TRB Annual Meeting 2017

TRB Annual Meeting 2017

Early morning Logan Circle, Washington DC, January 2016.

Early morning Logan Circle, Washington DC, January 2016.

Here’s a list of papers and presentations at the 2017 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington where I am an author or co-author. Hope to see you there!

Monday 9 January

  • What’s a Bus? Defining Buses and Trains in the Age of Automation; Marc Sinner, ETH Zurich, Ulrich Weidmann, and Andrew Nash; Session 403, 1:30 pm, Convention Center 144-A.
  • Modeling Real-Time Communications-Based Train Control Operation in Mixed Traffic Networks: Simulation-Based Approach; Valerio De Martinis, ETH Zurich, Ambra Toletti, Ulrich Weidmann, and Andrew Nash; Session 471: Advances in Railroad Operating Technologies; 3:45 – 5:30 pm, Convention Center, Hall E (poster).
  • Using Banedanmark’s Traffic Management System to Develop Concept Timetable 2030; Andrew Nash, Emch+Berger AG Bern, Samuel Roos, Emch+Berger AG Bern, and Bernd Schittenhelm, Banedanmark / Rail Net Denmark; Session 471: Advances in Railroad Operating Technologies; 3:45 – 5:30 pm, Convention Center, Hall E (poster).

Tuesday 10 January

  • How Crowdsourcing Can Help Public Transport Innovate Successfully in an Era of Rapid Change; Andrew Nash; Session 665: New Mobility Services, 1:30 – 3:15 pm, Convention Center, Hall E (poster).
  • A Proposed Method for Measuring Customer Orientation of Companies in the Freight Transport Sector; Albert Mancera, ETH Zürich, Thorsten Klaas, Ulrich Weidmann, Andrew Nash; Session 754: Current Research in Freight Planning and Logistics; 3:45 – 5:30 pm, Convention Center, Hall E (Poster).

Wednesday 11 January

  • Types of Apps and Development Lessons; Andrew Nash; Session 826: To App or not to App: Are Mobile Applications right for Your Agency?, 10:15 am – 12:00 pm; Convention Center, 145-A.
Banedanmark TMS Presentation at TRB

Banedanmark TMS Presentation at TRB

14

I’m giving a presentation on the Banedanmark (railway) Traffic Management System (TMS) project at the US Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting on Tuesday January 12, 2016.

Banedanmark, Denmark’s national railway infrastructure owner, is completely replacing the country’s railway signalling system with a European Rail Traffic Control System (ETCS). The digital data from the ETCS, combined with improved technologies for managing staff and resources, provides the foundation for developing an advanced TMS that can significantly improve railway efficiency and attractiveness.

Banedanmark’s TMS takes a fresh approach to railway operations by creating Production Plans consisting of precisely defined tasks to be carried-out in operating the railway. Production plans are developed based on a very clear definition of customer needs called Service Intentions. Banedanmark’s approach integrates planning and operations by using the same algorithms and data. It improves the precision of planning and provides updated Production Plans quickly enough to significantly reduce the impact of delays and disturbances.

I’ll explain more about these concepts at the presentation. In the meantime you can download a PDF of the presentation: Banedanmark TMS: ETCS as the foundation for attractive and efficient railway service.

Connected Commuting

Connected Commuting

Waze Application Homepage

Waze – “Outsmarting Traffic Together” – application homepage.

A new report “Connected Commuting” was just released on the use of social networking in transport. The report describes how commuters use two social network apps to share information: Waze (for automobile drivers) and Roadify (for public transport users).

The study used two techniques: sentiment analysis of words used in the social network comments and focus group discussions. The primary sentiment analysis method used was a software program that recognizes the emotional connotation behind specific words and phrases.

Connected Commuting (2012) Report Cover

Connected Commuting (2012) Report Cover

The study’s main conclusion is that social networking can be very useful for improving transport. It recommends that transport agencies use Sentiment Analysis to help provide better information to users. The report also recognizes that “technology is integral to the future of commuting” and states, “There is a real opportunity to please commuters and enhance the commuting experience through future app technology.”

