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Human-centered Cities Lab


Human-centered smart cities

We are a group of engineers at Villanova University, interested in understanding, modeling, and enhancing the quality of the interaction between humans and smart cities.


Our work spans across the interaction between humans and autonomous vehicles, intelligent transportation systems, and smart buildings.

If you are interested in collaborating with us, please do not hesitate to send us an email through

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Our lab is currently focused on various projects in human-centered smart cities including human autonomous vehicle interaction, human-infrastructure interaction and road user well-being. 

We use a variety of methods including naturalistic as well as using a state-of-the-art driving simulator equipped with multimodal human sensing devices. 


  • Our Paper "Unveiling the Impact of Cognitive Distraction on Cyclists Psycho-behavioral Responses in an Immersive Virtual Environment" is now accepted at the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems. (Feb 2024) 

  • Our paper "How are drivers’ stress levels and emotions associated with the driving context? A naturalistic study" is now accepted to the Journal of Transport and Health. This work was a great collab between myself, my Ph.D. advisor, and colleagues from California State University Long Beach. (June 2023)

  • Went back to UVA for my graduation and came back with two awards! The CEE award for Superior Research and the School of Engineering and Applied Science award for Outstanding Doctoral Student. What a fun few days it was back at Alma Mater. Charlottesville will always stay as my home in the US! (May 2023)

  • I will be an Assistant Professor at Villanova University in Transportation Engineering Fall 2023!!! Very Excited! I am recruiting students, grad and undergrad!

  • Our paper "Rethinking infrastructure design: evaluating pedestrians and VRUs’ psychophysiological and behavioral responses to different roadway designs" is now published in the Journal of Scientific Reports. What a fun collab. Read the article here. (April2023)

  • Our paper "Occupant privacy perception, awareness and preferences in office environments" is now published in the Journal of Scientific Reports. What an amazing experience. Read the article here. (March 2023)

  • Our paper "Psycho-physiological measures on a bicycle simulator in immersive virtual environments: how protected/curbside bike lanes may improve perceived safety" is now published in the Journal of Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behavior. What an exciting project this was. Read the article here. (December 2022)

  • Our paper "Driver State Modeling through Latent Variable State Space Framework in the Wild" is now accepted to the Journal of IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems (IEEE ITS). This has been a dream of mine for a long time and I cannot be more excited. Read a preprint here. (October 2022)

  • Our paper, "Human Wellbeing Responses to Real and Simulated Workplaces" is now accepted to the ACM Buildsys 2022. I will be at Buildsys this year, let me know if you are also attending. (October 2022)

  • I presented our paper, "The Impact of Surrounding Road Objects and Conditions on Drivers Abrupt Heart Rate Changes" in the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society (HFES) Annual Meeting 2022. Read a preprint here. (October 2022)

  • I have joined Stanford University as a postdoctoral research scholar in Professor Billington's Lab. Excited! (July 2022)

  • I have defended my Ph.D. titled "Driver State Modeling through Multimodal Naturalistic Driving Data" on May 19 2022. I am very thankful to many people who helped me including my advisor Professor Heydarian, committee members, and my family and friends. (May 2022)

  • Our paper, "Multimodal Driver State modeling through Unsupervised Learning" is now published in the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention! Read the paper here, or watch the video here. (March 2022)

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