Kendra K. Levine's blog

Examining Electric Vehicle Parking

Electric Vehicle Parking

Electric vehicle (EV) public parking has been rolling out in Berkeley but got a boost recently with station installed at both Whole Foods. The city is slated to get more municipal charging stations soon, including a pilot to look at curbside charging stations

There are mixed opinions about EV public parking options, with concerns about location and demand. Researchers are looking at activity models to overcome public perception and be more effective in urban areas. A new article from Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice continues the discourse. "Electric vehicle parking in European and American context: Economic, energy and environmental analysis," by Marta V. Faria, Patrícia C. Baptista, and Tiago L. Farias, applies a methodology for the placement of EV parking to Lisbon, Madrid, Minneapolis and Manhattan. They conclude:

This research confirms that the success of deploying an EV charging stations infrastructure will be highly dependent on the price the user will have to pay, on the cost of the infrastructure deployed and on the adhesion of the EV users to this kind of infrastructure. These variables are not independent and, consequently, the coordination of public policies and private interest must be promoted in order to reach an optimal solution that does not result in prohibitive costs for the users.

The full article can be read here.  


Friday Seminar: Reliability-Based Optimization for Maintenance Management in Bridge Networks

Brooklyn Bridge at Night, NYC

This week's Friday Semiar is all about bridge networks. UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate Xiaofei Hu presenter her research with the talk, "Reliability-Based Optimization for Maintenance Management."

Incorporating network configurations in bridge management problems is computationally difficult. Because of the interdependencies among bridges in a network, they have to be analyzed together. Simulation-based numerical optimization techniques adopted in past research are limited to networks of moderate sizes. In this research, a simple framework is developed to determine optimal maintenance plans for large networks with many bridges. The objective is to minimize disruption, specifically, the extra travel distance caused by potential bridge failures over a planning horizon and under a budget constraint. It is conjectured and then verified that the expected increase in vehicle-miles travelled due to failures can be approximated by the sum of expected increases due to individual failures. This allows the network-level problem to be decomposed into single-bridge problems and tackled efficiently. The computational effort increases linearly with the number of bridges.

The seminar takes place this Friday, April 18th, 2014 from 4-5 PM in 534 Davis. Cookie Hour will be in the library at 3:30.
in Bridge Networks

Special Friday Transportation Seminar: Welcome to the Age of Access: Exploring the Sharing Economy and Shared-Use Mobility

Car sharing

This Friday, April 11 is a Special Friday Transportation Seminar. Sponsored by our new University Transportation Center, UC CONNECT, Federal Region 9 And in conjunction with the Transportation Engineering Program Open House. "Welcome to the Age of Access: Exploring the Sharing Economy and Shared-Use Mobility" will be a panel discussion moderated by Professor Susan Shaheen, Co-Director TSRC. Panelists include: Neal Gorenflo, Co-Founder Shareable; Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation, SFMTA; Shomik Raj Mehndiratta, Lead Transport Specialist, the World Bank, Rick Hutchinson, CEO, City CarShare; Michael Jones, Principal & Founder, Alta Bicycle Share.

A panel of leaders of the sharing economy and shared-use mobility will introduce the burgeoning economy, discuss various forms of shared-use mobility (such as carsharing, public bikesharing, and web-enabled apps) and explore policy issues associated with scaling and with the integration of shared-use mobility services into the transportation landscape (such as privacy, open data, insurance, safety, equity). The discussion will explore the opportunities to be had in developing a robust public-private partnership, the obstacles that must be faced during this process, and the role research can take in informing the creation of policy.

This event, in honor of the launch of our new University Transportation Center, UC CONNECT, will be held in conjunction with Transportation Engineering’s open house welcoming potential graduate students to the program and to the UC Berkeley campus. Faculty, students, new students, and alumni are welcome to join us for this event. A reception will follow.

The special seminar take place this Friday, April 11th, 2014; 3:30 - 5:00 pm in the Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall. (Note: different time and different location!) There is also a reception to follow. Cookie Hour will still happen, but at 3:00 pm in the library. 

