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Yinhai Wang

Faculty Photo

Director of PacTrans and STAR Lab

Thomas and Marilyn Nielsen Endowed Professor in Engineering
Civil & Environmental Engineering

Adjunct Professor
Electrical & Computer Engineering


Dr. Yinhai Wang is a professor in transportation engineering and the founding director of the Smart Transportation Applications and Research Laboratory (STAR Lab) at the University of Washington (UW). He also serves as director for Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans), USDOT University Transportation Center for Federal Region 10 and visiting chair for the Traffic Information and Control Department at Harbin Institute of Technology. He has a Ph.D. in transportation engineering from the University of Tokyo (1998), a master's degree in computer science from the UW, and another master’s degree in construction management (1991) and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (1989) from Tsinghua University in China. Dr. Wang’s active research fields include traffic sensing, e-science of transportation, big-data analytics, traffic operations and simulation, smart urban mobility, transportation safety, etc. He has published over 120 peer reviewed journal articles and delivered more than 130 invited talks and nearly 220 other academic presentations.

Dr. Wang serves as a member of the Transportation Information Systems and Technology Committee and Highway Capacity and Quality of Service Committee of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). He is currently a member of the steering committee for the IEEE Smart Cities and an elected governor for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Transportation and Development Institute (T&DI), scheduled to serve as president of ASCE T&DI in 2018. He is a co-chair of the Third IEEE International Smart Cities Conference to be held in Wuxi China in 2017 and the ASCE International Conference on Transportation and Development to be held in Indianapolis in 2018. He was a principal investigator for 75 important research projects with a total amount of funding over 51 million dollars. Additionally, Dr. Wang is associate editor for three journals: Journal of ITS, Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, and Journal of Transportation Engineering. He was the winner of the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering Best Paper Award for 2003.


  • Ph.D., University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 1998
  • M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 2002
  • M.S.C.E. in Construction Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1991
  • B.S.C.E. in Structural Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1989

Previous appointments

  • Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, USDOT University Transportation Center for Federal Region 10, Seattle, WA, USA Director, Jan. 2012 –
  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Professor, Sept. 2011 –
  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Associate Professor, Sept. 2007 – Aug. 2011
  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Assistant Professor, Sept. 2003 – Aug. 2007
  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Research Assistant Professor, Dec. 2002 – Sept. 2003
  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Acting Assistant Professor, Aug. 2002 – Nov. 2002

Research Statement

Over the past years, smart city sensors and personal mobile devices have become increasingly available. Together with the classical traffic detectors, these sensors and devices generate a tremendous amount of data that are extremely valuable for traffic management, forecast, and control. How to collect traffic data accurately, ,manage the data effectively, analyze the data efficiently, and produce the most useful information to address traffic safety and mobility challenges are of the utmost importance for transportation professionals. Thus, my research effort has been dedicated in developing (1) new traffic sensors; (2) data quality control algorithms; (3) big data analytics tools; (4) data-driven methods; and (5) data management solutions to support the research and practical needs in traffic operations, traffic safety, urban mobility, connected/automated vehicle deployments, etc.

Honors & awards

  • Beijing Scientific Research Award: Transit Smart Card Data Mining and Application Technologies. Dec. 2014.
  • Cheung Kong Scholar Visiting Professor, Tsinghua University, Jan. 2015.
  • Outstanding Leadership Award, Chinese Overseas Transportation Association (COTA), Aug. 2012.
  • Best Paper Award for 2003, Journal of Transportation Engineering, March 2004, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
  • Excellent Presentation Award, 51st Annual Conference of Japan Society of Civil Engineers, September 1996, Japan Society of Civil Engineers.