As Victoria’s population rises, so does the risk of transport repercussions: overcrowded trains, traffic jams and an even busier peak hour. Sensing the need to adapt quickly, Victoria’s Department of Transport (DoT) partnered with APR.Intern to access PhD-level expertise in data analysis and engaged three PhD interns to improve the future of daily commutes.
One of the PhD students matched with DoT’s research challenge by APR.Intern was Tri Ky Nguyen, a Civil Engineering PhD student at Monash University. Specialising in demand modelling and computer programming, Tri brought a fresh perspective to DoT’s forecasting team, improving the flexibility and power of their modelling throughout a six-month placement.
“Having Tri onboard with us has been invaluable. He and his academic mentor brought specialist hands-on knowledge that far surpassed anything we had in our department,”
Rick Williams, Department of Transport Manager of Demand Forecasting and Tri’s Industry Supervisor
Tri’s Academic Mentor, transport modelling expert Professor Hai Vu, guided Tri in applying academic expertise to this industry challenge. The pair filled knowledge gaps in a new transport model and developed a prototype algorithm supporting core mechanic changes.
While DoT was able to fast-track its new transport model, Tri benefited from the industry experience – proving short-term industry-university research collaborations are mutually beneficial.
“I got to transfer my theoretical knowledge to a real-world situation, something that is extremely meaningful in terms of bridging the gap between the academic field and industry,”
Tri Ky Nguyen, former PhD Intern at Department of Transport
Tri Ky Nguyen’s research is helping predict changes in commuter behavior caused by growing demand, diverse travel preferences and roadworks or disruptions. The upshot is the ability for the Department of Transport to plan infrastructure accommodating change, making the daily commute for Victorians more convenient.
This internship was supported by the Australian Government Department of Education, through the ‘Supporting more women in STEM careers: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) – National Research Internship Program’.