Carnegie Mellon University

Sean Qian

Sean Qian

Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Heinz College

5000 Forbes Avenue
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Zhen (Sean) Qian joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in July 2015. He directs the Mobility Data Analytics Center (MAC) at CMU. Qian was most recently an assistant research professor jointly appointed at the Heinz College and Institute for Complex Engineered Systems. He was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University from 2011 to 2013 and received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Davis.


  • Ph.D. 2011 - University of California Davis
  • MS 2012 - Stanford University
  • MS 2006 - Tsinghua University
  • BS 2004 - Tsinghua University


Sean's primary research interest is in the planning and operations of transportation infrastructure networks aiming at optimal system performance and efficient energy use.

Research Groups: EESSAIS


Qian's current research lies in the integration and optimization of civil infrastructure systems. The primary focus of his research is to manage aging and overcrowded transportation infrastructure systems and to build sustainable and resilient infrastructure networks. He is particularly interested in large-scale dynamic network modeling for multi-modal transportation systems, in the development of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and in urban system interdependency modeling.


  • Qian, S., and Rajagopal, R. (2014). "Optimal Dynamic Parking Pricing for Morning Commute Considering Expected Cruising Time" Transportation Research Part C, Vol.48, pp.468-490.
  • Qian, S., and Rajagopal, R. (2014). "Optimal occupancy-driven parking pricing under demand uncertainties and traveler heterogeneity: a stochastic control approach" Transportation Research Part B, Vol.67, pp.144-165.
  • Qian, Z. S., and Zhang, M. (2012). "On centroid connectors in static traffic assignment: their effects on flow patterns and how to optimize their selections" Transportation Research Part B, Vol.46(10), pp. 1489-1503.
  • Qian, Z. S., Xiao, F., and Zhang, M. (2012). "Managing morning commute with parking" Transportation Research Part B, Vol.46(7), pp. 894-916.
  • Qian, Z. S., Shen, W., and Zhang, M. (2012). "Solving path-based system-optimal dynamic traffic assignment considering queue spillback" Transportation Research Part B, Vol.46(7), pp. 874-893.
  • Qian, Z. S., Xiao, F., and Zhang, M. (2011). "The economics of parking provision for the morning commute" Transportation Research Part A, Vol.45(9), pp. 861-879

More Publications 

We all hate when roads close—no one’s happy when the inevitable traffic jams jar our routines. But what if we could predict how road closings will affect traffic? Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Sean Qian discusses using real-time data to predict future traffic volumes and reduce congestion and emissions.