Friday Seminar - Marta C. Gonzalez on Characterizing Urban Road Usage Patterns

Traffic I Missed

This week's Friday Seminar is MIT's Marta C. Gonzalez presenting "Charactericing Urban Road Usage Patterns with a New Metric." The seminar will take place from 4-5 PM in 506 Davis Hall on 23 September. 

Mobility data from half million anonymous mobile phone users are used for this presentation to study the road usage patterns in the Bay Area. Using this mobility data based on our modeling framework each trip’s route is predicted. Surprisingly, it is found that on average 60% of the vehicles passing through a road segment come from 1% of its drivers’ home locations, hinting to high predictability of the vehicle sources. To quantify the heterogeneous traffic contributions of the vehicle sources we use the Gini coefficient and find that a road segment’s Gini coefficient is poorly correlated with its betweenness, traffic volume, and volume over capacity, suggesting that Gini coefficient is a new metric on top of the traditional measures, quantifying road usage patterns in the perspective of drivers’ demographic distribution. Finally, based on the road usage patterns, we find an efficient strategy to mitigate traffic congestion through a tiny decrease of car usage rates in a few targeted neighborhoods.

Don't forget about Cookie Hour in the library at 3:30! See you then.

Special Wednesday Seminar! Lin Zhang discusses Crowd-sourced Mobile Urban Sensing


This afternoon, Spetember 21,  there will be a special Wednesday Seminar. From 2-3 PM in 406 Davis Hall, Lin Zhang of Tsinghua University will present "Crowd-sourced Mobile Urban Sensing".

Wide area urban sensing is a topic of interest both within industry and academia, as well as a technique urgently needed by both city governments and urban residents.  In today’s rapidly urbanizing world, the urban sensing system provides up-to-date, complete and detailed observations of the climate, environment, traffic, and population of a city, all information which can aid government officials in the decision-making process.  The urban sensing system is also a frontier of Internet development, enabling cyber space to sense the ambient environments in which it is embedded.  However, there are two major challenges to urban sensing: communication capacity and sensing capability. 

This presentation will introduce a taxi-cab based mobile sensor system that was designed for wide-area urban sensing purposes.  The presented system addresses both of the aforementioned challenges as well as  considerations of economic and technical feasibility.  The system crowd-sources the sensing tasks to a group of taxi cabs roaming the city, and uses the store-carry-and-forward mechanism to collect and send sensory data to the data center for processing.  Compared to a static, dedicated sensor network, the system enjoys extremely low deployment costs with fairly strong coverage and performance.  The presentation will also describe the details of the system design, including the wireless channel measurement, an energy efficient neighbor discovery method, a utility-based routing protocol for data delivery, and a compressive sensing field recovery algorithm that exploits the sparsity of the physical field in order to reduce the volume of the required sensing data.  The presentation closes with a a discussion of future deployment plans and research directions for the system.


Celebrating Parkin(ing) Day 2011!


World's Park(ing) day in Sofia

Today is Park(ing) Day 2011! Started in 2005, this international event repurposes parking spaces to turn them into mini parks. Oakland is celebrating with 13 parklets, as well as San Jose, Walnut Creek, and Santa Rosa. Check out the map to find the parklet nearest you! The parklet featured above is from Sofia, Bulgaria. You can also follow along via the Park(ing) Day Flickr Pool and #parkingday on Twitter

Friday Seminar - David Brownstone on Fuel Economy Standards

green driving

Tomorrow's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is with David Brownstone of UC Irvine's Department of Economics. He'll present, "Consumer Response to Stricter Fuel Economy Standards."

The impacts of recent changes in Federal light-vehicle fuel economy standards depend crucially on consumers’ response to new vehicles with higher fuel economy and higher prices. Previous studies have primarily relied on stated preference experiments since there was little independent variation in vehicle price, fuel economy, and performance.  The recent introduction of hybrid-electric vehicles has provided some independent variation in these key vehicle attributes, so we use data from the 2009 NHTS data to estimate willingness to pay for light vehicle fuel economy.  We also estimate the “rebound effect” of purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles.  Finally we will comment on the impact of measurement errors and partial observability on previous studies.

The seminar will take place Friday, September 16, 2011 from 4-5 PM in 406 Davis Hall. Don't forget about Cookie Hour preceding it in the library at 3:30 PM. See you there!


NYC announce their bikeshare program

 A bike share station (photo by Kate Hinds)

Today it was announced who New York City picked for their bikeshare program. The winner is.... Alta Bicycleshare! The same group who run the Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC, New Balance Hubway in Boston, Barclay's Cycle Hire in London, and Bixi in Montreal. The announcement included the launch of a new website for people to suggestion possible station locations. 

