Carnegie Mellon University

PhD - Sustainable Energy and Transportation Systems (SETS)

The Sustainable Energy and Transportation Systems (SETS) PhD program embarks on a transformative educational journey, shaping the next generation of engineers into adept researchers. Through pioneering research, we empower doctoral students to develop innovative solutions for the unique challenges encompassing energy and transportation infrastructure and systems. 

Our research is anchored in two pivotal domains:

Smart Mobility and Transportation

Immerse yourself at the forefront of modern transportation, engaging in a comprehensive exploration of smart mobility, autonomous and electric vehicle policies, network analysis (including public transit), shared mobility, and climate-resilient policy-making.

Advanced Energy Systems

Navigate the complexities of energy systems, tackling projects ranging from energy poverty alleviation to transitioning towards sustainable energy sources, optimizing building energy management, and integrating autonomous and sustainable building technologies.

Researchers within our program employ cross-cutting methodologies—encompassing analysis, data analytics, simulation and modeling, spatial analysis, control systems, as well as probability and estimation methods. These methodologies serve as the foundation to effectively analyze, model, and innovate within intricate energy and transportation systems.

As you conclude your doctoral research, you will emerge as a forward-thinking engineer adept at tackling intricate challenges, empowered to champion sustainability and resilience across the dynamic realm of energy and transportation. This empowerment extends to both the private and public sectors, where your expertise will leave a lasting impact.

PhD Research

Optimizing Urban Mobility: Graff Assesses Full Cost of Multimodal Travel

graff-1.pngPhD candidate Lindsay Graff's research delves into quantifying the comprehensive costs of multimodal travel, exploring beyond traditional fare expenses to include time, monetary, reliability, safety, and comfort considerations. Her innovative network modeling framework provides insights into spatio-temporal mobility disparities and offers valuable guidance for policymakers and planners in optimizing transportation systems and investments.

Examining Inequities: How Rising Temperatures Exacerbate Vulnerability in Elderly and Low-Income Groups

jones.pngAndrew Jones, a PhD student, uncovered how climate change hits harder on elderly and low-income families, leading to higher cooling costs as temperatures rise. His study emphasizes the importance of fair solutions to help these groups manage the increasing financial strain caused by climate shifts.

Dive Into Research

nock.pngProfessor Destenie Nock's research delves into the identification of concealed forms of energy poverty that often go unnoticed. By bringing attention to these hidden disparities in energy access, her work seeks to develop more effective strategies for addressing the needs of marginalized communities and ensuring equitable access to energy resources.

Campus to Career

Driving Change: Engineering Transportation Solutions

Matthew Battifarano (MS '19, MS '22, PhD '22), a software engineer at Aurora, employs mathematical models and machine learning to solve transportation issues. His CEE education equipped him with holistic engineering understanding and math skills, aiding his work in integrating self-driving trucks into logistics systems at Aurora. He emphasizes the value of networking for students entering the industry.


 “My education at CEE helped me to reframe everything into system-level thinking. Even in the depths of writing a paper and thinking about technical things, it’s easy to lose sight of ‘what does this mean with the entire system—how does it interact?’” 

SETS Faculty