Michael Cassidy Appointed to Robert Horonjeff Chair

Featured Faculty: Michael Cassidy

Chancellor Dirks has approved the appointment of Professor Michael Cassidy as the Robert Horonjeff Professor in Civil Engineering, effective July 1, 2014-June 30, 2019.

This is a well-deserved honor and recognition of Cassidy's outstanding record in teaching, research and service.

Cassidy teaches in the department's Transportation Engineering program. He is internationally known for his fundamental contributions to traffic flow theory, and is the preeminent experimentalist in the field.

Some of his discoveries are by now classics. They include: (1) proving with field experiments the existence of the so-called “capacity drop” phenomenon at freeway bottlenecks; (2) demonstrating that disruptive lane changes cause and sustain the drop; (3) showing that observed phase transitions in traffic flow can be explained with standard models; (4) demonstrating the scatter in traffic data disappears and a clear fundamental diagram emerges if one controls for stationarity. Discoveries 1, 2 and 4 have forced theoreticians to reformulate models of multi-lane traffic so they can explicitly account for the disruptions of lane changes.

Cassidy has also developed traffic control methods that exploit these discoveries, such as coordinated ramp metering strategies and lane speed controls. He has shown the significant impact they have on congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Cassidy serves as the director of UC-CONNECT, a new multi-campus research center. Earlier in 2014, he received the Cunard Award for best paper in Transportation Research Board's Operations Section.


Robert Horonjeff was a leader in the development of the field of air transportation engineering. As a professor in CEE's Transportation Engineering program from 1955-1976, he taught countless professionals who have taken leading roles in aviation.

As a researcher for over 27 years, he contributed significantly to the field and was particularly effective in molding many of today's airport design and engineering methods. Horonjeff's work on runway lighting led to adoption of a national standard for runway center-line lights in the US. His book on airport engineering is the universal text for courses in other universities as well as the manual for airport engineering practice.

Published 12/09/2014