TRB Annual Meeting 2018

TRB Annual Meeting 2018

I’m co-author for three papers at this year’s Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC (8-13 January 2018). Here’s a list and some links:

Feedforward Tactical Optimization for Energy-Efficient Operation of Freight Trains: Swiss Case
Valerio De Martinis, ETHZ – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Ambra Toletti, ETHZ – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Francesco Corman, ETH Zurich
Ulrich Weidmann, IVT ETH Zürich
Andrew Nash, Emch+Berger AG Bern

Application of a Cost-Allocation Model to Swiss Bus and Train lines
Marc Sinner, ETH Zurich
Ulrich Weidmann, IVT ETH Zürich
Andrew Nash, Emch+Berger AG Bern

Wireless Electric Propulsion Light Rail Transit Systems in Spain

Francisco Calvo, University of Granada, Spain
Andrew Nash, Emch+Berger AG Bern

Google Transit and Vienna

Google Transit and Vienna

Yesterday’s Gov Camp Vienna 2015 was another in their great series of un-conferences held on civic applications and open data to improve government in Vienna (Austria). Vienna has done a great job opening data sets (German) and encouraging the development of apps and other open government projects.

However, one big problem in Vienna is that the city’s public transport agency (WienerLinien) does not yet provide data in the GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification). Consequently, when you search for transit directions in Vienna using Google Maps, you’ll be directed to some crazy trips.

**UPDATE** The Wiener Linien now provides data in GTFS and so the problems reported below no longer exist. Good news for public transport users in Vienna!

Why? Because the Austrian Railway DOES put their data in GTFS! So Google Transit sends you on convoluted train trips through the city when you just need to go two Metro stops. You get sent walking to a railway station, boarding an infrequent train, and walking back from a railway station to your destination.

For some reason – unlike most major public transport operators! – the Wiener Linien has not seen fit to provide their data in GTFS format. Of course they do have their own nice public transport application called qando (rated 3 stars on iTunes and 4 stars on Android). But how many of our millions of tourists know about it? And, why download it for a short visit to Vienna?

And … not providing open data in the accepted standard formats hurts Vienna’s application development community by forcing them to develop unique code for Vienna.

In short, no one wins with the Wiener Linien’s short sighted data policy.

New York City Transit Museum

NYC Subway Museum Historic Ads - Sept 2011 - 8

I always try to find time to visit the NY City Transit museum when I visit New York. One of the things I love are the historic advertisements that are in the old subway cars parked in the museum. This is a particularly fun one I think. The accompanying text says “Bet you do better in a hat!” and states that “84 out of 100 women prefer men who wear hats.”

While at the museum I bought the book Helvetica and the New York Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story by Paul Shaw. I finished reading it before Christmas and it’s really interesting – you’ll never look at a NYC Subway sign the same way again! (Here’s a link to a similar article he wrote on the internet – Paul Shaw, The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the NY City Subway).

NYC Subway Museum Cars Sept 2011 - 7

And, one final photo of a mosaic from the Cortlandt Street IRT Subway Station (also in the Transit Museum collection). All my photos of the NYC Transit Museum on Flickr.

Vienna Tram Day 2011

Tram Day Vienna 2011 - Vienna Tram Museum

Tram Day Vienna 2011 – Vienna Tram Museum

Vienna’s annual Tram Day celebration was held at the Tram Museum this past September. It’s always a great party with lots to see and do. This year was great because the Tram Museum was open for free! Lots of historic vehicles and exhibits on some of the new things Vienna’s public transport company (Wiener Linien) is doing to improve service.

Historic advertisement providing advice to customers, Vienna Tram Museum (2011).

Historic advertisement providing advice to customers, Vienna Tram Museum (2011).

I especially liked the historic advertisement about why the conductor cannot open the door once it has been closed (right) – it even rhymes!

There was information on everything from the Wiener Linien’s social networking strategy to rebuilding track. With entertainment for the whole family – on at least two different stages! – and lots to eat and drink it was a great day.

More Vienna Tram Day photos on Flickr (from everyone, including me).

Bus Meister Game (beta) – Now online!

BusMeister game screenshot.

BusMeister game screenshot.

I have just finished the beta version of a game designed to help citizens understand public transport priority. The game is linked to a wiki that provides detailed information about measures to improve public transport. Once we are happy with the game we will place it on Facebook and add social networking features so that players can discuss how to improve public transport in their own community.

I am looking for people to try out the game and wiki and to give me comments (also join the wiki as contributors!). The game is available now at:

The wiki is available at:

Instructions for Playing BusMeister are available on

Right now the game works, but we need to refine the values used to run the simulation and calculate the happiness and cost values. We will adjust these in the coming weeks and also add levels (so players advance to more difficult challenges) and other standard game features. We also will add more information to the pages. But, for now, the game works and we would love your feedback.

Finally, I hope to extend the approach to other modes of transport (biking, walking, street design) in the future.

Thanks for your help,

Post Archive