USDOT Region V Regional University Transportation Center

Research in Progress

2015-2016 Projects

2013-2014 Projects

  • Segmenting, Grouping and Tracking Vehicles in LIDAR Data

    UTC Project Information

    RiP database: https://rip.trb.org/view/2013/P/1324050

    Summary of Research

    Roadway congestion impacts almost all aspects of our lives in the US, from safety, to the environment, to the quality of life, to the cost of goods and services. A comprehensive understanding of the traffic conditions over space that give rise to congestion remains elusive. To date, these issues have been studied predominantly with macroscopic data from point detectors (e.g., loop detectors) aggregated over fixed time periods ranging from 20 sec to 15 min. Many new theories have emerged in recent years to explain several on-going anomalies in traditional traffic flow theory. At the core of these new theories is the presence of non-trivial disturbances that last far less than the fixed time aggregation periods commonly used to study traffic, and thus, these micro-disturbances have not been empirically observed. If these theories are proven empirically, they should lead to better congestion management and control.

    The proposed research seeks to develop the tools to measure traffic flow at a resolution sufficiently precise to measure the micro-disturbances and prove or disprove the traffic flow theories that depend on their presence. Under support from NSF and FTA, OSU has developed an instrumented probe vehicle that includes positioning sensors (DGPS and inertial navigation) and ranging sensors (six LIDAR, one radar). The focus of the RNS is the one forward facing and one rear facing LIDAR sensors. These LIDAR collect a rich, 180° scan out to 80 m, in a plane approximately 0.5 m above the roadway, at 40 Hz. Although hundreds of hours of data have been collected, the tools to automatically reduce this vast quantity of data to useful information still need to be developed. The proposed research would undertake the task of segmenting the vehicle returns from the non-vehicle objects in the LIDAR data, grouping the vehicle returns into discrete vehicles, and tracking the resulting vehicle groups across scans. Once these tools are developed, they would be used to mine hundreds of hours of existing instrumented probe vehicle data.

  • Integration of ground access to airports in measures of inter-urban accessibility

    UTC Project Information

    RiP database entry: https://rip.trb.org/view/2013/P/1324051

    Summary of Research

    Recent research by the author has focused on the levels of accessibility on the basis of actual air passenger demand and travel patterns across particular origin and destination pairs.

    http://www.geography.osu.edu/aviation/

    The feedback we have received from this study strongly suggests that the additional factor of surface transport access to airports, particularly in more remote and rural regions, is very important in any measurement of accessibility and service quality. In fact, as is well known in transportation systems models, there are some complex trade-offs. The proposal is to develop a more comprehensive quality indicator of interaction between urban places. The study examines service in conjunction with the ground transport accessibility and travel time to these airports from their probable catchment area. The project would attempt to develop a more comprehensive estimate of door to door travel time from origin to destination. The air side component, via direct or multistep trips is already quite well covered, and this project would add a term for the ground location origin to the estimated destination. Such considerations are quite important to the economic development and employment retention of communities that rely on extensive travel by employees to deliver technical, sales, or other support to dispersed markets.

  • Developing Operational and Policy Insights into Next Generation Vehicle Needs Based on an Integrated Understanding of the Transportation and Energy System of Systems

    Research Information (pdf)

    RiP Database

    Status: Active

    Summary of Research

    Rapidly evolving transportation and energy technology is opening up a tremendous number of possibilities for simultaneously achieving environmental sustainability, economic development, and energy security, but the many possibilities for their interaction greatly complicate analysis to understand the best policy options and strategies for individuals and companies to take to maximize opportunities.

    This project proposes to explore the effects of various vehicle design options and more detailed vehicle behavior on the integrated transportation and energy system, with particular interest in studying the effect of vehicle design options on traffic system behavior and fuel and electricity use. The study proposes augmenting the use of MPO data to incorporate the detailed behavior of drivers, new vehicle capabilities, and advanced information systems. The resulting agent based model will be suitable for investigating transportation system behavior under next generation systems and its interaction with the energy system.

