News & Features

Venktesh Pandey Wins CUTC’s M.S. Thesis Award


Feb. 1, 2017

Transportation engineering graduate student Venktesh Pandey recently received the Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award from the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) for his thesis on dynamic pricing models.

The Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award is a national award given annually for the best Ph.D. dissertation and M.S. thesis in the field of science and technology in transportation studies. Winners in the M.S. thesis category receive a $1500 honorarium.

Pandey’s award winning thesis “Optimal Dynamic Pricing for Managed Lanes with Multiple Entrances and Exits” explores better pricing strategies for high-occupancy/toll (HOT) lanes, which are increasingly being considered as a means to relieve congestion by providing a reliable travel time alternative to travelers.  


In his thesis, Pandey made important steps to making dynamic pricing models for HOT lanes more realistic, which will help their effectiveness as an alternative to congested highways.

Now a Ph.D. candidate supervised by Assistant Professor Stephen Boyles, Pandey is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Transportation Research. 

“His thesis is aimed at better pricing strategies for dynamic toll lanes, like the ones recently opened on Austin’s Mopac Expressway,” Boyles said. “Finding the right pricing strategy is difficult, and past research has had to make some severe assumptions like the facility only having one entrance and exit point, or having perfect knowledge of driver behavior.”

Pandey’s research has made important steps to making these models more realistic, which can help dynamic toll lanes be as effective as possible.