Rakas, Gonzalez, Student Team Win Professor Joseph M Sussman Best Paper Prize 2021

May 20, 2022

A three-member student team and co-mentors ITS affiliates and Civil and Environmental Engineering Continuing Lecturer Jasenka Rakas and Associate Professor Marta C. González were awarded The Professor Joseph M Sussman Best Paper Prize 2021 for the manuscript "Quantifying the Resilience of the U.S. Domestic Aviation Network During the COVID-19 Pandemic". This annual prize, introduced in 2018, is awarded to the most outstanding paper published within Frontiers in Built Environment - Transportation and Transit Systems.

The student team consisted of former students - Aleksandar Bauranov, Harvard University, MS TE UCB 2013; and Steven Parks, currently at MIT, MS TE UCB 2020 -  and current UCB Ph.D. student Xuan Jiang, CEE Systems.  

Paper team

Aleksandar Bauranov         Steven Parks                     Xuan Jiang               Jasenka Rakas                Marta González

The research team explored the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the US air transportation network.  It was found that the US aviation network’s efficiency dropped by only 5%, where efficiency was measured as the availability of paths between any two chosen airports. However, maintaining high efficiency incurred a cost, resulting in emissions per passenger to be doubled. It was also observed that an airport’s size was by far the best predictor of its closure, with smaller, regional airports being most adversely affected.


U.S. air traffic CO2 emissions produced during the pandemic. Domestic air traffic (A), and Emissions per passenger (B).