Antonio Trani has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s Transportation and Development Institute to receive the 2023 Frank M. Masters Transportation Engineering Award. Trani was selected for this award for his outstanding contributions in planning transportation facilities through innovative and noteworthy 30 years of leadership in developing the widely published Runway Exit Design Interactive Model (REDIM). This model has become the universal standard used in airports worldwide.

Trani describes the REDIM as a model to locate high-speed runway exits at airports using mathematical programming methods. It has been used by airport planners and designers worldwide since its development in 1994. High speed runway exits allow aircraft to vacate a runway faster, which adds efficiency and runway capacity by reducing runway occupancy time.

The original model was developed before 1994 by collecting 3,125 landings using video equipment at five airports. That original model was sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The REDIM was revamped about four years ago, under the direction Nick Hinze, Senior Research Associate at the Air Transportation Laboratory, to reprogram and enhance the models to give it a new look and many added capabilities.

“Directing the ongoing development of practical models used by airport designers and practitioners has been one of the highlights of my career,” said Trani.

The model has come a long way since the first version in 1994. Trani explained that the new model includes pilot motivation factors and allows users to define custom runway exits. It is calibrated using 30 million landings, which is a significant increase from the 3,125 landings in the first model. It also covers 320 different types of aircrafts. The collection of these landings is done through the Airport Surface Detection Equipment, a type of radar used to watch aircraft traffic and the airport in bad weather conditions. 

Photo of Newark Airport model
Newark International Airport Runway Exit Data. Model provided by Antonio Trani.

Trani has been teaching at Virginia Tech for 34 years, after graduating with his M.S and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. He is a Professor and has served as Co-Director of the Federal Aviation Administration National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research (NEXTOR2) since 2002.

“I love aviation, airports, modeling, and simulation,” Trani said. “I find teaching to be a rewarding experience and combined with research in airport engineering, it provides a wonderful way to foster my interests, while also making a difference in the efficiency of air transportation.”

According to the ASCE website, the Frank M. Master Transportation Engineering Award was established in 1975 and is a memorial to the outstanding professional accomplishments of Frank M. Masters. Trani will receive a medal and cash prize during the international conference on Transportation and Development in Austin, Texas in June.