Towards the next generation of traffic simulators: a strategic agents-based approach

SMART EduBlog- Johan Barthelemy – Traffic Micro-simulation- Image 1By Associate Research Fellow Johan Barthelemy

Transportation plays a key role in societies. The transportation system of a country is closely related to development of its economy by meeting the travel demands of people, and allowing the transport and the exchange of resources. Nevertheless, transportation is also endowed with negatives effects: growth of transportation demand can lead to an increase of accidents, environmental issues such as air and noise pollution, and energy consumption. Understanding and predicting the dynamics of transportation systems has then naturally become a major research field since the beginning of computer assisted transport simulations in 1955. Continue reading

Synchronisation of Key Travel Modes within a Transportation Hub

MichelleBy Dr Michelle Dunbar

In many modern cities, transport infrastructure has typically developed according to a radial pattern, in response to urban-sprawl. However, as the population continues to grow and spread outwards from the CBD, existing transport infrastructure may be insufficient to cope with the increased travel demand. This may in turn lead to inaccessibility to public transport for commuters in these areas, resulting in increased car usage; exacerbating traffic congestion. Continue reading

Agent-based modelling on the cloud for infrastructure planning

Rails Converging

A Sydney with smarter transport systems is becoming more possible through the work of our Research Director Pascal Perez and IT Architect Matthew Berryman. They have built a decision support tool to help transport and land planners better understand the feedback between changes in land use and changes to Sydney’s transportation networks.

A key component of the model is a synthetic population. “We have their age, income, any preferred travel modes because we’re interested in transport, where they live where they work, We can put in where they like to shop”, says Matthew.

But there’s no need to get nervous about individual privacy: “We do work with the individual records from transport, actual people’s information, but we then turn into what is called ‘synthetic population’. We’re not actually dealing with real people, it’s dealing with a representation of people that, in a way, matches the properties of the population. We don’t actually have Joe Bloggs in there, age 31, but we have a certain number of people in the 30-35 age bracket with a certain amount of income, living in certain areas.”

The tool is not about providing a predictive model, but a model to explore the tipping points of the system, and to gain insights into human behaviour under different scenarios. These scenarios may range from different forecast populations to different transportation options, like a metro rail system, more frequent buses or more light rail.

To explore the different scenarios, and provide an understanding of the variability of these tipping points, the simulation must be run multiple times. Because of this, and the integration of different software components (including the model software, database, statistical processing software), the model is packaged up and deployed to a private cloud that SMART, in conjunction with UOW Information Technology Services, funded and built to provide IT infrastructure to this and other projects (for example, Map Jakarta). 

Australia’s Infrastructure Cost Conundrum

Garry Bowditch writes for The Conversation:

Infrastructure is about the long-term growth and prosperity of a nation, but Australia will get very little of this benefit if the cost of building it continues to rapidly escalate.

Australia is becoming increasingly uncompetitive in design and delivery of major projects. This is an unacceptable situation, and a newly commissioned multi-state inquiry by the SMART Infrastructure Facility will identify the key causes and make recommendations to help secure better value for taxpayers’ money.
Continue reading