Transportation Nation was there to report on the launch, including some great pictures

CA on the line for bulk of high-speed rail costs?

CA High-Speed Rail Design Concept: Transbay Terminal, San Francisco

The Los Angeles times published an article yesterday about the murky future of federal funding for high-speed rail in the state.


"If the federal government and private investors are not going to provide funds, and California is broke, why would it take on an enormous new commitment?" asked Martin Wachs, a Rand Corp. transportation expert and former director of UC Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies.

In coming months, Gov. Jerry Brown will decide whether to issue the bonds to launch the project — at a time when the nation and state are attempting to control mounting public debt that has already damaged both their credit ratings.

The bullet train hinges on a huge investment of federal dollars when Washington is intent on cutting the nation's budget. Republicans who control the House of Representatives have already declared new rail construction their "lowest priority."

This week it was also announced that the model and data used for ridership and revenue forecasts were sound. We'll have to wait and see how this progresses. 

Friday Seminar - Joan Ogden on Alternative Fuels

Hydrogen Fuel Apparatus

Tomorrow's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is with Joan Odgen of the UC Davis STEPS program presenting, "Transitions to Alternative Fuels: Comparing H2, Electricity, and Biofuels":

We analyze and compare alternative scenarios for adoption of new light duty vehicle and fuel technologies that could enable deep cuts in gasoline consumption and GHG emissions by 2050. We also estimate the transitional costs for making new vehicle and fuel technologies economically competitive with gasoline vehicles. We estimate future GHG emissions and gasoline use for the following scenarios:

·  Efficiency—Currently feasible improvements in gasoline internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) technology are introduced.

·      Biofuels—Large-scale use of low-carbon biofuels is implemented.

·      PHEV success—Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) play a major role beyond 2025.

·      HFCV success—Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) play a major role beyond 2025.

·      Portfolio—More-efficient ICEVs+biofuels+PHEVs+HFCVs implemented in various combinations.

All scenarios assume the same total number of vehicles and vehicle miles traveled, but the vehicle mix over time is different for each scenario. We compare each scenario to a reference scenario where modest improvements in efficiency take place and use of biofuels increases but no electric-drive vehicles are implemented. We also explore transition dynamics using a “learning curve” model, and estimate the cumulative investments that would be required to bring new technologies to “breakeven” with gasoline ICEV technologies.  Finally, we suggest future work to better understand transition costs.

The seminary will be this Friday, Septermber 9 2011, from 4-5 p.m. in 406 Davis Hall. Don't forget about Cookie hour before hand at 3:30 in the library. See you there!

DOD Finds Alternative Fuels Save Lives

Fueled and ready to go back to Anaconda.

With almost half of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan involving fuel convoys, the Department of Defense has found that employing alternative fuels can save lives and avoid injuries. As Sierra magazine reported, soldiers on the ground have found that portable solar generators and battery packs not only reduced the number of dangerous convoys needed, but they also provided quieter, cooler energy and reduced the loads carried in the field. A RAND report earlier this year, however, questioned the benefits to the military of adopting alternative fuels. Next month the Army will open an Energy Initiatives Office Task Force to promote partnerships with the private sector to develop large-scale renewable energy projects on Army land.

MTA shuts down for Hurricane Irene - can you use transit for evacuation?

7th Avenue Station

As the East Coast braces for Hurricane Irene, New York MTA announced a system shutdown on noon Saturday. This after Mayor Bloomberg ordered mandatory evacuations. Given that 41% of New Yorkers rely on tranist as their primary mode, this makes evacuation interesting. There has been research on using transit for emergency evacuations. Such as this case study from Alabama, Transit Evacuation Planning: Two Case Studies by Turner et al., and Transit-Based Emergency Evacuation Simulation Modeling by Naghawi and Wolshon. 

Our thoughts are with you all on the East Coast this weekend. Good luck and stay safe. 



Friday Seminar - Jay Primus from SF Park


SFPark on Terry Francois Blvd.

The TRANSOC Friday Seminars kick off this week with Jay Primus of SFPark presenting, "Putting Parking Management Theory into Practice." 

"SFMTA established SFpark to use new technologies and policies to improve parking in San Francisco . . . To help achieve the right level of parking availability, SFpark periodically adjusts meter and garage pricing up and down to match demand. Demand-responsive pricing encourages drivers to park in underused areas and garages, reducing demand in overused areas.  Through SFpark, real-time data and demand-responsive pricing work together to readjust parking patterns in the City so that parking is easier to find."

The seminar will be this Friday, August 26, from 4-5 PM in 406 Davis Hall. Don't miss Cookie Hour before hand in the library. We're baking something special.

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