  • Analysis of Policies Aimed at Increasing Use of Natural Gas in the Transportation System

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

     

    The major objective of this research is to evaluate a series of natural gas for transportation policy options and to compare them with existing options for electric vehicles, biofuels, CAFE standards, etc.  The policy incentives that will be considered are:  1)incentives to create natural gas fueling stations, 2)subsidies for natural gas vehicles comparable to the benefits provided to the country from their use, 3)incentives for retrofitting gasoline vehicles for conversion to CNG, and 5)incentives for fleet adoption of CNG. 

  • Field Data Based Data Fusion Methodologies to Estimate Dynamic Origin-Destination Demand Matrices from Multiple Sensing and Tracking Technologies

    UTC Project Information (pdf)

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    Recent advances in real-time traffic sensing, including GPS data from probe vehicles, automatic vehicle identification using RFID and Bluetooth sensors, and automatic number plate recognition, provide richer data when combined with traditional O-D estimation techniques. However, the data obtained from these different sensors do not convey similar information on the traffic conditions of the network. This project seeks to develop and test a systematic methodology to integrate the different data sources, also labeled data fusion, to address the O-D estimation problem, leveraging the availability of different types of data with disparate characteristics.

    The study will involve collecting data from ITS test-bed corridors in Chennai (Madras), India. The data collected will also serve as a benchmark data archive for O-D estimation techniques and will augment ongoing research to develop dynamic O-D demand matrices based on partial observability of the field network.

  • Estimation of Time-Dependent Intersection Turning Proportions for Adaptive Traffic Signal Controls  -or-  Estimation of Time-Dependent Intersection Turning Proportions for Adaptive Traffic Signal Control under Limited Link Traffic Counts from Heterogeneous Sensors

    UTC Project Information (pdf)

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    This research seeks to estimate time-dependent intersection turning proportions using partial link traffic counts and observed turning proportions provided by heterogeneous sensor technologies.

    It will help transportation/highway management agencies determine a desirable sensor deployment plan in terms of how to prioritize the critical links for different sensor characteristics under an annual budget constraint. It will also illustrate that interdependencies arise between information and infrastructure in relation to the vehicles, and that they lead to complexities that require solutions as technology is increasingly leveraged in conjunction with the limited budgets. In terms of broader significance, several methodological approaches involving network-level solutions developed to leverage ITS technologies have been previously limited in terms of real-world deployment due to the unavailability of such O-D matrices. Hence, the proposed research has key practical implications for transportation agencies.

  • Information and Transportation Choices, Long- and Short-Term, that Link Sustainability and Livability

    UTC Project Information (pdf)

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    The research is designed to test:

    a. The sensitivity of the long-term decision of residential location choice to information;

    b. The sensitivity of short-term travel behavior to long-term residential location choice.

    Rare among policy investigations, information-related questions can be researched through true experimental designs. This project proposes to assign movers in the two cities randomly to control and experimental groups. Experimental groups in Ann Arbor, MI and Lafayette, IN will be exposed to an information-delivery strategy designed to address transportation-relevant decision-making over a range of time scales. Control and experimental groups will be surveyed for transportation-related outcomes, and intergroup differences will be analyzed with standard statistical models to determine treatment effects.

    This project proposes to study how travelers’ long- and short-term transportation-related decisions are affected by information interventions, providing potentially new perspectives to fostering sustainable transportation choices and bridging methodological gaps in holistically approaching the notion of livability.

    Current strategies for the dissemination of transportation information concentrate at the short-term end of the spectrum. Not enough is known about the sensitivity of choices at varying time scales to information interventions or about the “downstream” impact of longer-term choices on those made over the shorter term. This project will develop new decision-making models informed by multiple disciplines, including cognitive science, behavioral economics, marketing, transportation, and urban planning. The project will design information interventions intended for the full range of transportation-relevant decisions and test their impacts on people moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and West Lafayette, Indiana, as well as consumers in the market for a vehicle.

  • Truck Activity and Wait Times at International Border Crossings

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    Determining the times trucks incur at international border crossings is of interest to the private freight industry and to the border crossing facility operators and planners.  Private carriers and shippers can benefit from having objective travel time measures for trip planning, scheduling, and routing. Facilities operators and planners can detect when conditions warrant changes in operations or infrastructure.  Private and public stakeholders at two of the busiest international truck crossings in North America, both of which are situated in Region 5, do not have access to such travel time data.

