Award-winning Egyptian engineer and mother of two, Samah Al-Tantawy, tells the story of her vocation and her vital support network in improving stoplights.
“As a child I was in love with math. I still remember how my first grade teacher Jamila always encouraged me, and my parents too. My father was an accountant, and he would call and ask me for help because he knew I loved math.
I got married while doing my masters, and learned about intelligent transportation systems from my husband, Dr. Hossam Abdelgawad, who did his PhD in ITS. I was excited that it’s an interdisciplinary field in which all engineers can contribute to solving real-life transportation problems.
In my Ph.D. work [at the University of Toronto] I utilized game theory concepts to enable traffic lights to make their own decisions without negatively affecting one another to achieve the best performance for the whole network. One big advantage of this system is that it’s decentralized, as opposed to centralized systems which need a massive communication network.
My supervisor, Professor Abdulhai, was very supportive from day one until we got the promising results from the traffic simulator showing a 40% cut in average waiting time per intersection. I hope we can raise awareness about ITS, as it gives affordable solutions for our daily traffic problems, and I dearly wish to benefit my country and the Arab world with the science I’ve learned.”
And benefit the country she has! We are very proud of Dr. Samah and her research and implementation of intelligence.
For more info – U of Toronto news