Dr Roorda’s Profile

Models of Transportation Patterns for more Sustainable, Reliable, and Effective Systems Written by Dina Elhanan

Professor Matt Roorda Canada Research Chair in Freight Transportation and Logistics and Professor, Civil & Mineral EngineeringProfessor Roorda teaches and works on research in freight transportation and logistics with his graduate students while sometimes collaborating with other universities and the industry.

Professor Roorda started out completing his undergraduate civil engineering and society degree at McMaster before doing a Masters and eventually completing his PhD at UofT. When I asked about Professor Roorda’s experience at McMaster, he recounted the reason why he chose Civil engineering and society being that the program allowed him to take a look into the ways that people interact with infrastructure along with having electives in geography and urban planning which he was particularly interested in.

During Professor Roorda’s graduate studies, he focused on developing simulation models of how people make decisions on activities and travel and how those decisions affect transportation and traffic. This can be seen in the paper “A Protoype Model of Household Activity/Travel Scheduling” which was written along with Eric J. Miller who supervised Professor Roorda’s graduate work. This paper describes TASHA, a prototype activity scheduling microsimulation software model that creates activity schedules and travel patterns for all typical family members in a household in a typical 24-hour workday. This simulation model is currently being used by the City of Toronto for long range forecasting planning purposes.

I also asked Professor Roorda about the effect that quarantining the past year has had on traffic due to the uptake in uses of delivery services. Professor Roorda has been working with McMaster’s very own Professor Elkafi on assessing the impacts of e-commerce and home deliveries on emissions and safety in residential neighbourhoods, especially for services like Amazon that offer same day delivery. Professor Roorda told me that this type of delivery specifically causes sustainability issues since it will most likely be a almost empty truck of deliveries sending your package instead of waiting longer for different deliveries to be sent in the same truck.

Another notable area of Professor Roordas work is in congestion. His work focuses on reducing the impacts of illegal parking on traffic in downtown areas since most parking is either unavailable or for a cost. Some solutions he is exploring include reserved stop areas for couriers and the possibility of shifting daytime deliveries to nighttime where traffic is less congested. Another part of this area of his research explores using electric cargo tricycles instead of trucks which may reduce emissions and traffic.

Fun notes:

Throughout the interview I had my own questions that I also asked Professor Roorda out of curiosity. You can find them here 🙂

  • “What was your favorite course during your undergrad at McMaster?”
    • First year chemistry in the Burke Science building’s main auditorium with his professor who he recounted would always have fun experiments with explosions and color changes to describe topics they were learning about
  • “What were your extracurriculars during your undergrad?”
    • Intramural Basketball, lots of squash, got married in 3rd year and did a research project on the importance of the internet on research [what a throwback!]

The researchers’ profiles were created by Dina Elhanan, an undergraduate student in Engineering Physics at McMaster University. Dina’s outreach work was supported by funding from an NSERC Alliance grant and the CLUE initiative.