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For his independent research topic, Michael Silas conducted research into the effectiveness of policies to shift freight deliveries to the off-peak hours of the day. The objective of his research was to gain a better understanding of how to increase the participation in off-peak deliveries through the use of behavioral simulation and economic incentives. Secondary goals were to understand how different characteristics and market segments of receivers and carriers influence the participation of off-peak deliveries, and to understand how receivers and carriers interact when agreeing on the scheduling of deliveries in congested urban areas.

He developed a micro-simulation optimization framework to look at how sensitive delivery behavior is to economic incentives, using stated preference data from receivers and carriers in the New York City area. His advisors were Dr. José Holguín Veras of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Nathan Erlbaum of NYSDOT.


Michael Silas earned his Ph.D. in the summer of 2009 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Michael’s dissertation was titled “An Investigation on Off-Hour Delivery Policy Design using Optimal Incentives and a Behavioral Micro-Simulation Approach.” He has extensive research experience in operations research, applied mathematics, statistics, economics, and freight transportation – all centered on policy analysis. Michael also worked on time-ofday tolls and off-hour delivery research projects funded by the New Jersey DOT, the Port Authority, NYSDOT, and the United States DOT. Michael co-authored the UTRC’s Region 2’s Best Transportation Paper in 2007. Michael was awarded UTRC Student of the Year in January 2010. Currently, he works in Washington, DC, as a research analyst, adjunct professor, and transportation consultant. He supports the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Department of Transportation with risk analyses related to critical infrastructure.

Michael Silas
Civil Engineering