Excellence in Construction Science Research

Research Spotlights

Youngjib Ham’s paper receives ASCE best paper award

June 2020 – The paper titled “Participatory sensing and digital twin city: updating virtual city models for enhanced risk-informed decision-making” by Youngjob Ham and Jaeyoon Kim, Ph.D. student, has received the 2020 Best Paper Award from the Journal of Management in Engineering, one of the most prestigious journals of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This paper proposes a new framework to bring crowdsourced visual data-based reality information into a three-dimensional virtual city for model updates with interactive and immersive visualization.

Zofia Rybkowski Speaks at TEDx TAMU

February 2020Zofia Rybkowski delivered a talk on “Seeking truth: the luminous power of serious games and simulation” at the latest edition of TEDx TAMU.  In her talk, Rybkowski speaks to her personal transformation from bench scientist to academic researcher and educator of architecture and construction management at Texas A&M University.  She shares how serious games and simulations can serve a similar (though more lighthearted) role in controlled experimentation, as a way of seeking truth in the sometimes confusing and contradictory world of project management.

Research article by construction science faculty receives Best Paper Award

November 2019Amir Behzadan’s paper titled “Multi-dimensional sequence alignment for context-aware human action analysis of body-sensor data” has received the Best Paper Award of the 4th International Conference on Civil and Building Engineering Informatics (ICCBEI 2019). This paper presented a bioinformatics-inspired approach to classifying human time-motion signals collected by wearable sensors. ICCBEI 2019 was held in Sendai, Japan on November 7-8.

Manish Dixit receives NSF grant to use VR, eye tracking, and EEG data to train the future workforce

September 2019 – We are pleased to announce that Manish Dixit is the recipient of a major research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to explore the use of virtual reality, eye tracking, and electroencephalography data to train the future workforce to work in unfamiliar environments, including desolate hard to reach places such as deep space, low Earth orbit, deep ocean, and polar regions. Dixit will lead this 3-year project with collaborators from Visualization, Aerospace Engineering, and Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Research article by construction science faculty receives Best Paper Award

June 2019 – Ryan Ahn’s paper titled “Saliency detection analysis of pedestrians’ physiological responses to assess adverse built environment features” has received the Best Paper Award of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering (I3CE) that was hosted by Georgia Tech in Atlanta (June 17-19).

Ryan Ahn receives Texas A&M X Grant

June 2019 – We are pleased to announce that Ryan Ahn is the recipient of one of the eight university-wide X-Grants in the 2019 cycle. This project seeks to create smarter and more connected cities for independent mobility and healthy aging of older adults. Ahn and his team will construct a digital twin city (DTC) model with physiological and visual sensing data. This DTC model will be leveraged to design and simulate stress-aware interventions to promote older adults’ mobility and healthy behaviors (e.g., identify the least stressful first-and-last mile trip path to access transit).

COSC hosts researchers from University of Patras

March 2019 – Athanasios Chassiakos (Professor of Civil Engineering) and Stylianos Karatzas (Ph.D. Candidate) visited the construction science department and gave talks on “Optimization research in civil engineering and construction management”, and “Business process analysis and STAMP (systems-theoretic accident model and processes) for building energy management”.  They also met with several construction science faculty members and students to discuss future partnership opportunities.

Several COSC faculty members receive T3 grants

December 2018 – Seven construction science faculty members have received a total of five Texas A&M Triads for Transformation (T3) research grants. The T3 program is designed to accelerate opportunities for interdisciplinary research and scholarship that impact the state, nation, and the world.

Amir Behzadan’s AI research showcased at the Center for Infrastructure Renewal (CIR)

November 2018 – During a visit by the Army Futures Command (AFC) to Texas A&M University, Amir Behzadan showcased his team’s work on designing and testing artificial intelligence (AI) computing systems for real time ground asset detection and localization in drone footage, with applications in disaster response, urban informatics, and geospatial mapping.