New Article: Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram and Public Transport

Changing Course in Urban Transport

A brand new article in Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies examines a macroscopic fundamental diagram (MFD) and how it is applied to bi-modal urban networks. "A three-dimensional macroscopic fundamental diagram for mixed bi-modal urban networks," by (ITS alum) Nikolas Geroliminis, Nan Zheng,and Konstantinos Ampountolas investigates existence of a three-dimensional vehicle-flow MFD for bi-modal network.

Recent research has studied the existence and the properties of a macroscopic fundamental diagram (MFD) for large urban networks. The MFD should not be universally expected as high scatter or hysteresis might appear for some type of networks, like heterogeneous networks or freeways. In this paper, we investigate if aggregated relationships can describe the performance of urban bi-modal networks with buses and cars sharing the same road infrastructure and identify how this performance is influenced by the interactions between modes and the effect of bus stops. Based on simulation data, we develop a three-dimensional vehicle MFD (3D-vMFD) relating the accumulation of cars and buses, and the total circulating vehicle flow in the network. This relation experiences low scatter and can be approximated by an exponential-family function. We also propose a parsimonious model to estimate a three-dimensional passenger MFD (3D-pMFD), which provides a different perspective of the flow characteristics in bi-modal networks, by considering that buses carry more passengers. We also show that a constant Bus–Car Unit (BCU) equivalent value cannot describe the influence of buses in the system as congestion develops. We then integrate a partitioning algorithm to cluster the network into a small number of regions with similar mode composition and level of congestion. Our results show that partitioning unveils important traffic properties of flow heterogeneity in the studied network. Interactions between buses and cars are different in the partitioned regions due to higher density of buses. Building on these results, various traffic management strategies in bi-modal multi-region urban networks can then be integrated, such as redistribution of urban space among different modes, perimeter signal control with preferential treatment of buses and bus priority.

The full paper can be found here.

Friday Seminar: Transit Oriented Development

Ho Chi Minh City at Dusk

After a brieg hiatus, the Friday Seminars are back! This week's Friday Seminar features Dr. Hien Nguyen, a visiting scholar at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, speaking on Transit Oriented Development.

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) has been seen as a strategy to accommodate increasing urban populations with reduced impacts on transportation networks and the environment in many cities. It was understood that approaches to build successful TOD differ significantly from place to place, depending upon circumstances such as differences in land development regulations, zoning ordinances, market forces, development opportunities, available transit services, regional economy, etc. Therefore, to build TOD in Ho Chi Minh City where motorcycles are prevalent in traffic flow should apply different approaches. This ongoing research tries to analyze and assess some policies dealing with motorcycles to integrate this highly maneuverable mean of transportation with MRT as well as to find out effective measures to promote pedestrians to/from MRT stations under the existing characteristics of urban form in Ho Chi Minh City.

The seminar is on Friday April 4th, from 4-5 PM in 534 Davis. Cookie Hour will be at 3:30 in the library. 

Assessing Airport Carbon Emissions

Descending through the LA smog

Much of the research about carbon emissions and transportation is focused on highways. A new article from the Journal of Air Transport Management proposes a model to examine carbon emissions and airports. Maria Nadia Postorino and Luca Mantecchini authors of "A transport carbon footprint methodology to assess airport carbon emissions," write:

Airports are important nodes in the air transport system, but also local sources of environmental impacts. Emissions of CO2 are among the most relevant ones because of their potential greenhouse effects. Many policies and guidelines have been identified at national and world level to reduce such kind of impacts. In this paper, a Transport Carbon Footprint methodology has been set to identify Unit Carbon Footprints (UCFs) linked to some identified emission macro-sources – i.e., land vehicles, on-ground aircraft, airport handling and terminal equipment – to compute the contribution of the single macro-source to the total amount of CO2. Particularly, UCFs due to transport activities have been defined according to some relevant transport variables. The computation of UCF values for a given airport allows computing both the contribution of each macro-source and also evaluating the effectiveness of transport-related actions aiming at reducing the carbon impact. The methodology has been applied to the airport of Bologna, in Northern Italy, and its UCF values for the identified macro-sources have been computed.

The full article can be found here


On Ramp for d3.js - March 20th!


