Welcome to Yao's website! 

 As of March, 2018, my website is migrating to: https://www.yaojan.org/ . This Google site will fade away. 


I received my PhD (2010) in Transportation Engineering from the University of Washington (UW), Seattle. (Please see my CV for more details). Currently, I am an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering And Engineering Mechanics at the University of Arizona.

If you're interested in doing research with me, please feel free to contact me and we can talk about potential research assistantships and collaboration opportunities.  For Ph.D./M.S. program applicants, please make sure you apply officially here first. 

**********Research Assistant Opportunities Available *************

For undergraduate students currently studying at the University of Arizona, please feel free to contact me if you're interested in undergraduate research assistant positions. No application is required but your CV is preferable.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Any thoughts are welcome!

Research Interests

My research interests highlight a strong connection between information technology (IT) and traditional transportation research. My research  covers four major fields:  1) intelligent transportation systems (i.e. development of advanced traffic detection technology and computer vision applications), 2) large-scale network analyses (i.e. online data management and analysis systems, network performance measurement and traveler behavior analysis), 1) traffic safety (i.e. accident modeling and analysis, and advanced safety vehicles), and 4) Sustainable transportation systems (e.g. climate change impact analysis). More specifically, my research interests are listed as follows: 

  • Intelligent transportation systems (ITS)
    • Image processing and computer vision applications
    • Traffic detection technology development
    • Advanced/information technology applications
  • Large-scale transportation system analysis and optimization using big data
    • Big data management, mining, and analysis
    • Travel behavior and pattern analysis
    • Traffic signal control
    • Freeway and arterial operations
  • Transportation safety analysis and accident modeling
  • Sustainable transportation systems
    • Sustainable infrastructure
    • Transit system improvement

        Current &  Past Funded Projects 

  • PI, Pima County Speed Management Evaluation and Strategic Development: Data Driven Enforcement, Dec. 2017~ Dec. 2019. 

  • Key Researcher, Developing a Quality of Signal Timing Performance Measure Methodology for Arterial Operations, Dec. 2017~ Sep., 2019. (PI: Dr. Zong Tian, University of Nevada, Reno) 

  • PI, Optimizing Traffic Signals Using Multi-Source Data, City of Tucson, Arizona, Aug. 2017~ July 2018. 

  • PI, Visualizing Performance Measures with Multi-Source Traffic Data, Jiangsu (Zhitong) Intelligent Transportation System Co, Ltd. Nov. 2015~Dec. 2017. 

  • PI, SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Program (IAP): Reliability Data and Analysis Tools, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Oct. 2016~ Sep. 2017. 

  • PI, Incorporating Freeway Performance Measures into Real-Time Crash Prediction, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Oct. 2016~ May. 2018
  • PI, Evaluation of Traffic Signal Communication, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Time. Mar. 2016~ June. 2018. 

  • PI, Analyzing Travel Time Data: Development of Traffic Data Quality Assurance Tool, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Feb. 2016~Jan. 2017. 

  • PI, University of Arizona Bluetooth Solution – Oracle Rd Travel Time Data Collection, Pima Association of Government (PAG) and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Nov. 2015~Aug. 2017. 

  • PI, Before-and-After Traffic Study for Indirect Left Turns on Grant Road, Tucson, Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). 2016~2018. 

  • PI, Metropia App Quality Assurance and Data Examination, Metropia, Inc. Sep. 2015~Jan. 2017.  

  • PI, Multi‐modal Arterial Performance Measurement using Multi‐source ITS Data, University of California Center ON Economic Competitiveness In Transportation (UCCONNECT), Oct. 2014~Oct. 2015. 

  • PI, The Real Time Signal Timing and Traffic Information Project (Tucson Bluetooth Systems Deployment), City of Tucson, Arizona, Apr. 2014~June 2015.

  • Co-PI, A Real-time Online Decision Support System for Intermodal Passenger Travel. National Center for Intermodal Transportation for Economic Competitiveness (NCITEC). August, 2013~ July, 2015.  (PI: Dr. Mengqi Hu at Mississippi State University)

  • Co-PI, Freeway Travel Time Estimation using Existing Fixed Traffic Sensors (Phase 2). Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), August, 2013~ July, 2014.

  • PI, Development of Online Traffic Data Platform for Advanced Traffic Operations and Management. President Research Fund (PRF) at SLU (Project Period: 2013~2014) 

  • PI, Development of a Region-wide Traffic Emission Estimation Platform for Environmental Sustainability Evaluation. Center for Sustainability at SLU   (Project Period: 2012~2013)

  • Co-PI, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Grant: Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Project Period: 2010~2013)

  • PI, Freeway Travel Time Estimation using Existing Fixed Traffic Sensors (Phase 1).  Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)  (Project Period: 2012~2013)

Professional Services

  1. Transportation Research Board (TRB)
    • University Representative 
    • Committee on Highway Traffic Monitoring (ABJ35): Official Young Member
    • Committee on Urban Transportation Data and Information Systems (ABJ30): Official Young Member 
    • Archived Data User Service (ADUS) Subcommittee (of ABJ35) : Member
    • Committee on User Information Systems (AND20 ): Committee Friend
    • Committee on Information Systems and Technology Committee (ABJ50) : Committee Friend
  2. Other Members
    • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE): Associate Member
    • Chinese Overseas Transportation Association (COTA)  : Member
    • Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) : Associate Member
    • TRB


  1. 2014 Outstanding English Editing Chair Award, The 14th COTA International Conference of Transportation professionals, Chinese Oversea Transportation Association (COTA) (Awarded on July 7th, 2014)   

  2. 2013 Professor of the Year (Excellence at the Student Interface), Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Arizona (Awarded on May 13th, 2014)

  3. 2010 Michael Kyte Award (Region X Outstanding Student of the Year) 
    • Nominees for the award are Students of the Year from Region X's respective University Transportation Centers.

  4. 2010 UTC Region X Outstanding Student of the Year:
    • Awarded by TransNow, Region X University Transportation Center (UTC)
    • Recognized at the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) banquet at the 90th TRB Annual Meeting. (Jan. 22nd, 2011)

  5. Smart Transportation Applications and Research Laboratory (STAR Lab), Guiding Star Award. (June 15th, 2009)
    • For the student who made the most contribution in STAR Lab resource management, training, service, and equipment purchase and maintenance over the past year.

  6. ITE Scholarship: Outstanding Graduate Student in Transportation. Awarded by the ITE Washington State Section. ( 2008)

  7. Nominated for the 2008 Research Assistant Innovator Award and recognized by College of Engineering, University of Washington. (2008)

  8. ITE District 6 Annual meeting James H. Kell Student Competition Strength (Paper Bridge Competition), First Place. (2007)


  1. Professional Engineer (PE) – Civil (Missouri State: License No. 2013019132)
  2. Engineer-In-Training (EIT) - Civil (Washington State: License No. 31596)
  3. Tennis Coach (Class C) @ Taiwan (2000)
  4. Emergency Medical Technician 1 (EMT1) @ Taiwan (2003)