March 2017

ITS Library Closed For Spring Break


A Royal Canal Commute flickr photo by bbusschots shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Spring has sprung and it is time to celebrate! The ITS Library will be closed March 27th-April 3rd. We will resume normal hours on Tuesday, April 4th. Have a great week!

I-580 Variable Toll Lanes One Year On


I580 Monday night lights flickr photo by Images by John 'K' shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

It's been a year since the variable toll express lanes on I-580 through the Tri-Valley region were rolled out, and initial results are in. As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle

Since the combination express and carpool lanes opened in February 2016 on I-580, along the main route between the Bay Area and the Central Valley, more than 7.6 million drivers have taken advantage of them, according to a report released Thursday by the Alameda County Transportation Commission, which operates the lanes.

You can read the report here

As toll roads are used more often as a tool in transportation demand management, there is more data available for comprehensive evaluations of road pricing systems. As transportation funding evolves with a greater reliance on public-private partnerships that will often rely on tolls for cost recovery, it is important to understand how they will affect travel demand.  In the case of 580, they look to be a hit.

Electric vehicles are a drain on the UK electricity grid


ev charging point, Merchant City 02 flickr photo by byronv2 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Today, British Transport Minister John Hayes issued a statement that electric vehicles in the UK are taxing the electicty grid but trails of demand responsive smart grid technology should help ease the demand for power. He remarked, "We know the demand for electric vehicles places the national grid under pressure. It’s critically important – we are working on this. It’s particularly important that we charge smart, so we flex demand and take advantage of spare capacity."

In order to estimate demand, you need models for electric vehicle charging behavior which take into account facotrs like range anxeity and trip patterns. Using game theory, it might be possible to predict how different factors might affect behavior. Human behavior is only one side of the equation, energy storage and transmission technology is the other. Work in this area focuses on optimization with smart grids through cooperation. Others are developing genetic algorithms to manage the load.