I’d say that these conclusions also apply to transport in general (not just commuting) and the full report is well worth reading. On the other hand, the report seems to go too far with its generalizations about the differences between how auto drivers and public transport passengers use social networking. Clearly these groups use social networking differently, but I think there’s not enough data to support strong conclusions on differences since this field is changing extremely rapidly and the study was based on a limited amount of data. (The Roadify data used in the Sentiment Analysis was for a relatively short amount of time and the focus groups were very small.) This isn’t meant as a criticism of the study, only to say that it’s clearly the beginning of a fascinating field of research. Congratulations to the Task Force for starting the process and developing a structured approach for the analysis.

One idea for further research to consider additional social networks and uses of information. Maybe public transport users don’t use social networks as much as drivers because public transport users are well served by existing real time schedule applications. So it would be interesting to consider how social networking apps can be used to achieve other transport goals such as reporting system problems (e.g. seeclickfix) or long range planning input (e.g., GreenCityStreets.com). There were also several fascinating studies on the use of Twitter and Facebook presented at the 2012 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (Transit Wire report on Chicago CTA project) and 2011 IIID Transport Conference in Vienna (my summary notes).

Read more discussion of the Connected Commuter report at the Transit Wire and Atlantic Cities.

The Connected Commuter study was conducted by the “New Cities Foundation Task Force in San Jose” a team consisting of the New Cities Foundation, Ericsson, the City of San Jose’s Department of Transportation, and the University of California’s Mobile Millennium team from the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

ITS World Congress 2012 Vienna

ITS World Congress 2012 Vienna

I’m making three presentations at the 2012 ITS World Congress being held this week in Vienna. Here are the details:

  • GreenCityStreets.com – Using ITS to improve transport planning – paper I am presenting at Technical Session 39: Policy and Strategy (2), Wednesday 24 October, 11:00 am, Schubert 2 room;
  • Social networking and ITS: Roadmap to a revolution? – session I am moderating with a short presentation, Special Interest Session 36, Wednesday 24 October, 16:00 pm, Schubert 1 room; Can social networking improve transport?
  • Connected Public Transport: Making the emotional connection – presentation at Special Interest Session 75: Integrated dynamic transit operations: Can public transport realize the potential of connected vehicles, travelers and infrastructure? – Friday 26 October, 9:00 am, Lehar 1 room. Presentation: Connected Bus

The presentations are available from the links above or from my publications page.

ITS Challenge – Final Results

ITS Challenge – Final Results

Stockholm Central Railway Station - 5

I recently participated in the ITS Challenge, a contest to identify intelligent transport system (ITS) ideas for helping reduce congestion. My proposal, Bus Meister, was not selected as one of the nine finalists. I blogged previously on my assessment of the nine ITS Challenge finalists.

Yesterday the results were announced in Stockholm (hence the photo above) and the solutions I liked best did not win. The best I did was a 3rd place for iCone, a very nice application for helping provide ITS in construction areas and for special events (it got 7% of the votes).

My favourite application in the contest was skymeter, a proven system for efficient roadway user charging. It only received 5% of the vote. As we move to electric vehicles and more fuel efficient vehicles road user charging systems will be needed to replace the gas tax, and more relevant to the contest’s goal of reducing congestion: using road pricing creatively can make a huge impact on congestion.

The winning application was iCarpool.com with 54% of the votes. iCarpool is doing very nice work, but their system did not seem to be anything special. I thought the other carpool application in the contest, Avego (5% of votes), was a bit more innovative and better (check out the Avego YouTube video description).

The second place application, with 18% of the votes, was fuelclinic.com, an application that helps users use less fuel and drive more responsibly. Again, not bad, but not really earth shaking.

The VenCorps Blog summarises the results and refers to a full press release with more details.

I guess I have to wonder about the process. First it was a little unclear how the top nine applications were chosen. As I mentioned in my earlier posting, most of them did not seem particularly innovative. Second, it seems odd that the winner would get so large a percentage of the votes, especially a relatively plain vanilla (for people working in the transport planning field) application (IMHO). As I said, nice application, but …

Perhaps the contest sponsors were over represented in the voting? While anyone could vote, you needed to sign-up on the VenCorps website, a somewhat involved process. In many ways I think that the main sponsors (IBM, ITS America) are relatively conservative organisations and the results probably reflect this bias. Who knows?

Post Archive