The short answer is: "Quite a bit". Benjamin Gabber gave a detailed explanation on 26 October 2023 as part of his Science Slam at StuFoExpo in the Dülfersaal at TU Dresden.

Benjamin Gabber, 9th semester diploma student in traffic engineering at the Faculty of Traffic Sciences "Friedrich List", presented the contents of his seminar paper on the topic: "Use of variable time gap conditions at traffic signal controlled intersections" in 8 minutes in an informative and entertaining way. With success. His performance won him this year's audience award. The faculty congratulates him on this great success!

Why are the traffic lights (perceived) always red? Benjamin Gabber addresses questions like this in his seminar paper. With his fascination for traffic light systems and the associated control and optimisation of the circuits, the student found an open ear with Dipl.-Ing. Django Adam. Adam is a research assistant at the Chair of Traffic Process Automation and supervised Benjamin Gabber's work. On his motivation for the student research topic, he says: "Today's applied heuristics are based on a system that is over 50 years old and has never really been further developed since then. This makes coordination in traffic more difficult." The goal, he says, is to design efficient traffic light control for all road users.

Traffic light control based on experience - how can it be optimised?

With his research, Benjamin Gabber shows that "nowadays, traffic light circuits are mostly based on experience, which, as we know, does not necessarily lead to the best result. How can we optimise this and are there perhaps possible correlations? This is where future research needs to start."

To prepare for the Science Slam, Benjamin Gabber and the other 4 student "slammers" completed a workshop at the State Theatre, where, for example, body language and intonation were trained. But the most important thing before the performance was to "practise, practise, practise - and incorporate the feedback from test persons into the presentation". The challenge in the science slam is "the good interplay of scientific content coupled with a humorous and entertaining presentation". Asked before the performance about his level of excitement, he said: "It's O.K.."

Performance was good practice for science communication

As it turned out during the slam, the other slammers had also paid good attention in the workshop and practised diligently. "The science slams were amazing. I was fourth, but even the first slammer entertained the audience so well that they laughed in tears. And so it went on. Whether it was satellite construction, particle physics or forestry, everyone deserved the prize," said Benjamin Gabber, paying tribute to his fellow contestants. His topic also struck a chord with the audience: "After the lecture, a discussion quickly developed that was not lacking in interesting questions from the audience."

Benjamin Gabber will not only take home the audience award from his participation in StuFoExpo 2023. "It was a great opportunity to gain recognition for my studies, to network and to practice scientific communication in front of an audience from outside my field. I can only recommend the participation."

Choosing to study traffic engineering: A lucky throw turned into a stroke of luck

When you talk to Benjamin Gabber, you quickly realise that someone is really passionate about his studies and his focus on "traffic planning and traffic engineering". The choice of his degree programme was almost a matter of luck. Originally from the Altenberg area in Saxony, Gabber wanted to become a professional luge junior. When that didn't work out, he turned to studying at TU Dresden. But which study programme to choose? Whether law, process engineering, architecture or traffic engineering - Benjamin Gabber was interested in many things. "Then I rolled the dice," he admits with a smile, but immediately emphasises: "I haven't regretted the decision to this day and would study traffic engineering again at any time."

The end of his studies is in sight. He would like to graduate after 10 semesters. And then? "From a doctorate to consulting or as a planning engineer, I can imagine many things. Or even into administration with a career as a civil servant," says the future traffic engineer. So here, too, there are many interests and options. And maybe the dice will have to decide again.

StuFoExpo - Clear the Stage for Student Research

At the "Student Research Exposition" (StuFoExpo for short), the best student research work from all faculties at TU Dresden is presented to the public in an entertaining and informal setting. This can either be in the form of a classic live pitch format with poster, or in the context of a science slam. The best contributions in each category are selected by a jury and the audience and awarded prize money.


Tim Diehl / Red. Verkehrslage


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Benjamin Gabber
Diploma student 9th semester
Traffic Engineering, TU Dresden
"Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences
More about studying Transport and Traffic at TU Dresden

Supervisor of the main seminar paper:
Dipl.-Ing. Django Adam
Research assistant
Chair of Traffic Process Automation
"Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences