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Nathan Gartner

Nathan Gartner, Sc.D Professor Emeritus


Traffic and Transportation Engineering, Methods of Systems Analysis

Research Interest

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Traffic Control Strategies, Optimization and Simulation Methods, Project Evaluation methods

Educational Background

B.Sc. Engineering (Technion, Israel) 

M.Sc. Engineering (Technion, Israel)

Sc.D. Transportation Engineering & Operations Research (Technion, Israel)


Nathan Gartner, Sc.D. has had a distinguished career in traffic and transportation engineering spanning (almost) five decades. He has been a faculty member at UMass Lowell since 1973 where he is now Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering. He was previously on the faculties of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Gartner was also Visiting Professor at Universitá di Napoli (Italy), Universities of Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo (Japan), Institut National de Recherche sur les Transports et leur Securité (INRETS, France), German Air and Space Center (DLR, Germany), and Tongji University (China).

Gartner has done extensive research on transportation systems and on traffic flow models, with special concentration on traffic control systems and strategies, and transportation network analysis. He is widely published and internationally recognized with over 100 publications. He is best known for developing OPAC (Optimization Policies for Adaptive Control), the first real-time, traffic-adaptive signal control strategy to be deployed in the U.S. The strategy was implemented in the RT-TRACS program in the U.S. and in numerous ITS projects worldwide. He also co-developed the MAXBAND model and originated the MULTIBAND suite of optimization models for arterial and network traffic control.

Gartner is co-editor with N.H.M. Wilson of Transportation and Traffic Theory (Elsevier Science, 1987), with G. Improta of Urban Traffic Networks (Springer Verlag, 1995), and (with C. Messer and A.K. Rathi) of Traffic Flow Theory: A State-of-the-Art Report (FHWA, 2001). He served as Associate Editor of Transportation Science and of Transportation Research A & B. Gartner is the former Chairman of the Transportation Science Section of ORSA (now INFORMS) as well as the Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics Committee of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), a division of the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He was also founding Board member of the Intelligent Transportation Society of Massachusetts (ITSMA).

Gartner received numerous honors and awards, including:

  • First Dissertation Prize, ORSA Transportation Science Section, 1972
  • USDOT/IPA (Intergovernmental Personnel Act) Fellowship, 1976-78
  • IATSS (International Association of Traffic Safety Sciences) Fellowship, Japan, 1986
  • Lady Davis Fellowship (Technion, Israel), 2010
  • Election as Emeritus Member, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., 2010
  • Robert Herman Lifetime Achievement Award, INFORMS Transportation Science and Logistics Society, 2011
  • IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society Outstanding Research Award, 2014

Gartner is Life Member of ITE – Institute of Transportation Engineers and Member of INFORMS – Institute for Operations Research and Management Science, Chi Epsilon, and Sigma Xi.