Liu & Purba earn ARTBA awards; Liu receives the Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship!

Doctoral candidates of the Kontou Research Group, Shanshan Liu and Denissa Purba, were recognized by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) with Future Industry Leader Spotlight Awards! Congratulations to these emerging scholars and future transport industry leaders!

Shanshan with ARTBA’s award!
Denissa @ ARTBA’s award ceremony in Sep 2023!
Shanshan Liu selected for a 2023 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship!

Shanshan Liu also received the 2023 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency! Shanshan’s research will examine the potential of electric school buses to supply backup power to resilience hubs (community shelters) during power outage events in the U.S. Electric school buses have the potential to function as power sources and through Vehicle-to-Building technology, can supply backup power directly to buildings during power outages. Shanshan will evaluate the resilience benefits of electric school buses by simulating the energy use profiles (e.g., heating, cooling, air conditioning) and other loads (e.g., lighting, refrigeration) for the resilience hubs in nine climate regions in the U.S. Please find the announcement by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations and the World Resources Institute in the following links, respectively: and here.

Kontou part of NREL team awarded an ARPA-E grant on intermodal freight optimization!

The Kontou Research Group is collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), UT Austin, the Southwest Research Institute, Quetica, American Bureau of Shipping, and Parallel Systems on a 2.2-million project funded by ARPA-E on Intermodal Freight Optimization for a Resilient Mobility Energy System (INFORMES)! Our team will develop a national-level intermodal freight modeling framework for infrastructure planning and logistics operations that would provide insights to decision-makers redesigning the national freight infrastructure and intermodal logistics system to meet net-zero targets by 2050. We will also develop and integrate models to identify and quantify the most cost-effective low-carbon infrastructure deployment strategies and robust optimal operations for intermodal logistics over the national freight transportation network. Press release by ARPA-E can be found here:

Kontou supported by Sloan Foundation for workshop on equitable clean transport solutions!

Extremely excited to receive support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for the organization of a multi-sectoral workshop, envisioning equitable transitions to sustainable transportation and creating an open forum for networking and discussions between researchers, disadvantaged communities, and industry!

We are collaborating with iSEE and University of Illinois at Chicago faculty to organize this event. The event’s objective is to bring together researchers, educators, and community and industry leaders; share perspectives on planning and implementing equitable transitions to sustainable transportation; empower them to build meaningful connections for future community-engaged research collaborations; and prompt them to identify solutions to gaps in research, workforce development and education, access and availability of funding, incorporating equity and inclusion measures, and policies to accelerate the transition. We aim to host this event at the end of the semester in Spring 2024.

Kontou research group students publish 2 papers on multi-unit dwelling charging demand and management!

📣 Multi-unit dwelling (MUD) electric vehicle charger access is a major step toward ubiquitous home charging 🏙 🚘 🔌 ⚡ ! In our new Transportation Research Part D paper, led by my PhD student Ruolin Zhang, we propose effective MUD community charging sessions management, determine the hub’s performance, and perform a technoeconomic assessment to estimate the levelized cost of charging. We showcase performance and cost trade-offs for MUD charging hubs in Chicago, IL, New York City, NY, and Los Angeles, CA, and assess the impact of alternative business models. We were very fortunate to collaborate with Yan (Joann) Zhou and Noah Horesh from Argonne National Lab for this Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office funded work! Find our open access paper here.

We are also excited to present the 2nd paper from our Department of Energy funded project on multi-unit dwelling electric vehicle charging! In this work, published in the Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability journal, we synthesize data from the National Household Travel Survey and the American Housing Survey and employ a cost-minimizing charging scheme to estimate electric vehicle charging demand 🔌 🔋 🚙 ⚡ in multi-unit dwellings across US Census Divisions! Please check out our research outcomes here!

Kontou presents in NAE’s 2023 Regional Meeting!

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) 2023 Regional Meeting and Symposium focusing on the Mobility Electrification Revolution took place on April 4-5th at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign! Dr. Kontou discussed the grand engineering challenge of transport decarbonization! NAE’s overview of the transport electrification insights can be found here: The first symposium day is available here (Kontou’s presentation at 3:39:42): 

Kontou leads an ONR project!

Thank you Office of Naval Research for funding our Adaptive Transportation Management of Naval Logistics for Distributed Energy Supply (ATM-LOG) project. More information on our scope can be found here:

Conceptual schematic of the electrified logistics system for naval energy supply.

Kontou talks to NPR for Northern Colorado and Marketplace!

Dr. Kontou discussed the importance of rural charging infrastructure deployment at NPR for Northern Colorado and the Marketplace! EV fast charging stations are needed in rural roads for intercity long-distance travel and we could see adoption spillovers.

Dr. Kontou and MSc graduate Wu receive CUTC awards!

Dr. Kontou and Yen-Chu Wu at the 2023 CUTC Awards Banquet.

Dr. Kontou received the CUTC – Cambridge Systematics New Faculty Award by the US Department of Transportation Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC). This award is given annually to a tenure-track faculty member in transportation education, recognizing outstanding teaching and research contributions to the transportation field. Yen-Chu Wu, who received her MSc under the advisement of Prof. Kontou and is currently a PhD student at MIT, was also recognized for her MSc thesis “Designing Electric Vehicle Incentives to Meet Emission Reduction Targets.” Yen-Chu received the Charley V. Wootan Memorial Award for the best Master’s thesis in the field of policy and planning in transportation studies!