Traffic and Evacuations the Focus of the Aug. 26 Science Café

08/25/2014 03:18 PM

BATON ROUGE – One of the biggest complaints of modern life is traffic. Contrary to popular opinion, however, there is a rhyme and reason to the way that traffic moves on roads. In fact, there is an entire field of science and engineering that looks at how different designs and control techniques influence driver behavior and how that, in turn, impacts the safe and efficient movement of vehicles in cities throughout the world.

Brian Wolshon, Edward A. Karen Wax Schmitt Professor in the LSU Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, is a researcher, teacher and practitioner of traffic engineering. He will share basic principles of traffic movement and his research into evacuations at Science Café on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Chelsea’s Café, located at 2857 Perkins Road in Baton Rouge. Doors open at 5 p.m. for food and networking, and the talk will start at 6 p.m.

Traffic engineering looks into why drivers need to stop for a few seconds on a freeway ramp; why traffic comes to a dead stop on the Interstate for no apparent reason; and why lights never seem to be timed correctly. Wolshon will discuss how the timing of traffic signals and design of freeways effects how traffic moves and how every decision has trade-offs – some of which make drivers happy, some of which make drivers want to scream, but all of which seek to make the overall movement of people and freight better, faster, safer and more efficient.  

Most importantly, Wolshon will show how it is fun to apply modern tools and creative thinking to make evacuations go faster; help traffic get out of LSU football games smoother; and maybe even make your rush hour commute less hectic.

Science Café is open to people of all ages, so please spread the word and attend for a fun and informative night.

For more information on Science Café, contact the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development at or visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations
Mimi  LaValle 
Department of Physics & Astronomy

Posted on Monday, August 25, 2014