Patrick Suermann joins a panel of NSF experts on Antarctica project

September 2018Patrick Suermann was in Denver with the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) reviewing Leidos International’s plan for working with Parsons as the Prime Sub on $355M of construction, demolition, and consolidation for the Antarctica Infrastructure Modernization for Science (AIMS) project at the South Pole.  Starting in FY19, this project will help take American presence in Antarctica to the next level needed to handle the invigorated research we accomplish there through the NSF.

Sarel Lavy receives honorary appointment in the U.K.

May 2018Sarel Lavy will be a visiting scholar in the School of Built Environment at the Liverpool John Moores University. This position is regarded as a significant accolade and recognition of the scholar’s prominence in the field, and was offered to Lavy in recognition of his major contributions to student learning. Lavy will spend the fall semester in the U.K as part of this appointment.

Eric Du speaks at TEDx TAMU

April 2018 – Eric Du delivered a talk on “Vibrations, the common language of internet of things (loTs)” at the latest edition of TEDx TAMU. Du’s work focuses on smart information technologies for the next generation infrastructure systems, and aims to tackle engineering problems of significance to industry and society. 

Four construction science faculty members received T3 grants

March 2018 – Four COSC faculty members have received Texas A&M Triads for Transformation (T3) research grants. The T3 program is designed to accelerate opportunities for interdisciplinary research and scholarship that impact the state, nation, and the world. Selected T3 projects with COSC faculty involvement are:

  • “Hostile intent prediction based on gaze movement trajectory in indoor navigation” – Construction Science (Eric Du), Industrial and Systems Engineering, and the School of Public Health.
  • “Impacts of inlet protection measures on road flooding caused by tropical storms and hurricanes” – Construction Science (Manish Dixit), Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, and Civil Engineering.
  • “Mass-less battery fibers” – Aerospace Engineering, and Construction Science (Mohammed Haque).
  • “In-situ deficiency detection and characterization for automated structural repair” – Civil Engineering, and Construction Science (Amir Behzadan).

During this inaugural year of the T3 program, 100 innovative interdisciplinary projects were randomly selected for funding. There will be approximately $3 million invested annually in T3 projects.

Workshop on wearable and mobile computing

March 2018 – The Workshop on “Wearable and Mobile Computing for Construction and the Built Environment” was successfully held on March 4 during the 2018 IEEE Body Sensor Networks (BSN) Conference in Las Vegas. Four faculty members from Texas A&M Construction Science Department (Professors Behzadan, Ahn, Du, and Ham) organized and hosted speakers from several universities including the University of Michigan, Northeastern University, and the City University of Hong Kong in this year’s workshop.

Visit by the Senior Director of Autodesk Technology Centers

March 2018 – The Departments of Construction Science and Architecture hosted Rick Rundell, Senior Director of Technology Centers at Autodesk. Autodesk Technology Centers (ATCs) consist of facilities in San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, and the UK where Autodesk collaborates with industry, academic, and entrepreneurial communities to speculate, validate and test ideas about the future of making. A multidisciplinary team from Texas A&M University led by Professors Behzadan and Kalantar will travel to Boston later this year for a research residence project in Autodesk’s BUILD Space.

Three COSC professors selected as 2017 ASCE Outstanding Reviewers

March 2018 – The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has selected Ryan Ahn and Eric Du as Outstanding Reviewers for the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. In addition, Youngjib Ham was selected as an Outstanding Reviewer for the Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering.

Current Projects and Grants

The Future of Teleoperation in Construction Workplaces

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

January 2021 to December 2023

PI: Youngjib Ham

This research will advance fundamental knowledge in smart construction.  Workers in construction often struggle with the cognitive data overload that emerges when they are required to simultaneously attend to multiple sensory stimuli.  To increase performance and reduce work-related stress, this research creates a new sensory system capable of augmenting spatial awareness and performance of workers in construction workplaces.