  • Impact of passenger transportation modes, travel choices, and urban geography on CO2 emissions

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    The primary objectives of continuing the investigation of the effects of various factors on passenger transportation CO2 emissions are to: (a) further expand the dataset to effectively improve the reliability and wider applicability of the relationships of interest, (b) address the transit utilization limitation and additional travel and regulation characteristics, and (c) broaden the scenario analyses based on the improved models to capture joint factor effects and to demonstrate their use as a policy-making support tool.

  • LIDAR Based Vehicle Classification

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    Vehicle classification data are used in many transportation applications, including: planning, pavement design, environmental impact studies, traffic control, and traffic safety. Every state in the US maintains a network of vehicle classification stations to explicitly sort vehicles into several classes based on observable features, e.g., length, number of axles, axle spacing, etc. Various technologies are used for this automated classification, the three most common approaches are: weigh in motion (WIM); axle-based classification from a combination of loop detectors, piezoelectric sensors or pneumatic sensors; and length-based classification from dual loop detectors. All of these sensor technologies suffer from the difficulty of deploying and maintaining in/on pavement sensors. There has recently been an increasing interest in developing non-intrusive sensors to classify vehicles, e.g., there are several non-intrusive sensors now on the market that offer vehicle classification and most of these sensors rely on microwave radar (e.g., RTMS, SmartSensor, etc.). 

    The research will deploy LIDAR based system using high vantage points (10-30 m) at one or more multi-lane facilities to monitor traffic and overcome the current limitation due occlusions. In addition to algorithm development, the research will include extensive, labor-intensive ground truth data extraction, both for development and validation of the algorithms. The budget and scope of the work is for the task of developing the LIDAR based system.

  • Transit Origin-Destination Flow Estimation Considering Temporal Variations based on APC Data

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    This project builds upon the progress made by the NEXTRANS investigators in using APC data from transit buses to estimate route-level OD flows considering a variety of new dimensions and identified limitations. Specifically, these efforts relate to the temporal representation of OD flows.

    Route-level bus passenger OD flow estimation methods recently developed by the NEXTRANS investigators are presently being used to provide insights on empirical flow patterns for a few transit agencies. The research here is targeted to improve upon these applications for sustained, long-term use. As was done in moving the recently developed approaches toward empirical implementation, methodological formulations must be developed, evaluated, and refined before being put into use. The advanced methods eventually developed would form the basis for long-term benefits to transit agencies and MPOs.

    The methods being developed are based on exploiting spatially and temporally extensive boarding and alighting data that are now available from APC technologies in use on many transit properties. As with previously developed methods, the new methods will be inspired by an understanding of bus passenger behavior that is consistent with data and in situ observations collected on OSU’s living Campus Transit Lab and refined according to these data and observations.

    The developed methods will lead to a richer representation of OD flow patterns and more accurate estimates of such patterns. In both cases, improved service planning and operations, where OD flow patterns are used as inputs, are expected. Planning applications include, for example, extending, splitting or combining, and designing new routes, and operations applications include short-turning, expressing, and holding. Improved service and operations will eventually result in a more competitive transit mode, with subsequent effects on reduced congestion, improved sustainable use of energy resources, and mitigated environmental impacts stemming from passenger travel

  • Using Naturalistic Driving Performance Data to Develop an Empirically Defined Model of Distracted Driving

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    Approximately 33,000 fatalities and over 2.2 million nonfatal injuries result from motor vehicle crashes each year in the United States, with a total cost that exceeded $US230 billion in 2009 alone (NHTSA, 2010a). In 2009, 16% of fatal crashes and 20% of non-fatal injury crashes included reports of distracted driving (NHTSA, 2010b). Findings from the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study suggested that 22% of all crashes and near-crashes were related to secondary-task distraction (Klauer, 2006). The measurement of driver distraction is a challenge. Driver self-assessment of distraction is inaccurate, observational studies can only detect observable distractions, and naturalistic driving studies are costly. The prevention of distraction-related crashes requires a better understanding of the nature of driver distraction. This, in turn, requires a means to accurately assess the occurrence and degree of driver distraction in large samples. The goal of this project is to identify kinematic indicators of distracted driving for devising a model that would allow distracted driving to be measured using technological approaches. The result will be a new definition of distracted driving that is based on measureable kinematic variables. This ability would facilitate an epidemiologic approach to studying driver distraction, as well as contribute to potential warning systems that redirect distracted drivers’ attention back to the task of driving.

