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Project Type
UTRC Research Initiative
Project Dates
01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013
Principal Investigators
Project Status

Traffic congestion on American roadways, especially in major metropolitan areas, has been exacerbated by increasing use of vehicles with single drivers. The long-term goal of this research initiative is to reshape our infrastructure systems for improved sustainability and efficiency. To this end, the Open-Mode Integrated Transportation System (OMITS) integrates multiple transit modes, such as carpool, vanpool, bus, and train, to provide optimal transit service and real-time traffic information and prediction with wireless communication and database management. This project is proposed to integrate the social network into the existing OMITS system and investigate the major risks in service pricing and privacy concerns. This one year project will focus on the application in Columbia University community. Upon the success of this project, we will collaborate with NDJ Sustainable Engineering LLC and New York City (NYC) Transit to extend the novel transit service to the public in the future.

The OMITS system uses emerging information and communication technologies, including smart phones, Internet services, GPS/GIS, and database, to optimize transportation system for improved riders’ experience and traffic mitigation. Using the proposed social network based OMITS App, the vehicles serve as probes for the real-time speed of the roadway network. The operation of this system essentially relies on effective information communication, accurate prediction of traffic conditions, and comprehensive understanding of transit customer behavior and traffic flow dynamics. The OMITS App, running on an iPhone or Android smart phone, communicates among the OMITS server, riders, and drivers, detecting roadway traffic conditions and providing driving directions. Using traffic prediction model based on the historic and real-time traffic data, the system can provide the optimal routing direction and recommend ridesharing group.

The OMITS system forms a sustainable information infrastructure for communication within and between the mobile/Internet network, the roadway network, and the users’ social network. It manipulates the speed gap between different types of the network: information communication through cellular phones and the Internet is tremendously higher than that of vehicles on roadway, which is much faster than that of the social networking. Using agent based modeling and simulation (ABMS), the time and spatial limits of traditional transportation system can be overcome by appropriately integrating new information communication technologies into transportation services. The success of this project will provide reliable, safe, efficient, and economic transit service to the public and produce broader impacts on gasoline use, greenhouse gas emissions, city parking, and traffic congestion in the New York Metropolitan area. It can be extended to other areas of the U.S. and other transportation services.