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Elizabeth J. Traut, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Professor
Larson Transportation Institute
Penn State


I am an assistant research professor with the Larson Transportation Institute in the Penn State College of Engineering. My research on sustainable transportation uses modeling and optimization to evaluate tradeoffs in design and policy decisions for transportation systems. My research interests include public transit, electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, connected and autonomous vehicles, travel behavior data analysis, economic and statistical modeling of transportation systems, and life cycle assessment. I have experience analyzing travel behavior data and infrastructure data, combining data sets, selecting and fitting models and metamodels, optimizing transportation systems, performing life cycle assessment (LCA), and working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for both geospatial analysis and visualization. I have worked with traditional data (surveys) and nontraditional data (GPS traces, crowdsourcing).

Contact Me

204 Transportation Research Building
University Park, PA 16802
etraut [at] psu [dot] edu
LinkedIn | @ElizabethJTraut

Penn State graduate or undergraduate students who are interested in working with me should email their resume, a writing sample, and a brief statement of your research interests to the above address. In your email, please highlight your experience (including coursework) in probability/statistics and programming.

Latest Updates

04/23/2019 I received a 2019 Institute for CyberScience Seed Grant on "AI for Identifying and Optimizing Interactions Between Transit Systems" with co-PIs Rajesh Paleti, Amulya Yadav, and S. Ilgin Guler.

03/02/2019 Our paper "Identifying Commonly Used and Potentially Unsafe Transit Transfers with Crowdsourcing" has been published and is now available online (link below).

08/15/2018 I am pleased to announce that I have joined Penn State as an assistant research professor in the Larson Transportation Institute.


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, 2013
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2010
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2008, Summa Cum Laude, with a concentration in Green Engineering and a minor in Spanish

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Also see Google Scholar.

Traut, E. J., and Steinfeld, A. (2019). Identifying Commonly Used and Potentially Unsafe Transit Transfers with Crowdsourcing. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 122, 99-111. Available here (post-print, PDF, 2.1MB) and from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2019.02.005.

Junaid, S. U., and Traut, E. J. (2016). Assessing the Potential for Public Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Chicago to Offset Lack of Residential Charging. In Transportation Research Board 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers. Washington, D.C. Available here (PDF, 910 kB) and from http://trid.trb.org/view.aspx?id=1393716.

Traut, E. J., Cherng, T. C., Hendrickson, C., and Michalek, J. J. (2013). US Residential Charging Potential for Electric Vehicles. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 25, 139-45. Available from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2013.10.001 and from http://www.cmu.edu/me/ddl/publications.html.

Traut, E., Hendrickson, C., Klampfl, E., Liu, Y., and Michalek, J. J. (2012). Optimal Design and Allocation of Electrified Vehicles and Dedicated Charging Infrastructure for Minimum Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Cost. Energy Policy, 51, 524-34. Available from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.08.061 and from http://www.cmu.edu/me/ddl/publications.html.

Traut, E., Hendrickson, C., Klampfl, E., Liu, Y., and Michalek, J. J. (2011). Optimal Design and Allocation of Electrified Vehicles and Dedicated Charging Infrastructure for Minimum Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In Transportation Research Board 90th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers. Washington, D.C. Available here (PDF, 209 kB) and from https://trid.trb.org/view.aspx?id=1093058.

Research Experience

Postdoctoral Researcher with RERC-APT

As a postdoctoral researcher with the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT) in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, I analyzed crowdsourced data from the mobile transit app Tiramisu to identify travel patterns for planning sustainable transit and urban infrastructure.

NSF SEES Fellowship

As a Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability Fellow, funded by the US National Science Foundation, I took an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the potential benefits of electric vehicles in urban areas. I performed research towards identifying desirable regional scenarios of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure by determining the impacts of existing land use patterns and public transit availability on life cycle cost and emissions of electric vehicle systems, including charging infrastructure. I held a dual position as a postdoctoral researcher in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow and in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. My research mentors were Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah, in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow, and Chris Hendrickson, in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The award abstract is available on the NSF's web site here.

PhD Research

My PhD dissertation work examined tradeoffs between electrified vehicle design and deployment of charging infrastructure, including implications for life cycle cost, greenhouse gas emissions, and fuel consumption of personal vehicles. Methods included life cycle cost and GHG emissions modeling of electrified vehicles and infrastructure for slow-charging, fast-charging, and battery swapping; developing scenarios of electrified vehicle adoption and charging availability; optimizing those scenarios with respect to electrified vehicle design parameters and charging infrastructure deployment; and examining the implications for policy and for engineering design and consumer adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles. My PhD research advisors were Jeremy J. Michalek and Chris Hendrickson.

Prior Research

Prior to my PhD work, my research projects included work on solar thermal absorption refrigeration at the University of Zaragoza in Zaragoza, Spain (2006); work with a PEM fuel cell at the Center for Intelligent Material Systems and Structures at Virginia Tech (2005-2006); and an NSF REU project on technology and policy in sustainable road transportation decisions at Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2005).

Past Research Group Affiliations

© 2019 Elizabeth J. Traut