  • Standardized Metrics for Accessibility: Establishing a Federal Policy-Relevant Knowledge Base

    UTC Project Information (pdf)

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    Transportation planning and policy has traditionally been evaluated with metrics of mobility, such as highway level-of-service or time lost to delay. Standardized metrics of mobility are abundantly available to planners and engineers through such widely used resources as the Highway Capacity Manual and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Standardized data about mobility facilitate consistent evaluations of transportation outcomes across both time and place. The purpose of transportation, however, is not movement but access, and ubiquitous reliance on mobility-based evaluation has tended to favor—via both transportation and land-use planning--low-density, auto oriented development patterns. A shift to accessibility-based metrics can help alter this trend, and can better align planning practice with transportation’s fundamental purpose. Yet no standardized metrics are currently available to assist decision makers about progress on accessibility. This project seeks to understand how a standardized set of data generated by regional agencies might be collected in a repository to facilitate consistent and dependable accessibility-based analysis among places and through time. Tasks include assessing the current state of standardized transportation data, documenting the range of current practice with regard to the needed inputs to accessibility analysis, and developing a framework for standardizing the inputs to accessibility metrics. The objective is to provide assistance to federal agencies in modify their procedures for data collection and publication and for Metropolitan Planning Organizations and local governments to gain the capacity to compare their outcomes over time to other peers. 

  • Mapping New Mobility Business, Innovation, and Employment Opportunities in Michigan: Developing a Data-Driven Graphic Platform for Assessing and Advancing Laboratory Development and Entrepreneurship Opportunities in Urban Regions

    Research Information (pdf)

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    This work will develop a data-driven mapping platform for assessing local and regional economic development, employment, entrepreneurship, and industry cluster development opportunities related to New Mobility, starting with southeast Michigan as the initial prototype area. The mapping activity will assemble through a GIS-based toolset, a dynamic visualization and geospatialization platform to illuminate existing material and economic flows between related sector agents, as well as to identify network gaps via methodologies related to value-chain mapping.

    In general, this suite of network visualization tools relates specifically to New Mobility industry and enterprise, fills an important analysis gap and will result in more informed decision making and innovation by governments, large business, entrepreneurs and other innovators. The work addresses the specific interests of project partners by integrating diverse sets of data and interrelations that operate within ‘blind spots’ of individual sector participants. The tools proposed for development aim to result in more informed decision-making and risk assessment in emerging sectors, while identifying the priority strategic actions Michigan policy and business leadership can advance that support the growth of the new mobility industry sector in Michigan. The proposed tools will be developed with the intent that process and product can be scaled and translated to other sites and globally.

  • Use of Comparative Efficiency Analysis to Optimize Transportation Infrastructure

    Research Information (pdf)

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    The main purpose of this research is to present an analysis of an alternative strategy for optimizing transportation infrastructure maintenance decision-making. The approach being proposed is based on performance-based resource analysis, which balances competing objectives and perspectives of multiple stakeholder groups while considering the amount of resources available, as described in NCHRP Report 666. Performance-based analysis focuses on the concept of spending efficiencies and performance-based resource allocation. It also encourages the use of performance targets and the ways to develop and maintain them over time. Performance targets have to become a part of the business process that directly links organizational goals and objectives to available resources and results. In performance-based resource analysis, targets are critical when evaluating the effectiveness of investment decisions.

    The primary benefit of this research is that it empowers maintenance administrators in state transportation agencies with a new and innovative integrated solution to make decisions and set policies related to transportation infrastructure maintenance. The result of this research provides an alternative way to look at how efficient maintenance spending has been, and gives maintenance administrators a chance to figure out the most efficient way to allocate and distribute maintenance funds.

  • Driving Simulator Laboratory: Traveler Behavior Modeling and Interactive Experiments to Address Mobility and Safety Needs

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    The Purdue Driving Simulator Laboratory (DSL) will be a quasi-living laboratory for mobility and safety research, interactive learning, and outreach. The DSL will develop behavioral and operational models and assess impacts to address current and emerging needs of the USDOT, state and local DOTs, and private sector firms in the information and locational services domains.

