Current Research Projects

Transit Assignment and Simulation (FAST-TrIPs)

We are developing a flexible transit assignment and simulation tool that can integrate with existing Dynamic Traffic Assignment (DTA) models. Our tool, called FAST-TrIPs, for "Flexible Assignment and Simulation Tool for Transit and Intermodal Passengers", implements different transit and intermodal assignment techniques, providing path choices to travelers. It also allows both transit vehicles' and passengers' movements to be simulated over large networks, at a relatively fine level of temporal and spatial resolution. FAST-TrIPs is designed to work with activity-based travel demand models, either through tour-based or sequential activity models. The FAST-TrIPs tool is being developed as part of two different projects, and will be implemented as part of a large-scale case study for the Sacramento metropolitan area, which includes bus, express bus, and light rail services.

This project is funded by the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration's Exploratory Advanced Research Program (EARP), and through the SHRP 2 C-10B project, 2009-2012.

Remote Sensing of Transportation Flows

One important aspect of traffic engineering is collecting and analyzing data on the use of highways and other transportation facilities. Current local sensors provide some data, but these data are often of poor quality and/or are only local in nature. The purpose of this project is to assess the technical capabilities of satellite and airborne sensors to measure vehicle traffic. Current work in this project falls into two areas. First, we are collecting and analyzing satellite and airborne imagery to investigate both macroscopic (speed, flow and density) and microscopic (car following, lane changing, merging, etc.) characteristics of traffic flows. Second, we are developing image processing methods to track individual vehicles from these imagery, with appropriate geo-referencing and object tracking algorithms.

This project is funded by the US Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), 2010-2012.

Evacuation Modeling

One critical element in emergency planning is determining the means of evacuating people during the emergency. With a wide variety of possible emergency scenarios (flooding, bomb threats, chemical spills, etc.), what is needed is a more flexible platform (or set of tools) that can assist in determining appropriate evacuation strategies. This gets beyond a very small set of emergency “scenarios”, and instead provides a platform to assess a wide variety of (1) potential emergency scenarios, and (2) integrated strategies to coordinate transportation services in an evacuation. The project will create a platform for developing and evaluating evacuation strategies. The primary capabilities of this platform will be:

  • The user may specify a location, lead time, duration, and other parameters for an emergency;
  • Traffic flows are simulated over small increments of time, and can include different assumptions about the behavior of evacuees;
  • Alternate travel modes are simulated explicitly (transit, school bus, bicycling and walking); and,
  • A full range of response strategies can be included (signal control, contraflow operations, etc.).

This project is funded through the Arizona Department of Transportation and the ATLAS Center at the University of Arizona. Period: 2011-2013.


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