Skip to main content

Daniel Work

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor of Computer Science
Director of Graduate Studies in Civil Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Computer Science

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

transportation cyber physical systems, transportation data analytics, traffic estimation & control, connected & autonomous vehicles, mathematical models of traffic, inverse modeling, mobile sensing


Dan Work is a Chancellor Faculty Fellow and professor in civil and environmental engineering, computer science, and the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University. He has held research appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2010-17), Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (2015, 2020), Microsoft Research Redmond (2009), and Nokia Research Center Palo Alto (2007-09).

Dr. Work pioneered methods for monitoring and controlling road traffic using vehicles, rather than fixed infrastructure, to sense and control road congestion. In 2015 he and his collaborators were the first to experimentally demonstrate that "phantom" traffic jams, which seemingly occur without an obvious cause but are due to human driving behavior, can be eliminated via control of a small fraction of automated vehicles in the flow. Work is a recognized transportation expert whose work has appeared in media outlets including ABC's Good Morning America, Reuters, Wired, and MIT Technology Review.

Dr. Work received a 2018 Gilbreth Lectureship from the National Academy of Engineering and a 2014 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. He earned a BS from Ohio State in 2006, and an MS (2007) and Ph.D. (2010) from UC Berkeley, all in civil and environmental engineering.

Awards and Honors:

  • Chancellor Faculty Fellow, Vanderbilt University, 2021
  • NAE Annual Meeting, speaker, National Academy of Engineering, 2020
  • 2020 Best Paper, Transportation Research Park C: Emerging Technologies, 2020
  • Global Grand Challenges Summit, invited participant, National Academy of Engineering, 2019
  • Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences, keynote speaker, 100th Anniversary Celebration, 2019
  • NAE China-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, co-organizer, National Academy of Engineering, 2019
  • TTI Vanguard, speaker, Less is More, 2018
  • Expert Voices, contributor, Axios, 2018
  • 2018 Pioneers, Connected World, 2018
  • NAE Gilbreth Lecturer, National Academy of Engineering, 2018
  • NAE China US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium Speaker, National Academy of Engineering, 2017
  • NAE EU US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium Participant, National Academy of Engineering, 2016
  • CEE Excellence Faculty Fellow, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 2016
  • ASCE Outstanding Instructor Award, American Society of Civil Engineers UIUC Student Chapter, 2015
  • Faculty Fellow, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 2014
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2014
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (top 10%, ten time winner), Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 2011-2016
  • Featured Project, Scientific American, “Citizen Science Featured Project” Awarded for the TrafficTurk Project, 2012
  • Best Dissertation Award, IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society, 2011
  • Eno Fellow, Eno Transportation Foundation, 2010
  • Rodney E. Slater Award, Eno Transportation Foundation, 2010
  • Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, US Department of Transportation, 2008 – 2010