    It seeks to address fundamental questions related to the costs-benefits of infrastructure investment in advanced traveler information based management systems, the explicit quantification of the psychological impacts of information provision, traveler behavior to develop effective operational road-space management strategies, evacuee behavior under large-scale disasters, and the holistic understanding of real-time information provision and dissemination mechanisms from the mobility and safety perspectives.

    The ability to quantify physical and psychological benefits of real-time information has several dimensions of significant impact for practitioners and researchers. The proposed experiments will enable development of realistic behavior models and understanding of the benefits and safety implications associated with information provision and road space management strategies

  • Accessibility-Based Evaluation of Transportation and Land-Use Planning: From Laboratory to Practice

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    The project will be informed by lessons derived from a previous multi-year project at the University of Michigan that measured regional accessibility among the top 50 metropolitan regions of the United States, and will proceed in four interrelated stages: A. Research political and technical barriers to the adoption of accessibility-based evaluation. Practitioners and decision makers in land-use and transportation planning will be studied to assess the relative role of political, institutional, and technical barriers to the adoption of accessibility-based evaluation. These may include, for example, difficulties in data acquisition or processing, the persistence of professional standards based in mobility evaluation, or perceived incompatibility with political interests. Interactions with practitioners and decision makers may take the form of interviews, focus groups, or surveys. This section will study both decision-making environments lacking in accessibility-based evaluation and those in which some accessibility evaluation has been adopted. B. Develop case studies of accessibility- and mobility-based evaluation. The impact of the alternative approaches to evaluation will be documented through selected case studies of each approach. The project will seek to understand how the two approaches affect public-sector decision making, actions by private-sector developers and other actors; and physical outcomes. Physical outcomes will be represented through visual analysis techniques and three dimensional diagrams to emphasize the built-form consequences, spatial typologies, and spatial performance characteristics resulting from alternative policy approaches. Impacts on decision-making will be presented through narrative case studies chosen to illustrate the workings of accessibility- and mobility-based evaluation on transportation and land-use decision making under a range of circumstances. C. Develop approaches to incorporating accessibility-based evaluation.The project’s working assumption is that engineers and planners in practice lack readily implementable approaches to determining the desirability of both land-use and transportation projects in accessibility terms. The project will develop qualitative, quantitative, and graphical tools to assist practitioners in their accessibility-based evaluation of these projects. The qualitative approaches will be based on the case studies and will be designed to help engineers and planners interpret from context the accessibility impact of transportation and land-use developments. A set of guidelines will be developed from consistent patterns that emerge from analysis of the case studies. The quantitative approaches will define metrics of accessibility that would be implementable in practice based on readily available data. Example calculations will be demonstrated and linked to the qualitative and graphical approaches. The graphical approaches will systematically investigate both site and situation to demonstrate attributes of location and design that shape accessibility outcomes, and may take the form of street-level photographs, aerial photography, three-dimensional models, or interactive mapping. D. Collaborate with practitioners and decision-makers on assessment of accessibility-based evaluation. The utility of approaches described above will be assessed through interviews and focus groups with practitioners. This will require designing written, web-based, or in-person presentations of the approaches to accessibility-based evaluation that will enable practitioners to understand and respond meaningfully to the suggestions. This will afford the project the opportunity to refine the approaches to enhance their relevance and implementability.

  • Campus Transit Laboratory: Infrastructure for Research, Education, and Outreach

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    The Ohio State University (OSU) Campus Transit Laboratory (CTL) is a living laboratory that provides the infrastructure for integrated transit-related research investigations, educational activities, and applied studies. The CTL benefits from advanced automatic data collection and information technologies deployed on the OSU Campus Area Bus Service (CABS), accessibility of the CABS system and the OSU community to researchers, instructors, and students for data collection and in situ observations, and regular interaction between CTL investigators and CABS operators and decision makers. This NEXTRANS project would continue to: -Sustain, develop, and showcase the CTL -Collect, process, and archive CTL data -Exploit the CTL for research, education, and outreach activities -Develop collaborations with transit agencies and investigators.


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