Xiang Zhang

Xiang Zhang

Xiang Zhang

Transport Modeller

Transport Forecasting, Freight, Strategy and Planning

My post-graduate study

PhD in Civil Engineering in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales

Research title

Multi-objective network design: Road capacity expansion and multi-modal recharge facility location

My research

The aim of my research is to get our transport system to cope with rapid social development and dramatic travel demand increase, and help resolve the current and future transport-related issues, including congestion, environment disruption, reliability concern, equity issue, etc. I'm also investigating the use and operation of modern electric vehicles (EV), the impacts of EVs on the system performance and optimal solutions to transport infrastructure planning and design.

Why I chose this topic

I chose this topic to help solve transport-related problems and to improve the service quality of transport infrastructure systems. I have been studying and working in transport engineering nearly 10 years. The aim of my PhD research is use multidisciplinary techniques and help generate smart planning and design options for governing authorities. 

How my research relates to my work

The research directions in my PhD program include transport system analysis and optimisation, transport network modelling and network design problem. These directions are highly related to the projects I am currently working on at Transport for NSW. Before I started my PhD, I had also studied and worked in transport engineering, including transport planning, traffic safety, computer-aided transport facility design, and traffic flow theory. My specialisation in transport engineering is helpful for my further career development.  

Challenges in my area of research

Transport system planning and optimisation is the most challenging research area in the field of transport engineering, mainly because of the diversity of transport-related issues and the complexity of the transport system. Transport system analysis must account for a large number of factors, which as a minimum include travel demand, trip distribution, traffic modes, network topology, road attributes, traffic management policies, and incidents. In addition, unlike other networks (e.g. telecommunication network), the behaviour of the network users (i.e., travellers) is not under the full control of transport planners. Each traveller chooses the best travel strategy for themselves, which impacts transport system performance. This means that the travellers’ response to different conditions is to be extensively investigated in the decision-making process of transport planning, which leads to research in transport system planning being far more complicated.