 Student of the YearMartin Akerman – 2010 Student of the Year

Martin Akerman is a Graduate Research Assistant at the National Center for Transit Research at CUTR at the University of South Florida (USF) and a Masters student in Management Information Systems and Decision Sciences in the USF College of Business. He has served as lead application developer in several projects during 2009 that focused on innovative uses of the Internet and information technologies in order to increase efficiency, maximize mobility options, and promote safety and security in transit. These projects include “Expanding the Google Transit Data Feed Specification to Support Operations and Planning”, “Survey of Staffing and Administrative Capacity of MPOs” and “Florida Transit Information Emergency Reporting System (TIERS)”.

 Martin’s responsibilities have included the development of the work breakdown structure and task management for each of the above projects as well as application development and quality assurance for deliverables. In 2009 Martin’s duties also included the development of many transportation related websites and web applications including the assessment tool used in “Better Driver Campaign”, a web effort to help both truck drivers and passenger car drivers understand and deal with the hazards of aggressive driving. Martin was also involved in the “Research Road Map Tool” used by the Transportation Research Board Committee ABJ60 on Geographic Information Science and Applications.

 As an Undergraduate student at USF, Martin was awarded the Latino Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement as well as making the National Dean’s List from 2004-2006. He was also recognized by the College of Business Administration, being awarded the faculty scholarship and a place on their Dean’s List in 2006. Martin is a member of the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi. He joined CUTR as an undergraduate in 2006 and has been with the center ever since.

 As a Graduate student, Martin’s entrepreneurism brought university faculty together to help shape and define the field of Transit Informatics. He also joined the Project Management Institute and is on his way to become a Certified Project Management Professional. Martin was recently nominated by the University for the Presidential Management Fellowship.

Martin’s future goals include the continuation of development in the field of Transit Informatics and assisting NCTR and CUTR in their effort to remain in the forefront of transit research in the new age of technology.


Sean Barbeau 2008 NCTR Student of the YearSean Barbeau – 2009 NCTR Student of the Year

NCTR is very proud to select Sean Barbeau as its Student of the Year. Sean is pursuing a Masters degree in Computer Science and Ph.D. in computer science and engineering at USF and retains a 4.0 GPA in his course work. He is also a member of the research faculty who has been the Principle Investigator or co-PI on a number of NCTR projects during 2008 that focused on innovative uses of Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled cell phones in order to solve transportation problems. These projects include “Testing the Impact of Personalized Feedback on Household Travel Behavior (TRAC-IT Phase 2),” “Smart Phone Application to Influence Travel Behavior (TRAC-IT Phase 3),” “Enhancing Transit Safety and Security through Wireless Detection and Communication Technologies,” and “Travel Assistant Device (TAD) to Aid Transit Riders with Special Needs.”

Sean’s duties includes the research and development of location-aware cell phone technology, the supervision of six undergraduate and graduate Computer Science students on software engineering project tasks, management of intellectual property produced by the projects, managing the information technology infrastructure for the projects, and maintaining an ongoing relationship with cell phone device and service industry partners. He is a co-founding faculty member of the USF Location-Aware Information Systems Laboratory (LAISL).

Sean’s contributions to the NCTR projects has been nationally and internationally recognized in 2008 with seven peer-reviewed papers & presentations for a variety of organizations, including the 15th World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Computer Communications magazine, and UBICOMM 2008 – The Second International Conference on Mobile Ubiquitous Computing, Systems, Services, and Technologies in Valencia, Spain. The “Travel Assistant Device (TAD)” project, aimed to increase the independence and quality of life for special-needs transit riders, continues to receive particular attention and has been recognized in the 2008 TCRP Synthesis 73 – AVL System for Bus Transit: Update, the Microsoft Research Workshop on Intelligent Systems for Assisted Cognition, as well as the local print and broadcast media.

Sean was also a co-recipient of USF’s 2008 Excellence in Innovation Award for the work performed on the NCTR projects along with the other four faculty members of LAISL. In 2008, he had one copyright issued and five patents filed on location-aware technology produced under the NCTR projects. He also continues to serve as a member of the “Java Specification Request (JSR) 293: Location API v2.0” international expert group that is responsible for defining the next-generation software standard for Java Micro Edition (Java ME) for mobile phones.

NCTR appreciates Sean’s dedication to excellence and innovation, and looks forward to his continued contributions to the world of public transportation.

Monique Ellis 2007 Student of the YearMonique Ellis – 2007 and 2008 NCTR Student of the Year

Monique Ellis has been named the NCTR Student of the Year. She is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida (USF). She has assisted with the NCTR-funded project entitled, “Incorporating Transit and Other Multimodal Strategies into the Florida Department of Transportation Development of Regional Impact Review Process.” Her responsibilities involved performing literature summaries, documenting relevant performance measures, and researching potential interview questions to aid senior researchers in improving Florida Department of Transportation’s abilities to encourage multimodal mitigation strategies for developments of regional impact. Monique has also assisted with other non-NCTR projects, including providing research support for a white paper assessing various financial or in-kind contributions from land developers and a technical memorandum documenting improved mobility techniques for state roadway facilities.

Monique is pursuing both a master’s degree in civil engineering and a graduate certificate in interdisciplinary transportation studies—comprised of courses in transportation engineering, public administration, and economics. Prior to attending USF, she received her bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Monique is the current secretary of the USF student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and recipient of the Louis T. Klauder Scholarship Award and Southeastern Transportation Center Student Fellowship. Upon graduating from USF in May 2008, Monique has an interest in pursuing a career in public transportation planning or management.

Oliver Page 2006 Student of the YearOliver Page – 2006 NCTR Student of the Year

Oliver Page, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering, has been selected as the 2006 NCTR Student of the Year. Oliver has made substantial contributions to a number of projects funded through the National Center for Transit Research, including “Developing Bus Transfer Centers for Maximum Transit Agency and Community Benefit” and “Transit Use Viability Among Older Drivers Losing Driving Privileges,” the latter being the topic of his doctoral dissertation. He provided substantive assistance in a recently completed Transit Cooperative Research Program report entitled “Guidebook for Evaluating, Selecting, and Implementing Suburban Transit Services” and co-authored a white paper on “Rapid Transit Options for Miami Beach.” His paper entitled, “Equity Impacts and Challenges of Highway Access Management in an Emerging Economy – South Africa at the Crossroads” has been published in Transportation Research Record #1939, of the National Research Council. He has presented findings of his NCTR research at state and national professional transportation conferences. In addition to his research activities, Oliver was a teaching assistant for the course entitled “Transportation and Society” and served as President of the student chapter of ITE at USF. He plans to continue to conduct research and teach in the field of transportation.

“Oliver has made outstanding contributions in every phase of our work at NCTR. He has completed meticulous research, has assisted in teaching transportation courses to undergraduates, and has been a leader in our student chapter of ITE. He has set a very high standard for future applicants for this award. We thank him for his service, and congratulate him on this award,” said Joel Volinski, Director National Center for Transit Research at CUTR.


  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • US Department of Transportation



National Center for Transit Research c/o Center for Urban Transportation Research 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375