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Dan Work - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Dan Work Dan Work

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering | Vanderbilt University


Expert in self-driving cars and traffic management.


Daniel Work is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining the faculty at Vanderbilt, Prof. Work was an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (tenured), the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (courtesy), and the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prof. Work earned his bachelor of science degree (2006) from the Ohio State University, and a master of science (2007) and Ph.D. (2010) from the University of California, Berkeley, each in civil engineering. Prior to joining the faculty at Illinois as an assistant professor in 2010, Work was a research intern at Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto from 2008-2009, and a guest researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond in 2010. Prof. Work has research interests in transportation cyber physical systems and transportation data analytics. He currently serves as associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems and Transportation Research Part C – Emerging Technologies, and is a member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Cybernetics for Cyber-Physical Systems. Prof. Work has received a number of honors and awards including being named to the list of 2018 Pioneers by Connected World, a 2018 Gilbreth Lecturer by the National Academy of Engineering, a UIUC CEE Excellence Faculty Fellow in 2016, the 2015 UIUC ASCE Outstanding Professor, a CAREER Award recipient from the National Science Foundation in 2014, and a recipient of the IEEE ITSS Best Dissertation Award in 2011.

Areas of Expertise (11)

Adaptive Cruise Control


Inverse Modeling

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

Traffic Estimation and Control

Transportation Cyber Physical Systems

Self-Driving Cars

Transportation Data Analysis

Mathematical Models of Traffic

Mobile Sensing

Cruise Control

Accomplishments (3)

2018 Pioneers

Connected World

NAE Gilbreth Lecturer

National Academy of Engineering, 2018

NAE China US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium Speaker

National Academy of Engineering, 2017

Education (3)

University of California, Berkeley: Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of California, Berkeley: M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Ohio State University: B.S, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Selected Media Appearances (6)

‘Vehicles are getting smarter’: Vanderbilt, TDOT researching automated vehicle technology on I-24

WKRN  tv


“The reason we want to do that is that vehicles are getting smarter,” said Dan Work, Vanderbilt University Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “I-24 is a highly congested freeway. There are 150,000 vehicles a day that pass through it and it’s a really nice test case because if automated vehicle technology can help tame and make the traffic on I-24 a little bit smoother, and a little bit more efficient, then that technology can be deployed around the world making commuters everywhere a little bit easier off.”

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Vanderbilt contributes to smart interstate infrastructure venture

Nashville Post  online


“I-24 MOTION allows us to understand how automated vehicles interact with non-automated ones so that we can design them to be more efficient at helping smooth traffic flow,” said Dan Work, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt. “In our research, we are helping to design better vehicle automation features that can help improve overall traffic flow.”

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TDOT, Vanderbilt studying self-driving cars on I-24

NewsChannel 5  tv


"Human drivers are actually less consistent than autonomous vehicles are today," said Dan Work, engineer and researcher for Vanderbilt University. "So, we can actually pick up the nuances of the way that you or I drive that are distinct from the way automated vehicles drive."

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Scooters are here to stay in Nashville. We have to make it work.

The Tennessean  online


Technology-enabled disrupters have descended on Nashville. From Uber to Airbnb to Bird, our students are some of the earliest adopters. These technologies have had a positive impact on the lives of our students, faculty and their families. Now e-scooters are sparking heated debate here in Nashville. While it is easy to have a knee-jerk negative reaction to these change agents – and we agree more can be done on enforcing safety measures – we must acknowledge that disruption can bring about positive change.

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How level-1 AVs may reduce phantom traffic jams

Axios  online


Phantom traffic jams — the ones that appear to have no obvious cause — result from human driving behavior. Adaptive cruise control replaces some of these jam-inducing behaviors with algorithms, using sensors to detect the vehicle ahead and adjust cruise speed accordingly. When designed correctly, level-1 AVs may help prevent such traffic patterns from developing.

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Ford says new tech could prevent 'phantom' traffic jams

Good Morning America  tv


"We had experimented on this in theory, and to see it in practice was thrilling for us," said Vanderbilt engineering professor Dan Work. "Humans, when we're not paying attention, we make these traffic jams worse. These adaptive cruise control systems, we showed, can actually out-perform the human drivers."

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Selected Articles (1)

Evaluation of traffic data obtained via GPS-enabled mobile phones: The Mobile Century field experiment


Daniel Work, Juan C. Herrera, Ryan Heering ...


2010 "The growing need of the driving public for accurate traffic information has spurred the deployment of large scale dedicated monitoring infrastructure systems, which mainly consist in the use of inductive loop detectors and video cameras. On-board electronic devices have been proposed as an alternative traffic sensing infrastructure, as they usually provide a cost-effective way to collect traffic data, leveraging existing communication infrastructure such as the cellular phone network.

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