Improving Undergraduate Education in Civil & Building Engineering through Student-Centric Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Real-world Problems

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

October 2020 to September 2023

Co-PI: Youngjib Ham

This project develops, refines, and researches cutting-edge affordable cyber-physical systems (CPS) that span both physical and virtual worlds, pushing frontiers in undergraduate education and building theory for STEM education.  The human-centric CPS will allow contextualized active learning leveraging embodied cognition, and introduce students to smart infrastructure sensing using smartphones, cameras, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors.

CHS: Medium: Collaborative Research: Bio-Behavioral Data Analytics to Enable Personalized Training of Veterans for the Future Workforce

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

October 2020 to September 2023

Co-PI: Dr. Amir Behzadan

This project provides new knowledge to remove implicit bias and misconceptions against combat veterans and prepare them for interviewing for civilian positions in the future workforce. This goal is achieved by quantifying measures of moment-to-moment stress based on vocalizations, visual expressions, and physiological reactivity. The resulting personalized training system can assist veterans in effectively engaging with the interviewer and coping with stress during the interview.

Breaking Risk Habituation to Occupational Hazards using Virtual Reality Interventions with Aversive Sensory Feedback

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

September 2020 to August 2023

PI: Ryan Ahn

This research project will construct a virtual reality (VR) training system that detects a trainee’s risk habituation, and provides direct, negative sensory feedback during simulated accidents.  In collaboration with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Infrastructure Training & Safety Institute, this training system will be evaluated in a series of experiments involving road construction workers, who are repeatedly exposed to struck-by hazards in highway work zones.

Contingency Factors to Account for Risk in Early Construction Cost Estimates for Transportation Infrastructure Projects (NCHRP 15-71)

National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), Transportation Research Board (TRB), National Academy of Science

July 2020 to March 2022

PI: David Jeong, Co-PI: Kunhee (KC) Choi

This research will identify project-related risks that are associated with significant cost impacts and affect the accuracy of early cost estimates compared to actual construction costs.  The research will define contingency factor ranges for significant risks and address how project owners can better track the costs associated with risks to refine these contingency factors as needed and to develop additional factors in the future.

Artificial Intelligence-Driven Disaster Risk Prediction and Assessment

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

July 2020 to June 2021

PI: Youngjib Ham

This research project is based on the development of the integrated analysis of low-level image features together with high-level semantic models, enabling robust scene understanding and risk prediction in complex environments.  The technology automatically encodes the context of potential disaster risk into machine vision algorithms to identify the elements at risk, and assess the degree of vulnerability.  Results help reduce the impacts of disasters.

U.S.-Korea Advanced Transportation Informatics Institute

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

June 2020 to July 2023

PI: Kunhee (KC) Choi

This research project creates a unified data-driven algorithmic framework for autonomously predicting mobility and safety impacts of highway rehabilitation by harnessing artificial intelligence (AI). The research team proposes three annual Advanced Transportation Infrastructure Informatics Institutes to catalyze an international collaboration where the best infrastructure mobility and safety analysis practices are synergistically integrated in alignment with the NSF Big Ideas of ‘Harnessing the Data Revolution’.

A Hybrid Decision Support System for Driving Resiliency in Texas Coastal Communities

Texas Sea Grant (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

February 2020 to January 2022

PI: Amir Behzadan

This research project augments flood management practices in Texas coastal communities through citizen science, artificial intelligence (AI), decision science, and cyberinfrastructure. The team will develop a mobile app that takes crowdsourced data, calculates flood risk, and estimates floodwater depth at the street-level. Generated data are then incorporated in a CyberGIS spatial decision support system (SDSS) to assist in decision-making.

RT383: Quantitive Validation and Deployment of Industrial Integrated Project Delivery (I2PD)

Construction Industry Institute (CII)

January 2020 to December 2022

PI: David Jeong

This research project will investigate whether there is a measurable increase in project success rates using I2PD and other related integrated delivery methods as compared to traditional delivery methods. Findings will confirm whether the findings of CII RT341 are consistent with the actual results obtained from live projects that apply some or all of the principles and methods of I2PD.

