Hani S. Mahmassani

Hani S. Mahmassani

W.A. Patterson Distinguished Chair and Director, Transportation Center
McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University
MSCE 1978

"One finds limits by pushing them."

Herbert A. Simon

For his recognition as one of the world's foremost respected experts in transportation engineering, pertaining to the development and deployment of the field of dynamic network modeling to urban areas across the world, as well as groundbreaking contributions to the design and operation of Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Hani Mahmassani is recognized worldwide as a leading authority on transportation and related fields. His expertise is sought by government agencies, research organizations, and universities around the globe.

Among his vast achievements is his work in defining and deploying the field of dynamic network modeling for urban areas. Mahmassani has made groundbreaking contributions to the design and operation of Intelligent Transportation Systems that enable better informed use of transportation networks. He has also pioneered research in network-level vehicular traffic theories and led research and development of sensor and communication technologies for real-time operation of intelligent transportation.

Mahmassani's publications are highly cited (more than 33,000 citations in Google Scholar — among the highest for transportation engineering and the civil engineering domain). He has become an influential leader in the field through extensive editorial journal activities, conference and technical committee chairmanship, advisory and review board memberships, and invited keynote presentations nationally and internationally.

When asked about his most rewarding achievements, however, Mahmassani points to his students: "I am most proud of my 65-plus PhD students who I have supervised and mentored, and who are helping advance the state of the art. They are, in turn, educating the next generation of leaders in our field."

In fact, 43 of the doctoral students he has supervised, including six of his female students, have become faculty members at major universities across the United States and the world, and are leaders making strong impacts in the field.

Mahmassani's work has received a great deal of accolades and recognition. Most recently, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions for an engineer. He was cited for "contributions to modeling of intelligent transportation networks and to interdisciplinary collaboration in transportation engineering."

Mahmassani says interdisciplinary research was among the most valuable learning experiences during his time as a master's student at Purdue.

"I learned that research is about challenging oneself to learn new techniques and tools, and that there is no problem that an engineer could not figure out a solution to through research and by applying basic principles," he says. "I also learned about interdisciplinarity — especially in my chosen field of transportation — that we have to go beyond the traditional boundaries of thinking about socio-technical problems and their solutions."

He advises today's students: "Follow your passion; don't be overly concerned about taking this course or that course, or about making the absolutely best decision on what to study. The world is a big place and there is so much opportunity to develop new skills and learn new problem areas. Connect with others from different backgrounds — there are few other times where similar opportunities exist."

Career Highlights

2007-present W.A. Patterson Distinguished Chair and Director, Transportation Center, McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University
2002-2007 Charles Irish Sr. Professor and Director, University of Maryland
2002-2006 Director, Maryland Transportation Initiative, University of Maryland
2000-2002 Adnan Abou-Ayyash Centennial Professorship in Transportation Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
1994-2002 Professor of Management Science and Information Systems, University of Texas (by courtesy)
1988-2002 Director, Advanced Institute for Transportation Infrastructure Engineering and Management, University of Texas
1996-2000 L.B. Meaders Professorship in Engineering, University of Texas
1991-1996 Hayden Head Professorship in Civil Engineering, University of Texas
1986-1991 Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Texas
1982-1986 Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Texas


1976 BS Civil Engineering, University of Houston
1978 MS Civil Engineering, Purdue University
1982 PhD Transportation Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology