About us

The PATREC office is lead by the Director, Prof Sharon Biermann.

Further resourcing is sought through the collaborating partners, and, as such, affiliates are appointed on a program/project base.

The Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC, Centre) was established in 2002 through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the participation of Western Australia’s four public universities and with involvement of the Government of Western Australia. The partner government agencies were not party to the MOU but participated through representation on the Advisory Board.

PATREC was hosted by Curtin University until 2011 and a series of annual reports covering activities and outcomes were produced until 2010.

In 2012 PATREC was re-established at the University of Western Australia (UWA). A new five-year Collaborative Research Agreement, constituted "for the purposes of conducting collaborative research and teaching in the areas of transport policy and planning and urban and regional planning" was signed in April 2012 by the collaborating partners (UWA, Curtin University (Curtin), Edith Cowan University (ECU)), Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC), the Department of Transport (DoT), Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA)).

A new Director for the Centre was appointed in October 2012.

Prof Sharon Biermann

Director of PATREC

Prof Sharon Biermann leads the Integrated land use-transport planning and policy program.

With a PhD (Geography) from the University of South Africa which delivered an infrastructure potential cost model for integrated land use and infrastructure planning, Sharon Biermann’s key areas of expertise include: scientific research leadership and management of integrated planning and infrastructure programs, development of Planning Support Systems – computer-based spatial information and knowledge support for integrated urban and regional planning, integrated land use and infrastructure planning and modelling, urban form and sustainable cities and regions and urban water management.

Research Fellow Yuchao (Chao) Sun

Research Fellow Chao Sun

Chao Sun is a Research Fellow on the Land use-transport modelling, economics and information program.

Chao completed his PhD in computational planning, for which he developed a bio-inspired computer algorithm that can design street layouts. Chao has experience in both academia and industry, in which he participated in a range of research and consulting activities including some large scale infrastructure and mining projects. His main research interests include future transport (impact of Autonomous Vehicles and telecommuting etc.), transport and traffic modelling and simulation, data analytics for transport, optimisation (genetic algorithms), and discrete event simulation for logistics and supply chain management.

Associate Prof Doina Olaru leads the Land use-transport modelling, economics and information program.

Doina Olaru is currently lecturing in Management and Organisations at the UWA Business School. She was educated in Romania, at the University “Politehnica” of Bucharest and has both academia and industry experience. Doina worked as railway engineer for the Romanian State Railways and as a Post Doctoral Research Scientist with CSIRO.

Her teaching in Romania and Australia covered transport planning and operation, optimisation and simulation, data analysis, decision-making, computer modelling applications in different areas of business. Doina has published academic papers in international journals and presented at leading international conferences on topics such as transport planning methods, travel and activity analysis, business networks, environmental and social impacts of transport, and exposure to traffic-related air pollutants.

Dr Brett Smith is a Research Associate on the Land use-transport modelling, economics and information program.

Brett Smith has more than five years of experience of teaching project management into the MBA program at the University of Western Australia Business School. In that time he has developed strong links with the Project Management Institute and with industry representatives to bring a blend of theory and practice into the classroom.

‘Brett is a fantastic lecturer. He makes the lecture interesting and relevant to real business situations, he’s funny, relaxed and respects us. A great lecturing style.’; ‘Extremely passionate about the course; facilitates student motivation and enthusiasm’ (2011 MBA student testaments)..