Oliver Gao, Systems Integration and Innovation in Urban Transportation, Environment, and Health: Models, Tools, and Insights
Transportation-related air pollution, GHG emissions and energy problems are a significant issue in the U.S. and across the world. The World Health Organization estimates that urban air pollution causes 200,000 deaths per year worldwide and that it will be responsible for 8 million premature deaths from 2000 to 2020. How do we meet the mobility needs in urban transitions without sacrificing environment sustainability and global health? In this talk Dr. Gao took a systems approach to study the nexus of transportation and environment/health systems. He examined the broad spectrum and necessary depth of models, tools, and insights for trans-disciplinary systems research in support of integrative transportation, environment, and health planning. Examples of application include transportation emissions modeling and health cost accounting of PM 2.5 pollution, air quality and health benefit of transportation electrification, and health co- benefit of climate policy in freight transportation in the United States.
Oliver Gao, Director of Cornell Systems Engineering Program, is a Professor with the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. Gao is an international leading expert in urban infrastructure and transportation innovation for healthy living in sustainable communities. His research focuses on modeling and development of systems solutions for sustainable and intelligent infrastructure systems, low carbon and low emission transportation systems, and human-centered design for environment and public health. He is an elected member in the graduate fields of 1) Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2) Air Quality in Earth and Atmospheric Science, 3) Cornell Institute of Public Affairs (CIPA), and 4) Systems Engineering at Cornell University. As the funding director, Gao spearheads trans-disciplinary systems research at the Center for Transportation, Environment, and Community Health (CTECH). Gao leads CTECH with a vision for systems innovations in research, teaching, and workforce development through diversity that support sustainable mobility of people and goods while preserving the environment and improving community health. The Cornell University Post-Processing Software (CU-PPS) for air quality and congestion management developed by Gao’s group is the nation’s first and only web- based software integrating activity-based travel demand models with EPA MOVES model. It is the official software in use for New York City to ensure that transportation plans and programs will not cause any new violations of federal air quality standards, hence protecting a population of 12.4 million in NYC metro area. In 2014-2018, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment. Before joining Cornell, Gao was a QUANT in the mathematical and econometrical modeling division at the Rohatyn Group, LLG, a Wall Street hedge fund specializing in emerging markets including the BRIC countries.