Guidance for the Use of UAS During Suboptimal Environmental Conditions

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

November 2019 to October 2021

Co-PI: Youngjib Ham

This research project will address key challenges of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations for visual monitoring in suboptimal conditions (e.g., wind, rain, mist, smoke, and ambient lighting). The outcome of this study can provide guidance for UAS flight operations in suboptimal conditions, and recommend settings, procedures and workflows to ensure data quality collected by UAS for highway mapping, bridge inspection, crash site data collection, and real-time traffic monitoring.

INVEST Training Module Development for Use by Universities

US Federal Highway Administration (through ICF International, Inc.)

November 2019 to July 2021

Co-PI: Phil Lewis

The objective of this project is to develop materials and resources to inform and support current and future users of the FHWA’s INVEST tool.  The training materials will be developed as a stand-alone semester-long course and will include training modules to provide more opportunities for the INVEST curriculum to be incorporated into multiple course disciplines.  Marketing materials will be developed to support outreach to universities and colleges.

Real World Data Measurement of Factors Affecting Air Quality for Nonroad Diesel

U.S. Department of Transportation (through the Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy, and Health)

November 2019 to May 2021

PI: Phil Lewis

This research project addresses a gap in knowledge related to the understanding of which contribute significantly to air quality for nonroad equipment operators.  The team will identify, measure, and characterize how the equipment, operator, and environment work together to create air quality conditions for equipment operators.

FW-HTF-RM: Augmenting Spatial Cognition Capabilities of Future Workforce to Enhance Work Performance in Altered Environments Using Virtual Reality

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

October 2019 to September 2022

PI: Manish Dixit

This research project will enable the future workforce to work in unfamiliar environments, including desolate hard to reach places such as deep space, low Earth orbit, deep ocean, and polar regions. Virtual Reality (VR), eye tracking, and electroencephalography (EEG) will be combined in a cost-effective educational platform to inform design principles for scenario-based simulations and games to train the future workforce to adapt to and work in altered environments.

ERC Planning Grant: Engineering Research Center for AI in Construction (AI-Con)

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

September 2019 to August 2021

Co-PI: Amir Behzadan

This research project will support the development of a research roadmap for implementing artificial intelligence (AI) in the construction industry and the formation of a multi-institutional team working toward an NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC). Impacts of this ERC will include significant advancements in AI algorithms, human-machine interfacing, machine learning for generative design, and deep learning that will transform how construction projects operate from conception to design to completion.

Feasibility Study on the Use of Innovative Tools and Techniques to Accelerate Pavement Construction

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

September 2018 to August 2021

Co-PI: Kunhee (KC) Choi

This research project investigates innovative tools and techniques to accelerate pavement construction and implement those in real world projects. The research team tests several pilot projects and recommends innovative approaches for district consideration. The team employs advanced planning tools, such as Construction Analysis for Pavement Rehabilitation Strategies (CA4PRS), to document the optimal construction scheduling and identify time and cost savings.

Cognition-Driven Display for Navigation Activities (Cog-DNA): Personalized Spatial Information System Based on Information Personality of Firefighters

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

June 2018 to May 2021

Co-PI: Patrick Suermann

This project proposes and tests an innovative concept called Spatial Information Personality (SIP), a cognitive profile of information-taking preference and behavioral patterns at the individual level. SIP of firefighters will be tracked by quantifying individual reactions to different types, quantities, and display methods of information during virtual reality based fire training. The collected SIP data of individual firefighters can be integrated as a necessary part of their personal files.

Collaborative Research: Transforming Teaching of Structural Analysis through Mobile Augmented Reality

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

August 2017 to July 2021

PI: Amir Behzadan

The objective of this collaborative project is to transform existing teaching pedagogy in structural analysis by designing and testing a mobile augmented reality (AR) platform that superimposes the visuals of the textbook with interactive computer generated 3D models of structures under load. In doing so, the potential of AR for improving learning and increasing student engagement in the learning process is systematically assessed.