Do you want to use d3.js to make data visualizations to effectively communicate your research but don't know where to start? This Thursay, March 20th, in the Lower Level of the Blum Center join VUDLab from 6-9 PM for On Ramp for d3.js.

Our "On Ramp for d3.js" is designed to get people across disciplines the needed tools and know-how to create simple and easy-to-manipulate data visualizations. By the end of the night, we plan to have our participants complete two web-based visualizations and get the baseline tools needed to begin learning d3.js on a more serious level. Think of our event as your first crash course in creating interactive tools to show off your work! We will be providing food and soft drinks for everyone (don't worry... we got you).

Details of the event can be found here

New from FHWA: Human Factors Assessment of Pedestrian Roadway Crossing Behavior

2012 09 19 - 171 - DC - Connecticut Ave Candids

Earlier this year FHWA issued a new research report as part of their ongoing research on pedestrian and bicycle safety. In Human Factors Assessment of Pedestrian Roadway Crossing Behavior, researchers collected data and used it to create a predictive model of pedestrian behavior. 

More than half of pedestrian fatalities occur at unmarked locations away from intersections. However, little research has been conducted to understand why pedestrians cross roadways at unmarked locations. As a result, this study sought to better understand the environmental influences on both where and when pedestrians elect to cross the road. This report examines more than 70,000 pedestrian crossings at 20 different locations. The circumstances of those crossings (pedestrians yielding to vehicles, vehicles yielding to pedestrians, and evasive actions) were documented and analyzed. A model using environmental factors as inputs is provided to predict where (marked crosswalk intersection or outside the marked crosswalk) pedestrians will cross the road.

The full report can be found here

Travel Demand Forecasting: Beyond the models and into reality?

Chicago road network

Recently the State Smart Transportation Inivitiative (SSTI) asked if travel demand forecasts from U.S. DOT were accurate

Their answer is no

In the post, "U.S. DOT highway travel demand estimates continue to overshoot reality", Eric Sundquist examines the projections in FHWA's 2013 Conditions & Performance report. He finds that the estimates for VMT growth were 5-6% higher than reality. Concluding:

Had the report based estimates on more current historic data—e.g., VMT trends for 2003-13, which grew at one-fifth the USDOT’s 1995-2010 estimate—the cost estimates would have dropped by tens of billions more, reducing pressure on budgets while freeing up funds to bring the existing system to a state of good repair.

The accuracy of travel demand models and forecast predictions is not a new issue and more people are questioning the methodoloy. This year's TRB Annual Meeting featured a workshop on the issue The Next 50 Years in Travel Analysis: What We Don’t Know but Need to Know. The moderator, David T. Hartgen, mentioned a recent paper he wrote, "Hubris or humility? Accuracy issues for the next 50 years of travel demand modeling," in Transportation. Hartgen, examining 50 years of forecasting, describes problems with accuracy and ways to imrpove models. Definitely a paper worth reading. 

Friday Seminar: Planning, Design and Technical Aspects of Rail Transit Lines and Networks

Railing on Water

This Friday's Seminar is not to be missed. University of Pennsylvania Professor Vukan Vuchic, who wrote the book on urban transit, will present, "Planning, Design and Technical Aspects of Rail Transit Lines and Networks."

Growth of cities and increasing car ownership in recent decades have created a great need to build rail transit systems – LRT, Metros and Regional Rail. With their high-performance and high level of service, these modes compete well with private cars and serve large ridership. Their permanence influences urban form and land use development with high livability. The characteristics and roles of these three major modes of rail transit will be described. The alignments of their lines and networks will be reviewed. Positive and negative characteristics of different types of lines, such as radial, diametrical, circle, trunk/branch and others will be defined. This will lead to a comparison of two basic types on networks, those with integrated and with independent lines, illustrated by examples from many world cities. Current trends and likely developments in the roles and usage of different high-performance rail transit modes, such as “in-fill stations,” articulated metro cars, double-decker Regional Rail cars, Unattended Train Operation– UTO, will be reviewed. References will be made to BART development, innovations and experiences, as well as other rail systems in the Bay Area, such as MUNI and Caltrain.

The seminar takes place Friday March 7, 2014 from 4-5 PM in 534 Davis. TRANSOC Cookie Hour will be at 3:30 in the library. 

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