Smart Mobility Challenge Project: Real-time traffic monitoring and prediction for Cranberry Township

February 15, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

February 2018

If you’ve ever traveled through Cranberry Township, you’ve probably had to wait at more than one traffic signal. Cranberry Township’s unique geographical location at the junction of Interstate 79 and the PA Turnpike (PA 376) poses unique challenges in coordinated signal operations. Furthermore, the Township operates a Coordinated Signal System that relies on historically Generated Signal Timings, coupled with real time technology to manage day to day operations on the local network.  Any scheduled or unscheduled events on the limited access highways can cause havoc with operations on roads in the business district.

Jason A. Dailey, Director of Public Works in Cranberry Township saw an opportunity with the Smart Mobility Challenge to reduce havoc and maintain efficiency. Together with CMU faculty, Sean Qian, and PhD

Sean Qian

student, Weiran Yao, the Mobility Data Analytics Center (MAC) received funding from Traffic21.  This research project incorporated real time data inputs monitored from both social media and other public data sources against historical data to trigger predictions of traffic delays at least 30 minutes ahead.  These predictions could then be directed to dynamic message boards, smart phone applications, social media, and text messages to alert the public of the anticipated delay.  These predictions also alert the Cranberry Traffic Operations

Weiran Yao

Center of the incidents to allow for pro-active adjustments to the operating traffic plan on a real-time basis.

At the conclusion of the project, in a real-world demonstration, the system proved to successfully alert the Townships traffic operators of the upcoming traffic gridlock 50 minutes in advance compared to the actual reporting time, which allowed more prompt and effective traffic management.

Dailey’s feedback after working with Traffic21 faculty Sean Qian included:

“This was another great experience working with CMU through the Traffic21 program.  Our project was able to pull existing technology and crowd-sourced data, combine it with other publicly available data that is driven by a multitude of sources including vehicle reporting data and roadway sensors, and produce a recommendation on how to manage our signal system when an event is triggered.  We are very fortunate to work with Traffic21 and MAC to help us take advantage of current technology and make sense of it, in a way that industry professionals can then turn it into real world solutions.  This project built on another project we had been working on with Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission where we developed contingency plans that were preplanned and would need to be first identified manually, and then entered manually into our traffic signal system.  What Sean and his team were able to do, was to create a program that looks locally at traffic inputs, looks regionally at what is happening, identify issues far enough in advance for us to get an alert that then would recommend what signal plan would best resolve the issue that is occurring.  While we still need to manually enter the plan, this project far exceeded our expectations and is showing us just how valuable regional data access is for us.” 

Read the Full Report from Real-Time Traffic Monitoring and Prediction for Cranberry Township: https://ppms.cit.cmu.edu/media/project_files/61-Final.pdf

Inspired by Traffic21’s years of successful collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh to become a globally recognized smart city test bed, the goal of the Smart Mobility Challenge is to demonstrate how suburban and rural communities can also benefit from a similar collaboration.  This program is supported by Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute and its affiliated US DOT National University Transportation Center, Mobility21.

The Smart Mobility Challenge is an opportunity to connect suburban and rural communities to the technologies and resources being developed at Carnegie Mellon University.  The first Smart Mobility Challenge was held from 2017 – 2018, and included research done in collaboration with Millvale, McKees Rocks, Bethel Park, Greensburg, Mt. Lebanon, Dormont, Cranberry Township and Lawrence County.  Learn more by clicking here.

Traffic21 is currently kicking off its Second Smart Mobility Challenge.  The goal of this year’s challenge is work with these communities to use data and analytics to solve their municipality’s mobility problems.  Representatives of municipalities and public transit operators in southwestern PA are invited to request research assistance through the 2019-2020 Smart Mobility Challenge.   Learn more by clicking here.

 

The 18-hour suburb: Savvy communities embracing a mixed-use approach to development

February 11, 2019
Posted in News

“Recently, I’ve been really starting to become concerned about inner suburbs and the small towns around these metropolitan areas,” said Don Carter, director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. “We’re starting to see declines in property values and rising crime in some suburban areas.”

He described broader forces at work — economic, generational, demographic — at a time when cities, Pittsburgh included, are showing signs of revitalization.

“Thirty-five years ago, people were pretty much writing off downtown Pittsburgh,” he said, noting a series of planning and policy strategies that were then undertaken to revive it. “Is there a similar strategy looking at these small towns and these suburbs?”
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Smart Mobility Connection with Costa Samaras

February 8, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

February 8, 2019

Today’s Smart Mobility Connection featured Costa Samaras, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at CMU. Costa highlighted his work with the economic, environmental and travel implications of changes in parking choices due to driverless vehicles. Costa’s study estimates the potential impact of privately-owned driverless vehicles on vehicle miles traveled, energy use, emissions, parking revenue, and daily parking cost savings in the city of Seattle, Washington from changes in parking decisions using an agent-based simulation model.  Click here to watch the video recording of this SMC session.

 

 

Mobility21 Executive Director Appointed to CARMA Advisory Group

February 7, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

February 7, 2019

Stan Caldwell, Executive Director of the Mobility21 University Transportation Center was appointed to the advisory group for the Cooperative Automation Research Mobility Applications (CARMA) platform which supports the testing and evaluation of connected and automated vehicle research. This opportunity will have Caldwell directly involved in how research can support advancing the use and implementation of Transportation Systems Management and Operations  strategies and more.

 

Traffic21 Director Appointed as TRB Division Committee Chair

February 6, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

February 5, 2019

Traffic21 Director, Chris Hendrickson was unanimously approved by the National Research Council (NRC) Governing Board to be the new Transportation Research Board (TRB) Division Committee Chair. The  TRB Division Committee  is charged to ensure that NRC procedures and policies are faithfully employed with respect to study and project committee appointments and report review.

AI predicts parking availability by using weather, traffic speed, and meter data

February 6, 2019
Posted in News

We’ve all been there: You drive miles to a venue only to discover that, to your dismay, every parking space is fully occupied. Apps like Google Maps, which can predict busyness based on historical data, can help to a degree, but what if you’re in need of a more adaptable solution? Enter research by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, who describe in a newly published paper on the preprint server Arxiv.org an AI system for predicting parking occupancy in real time.

Rather than collect data from parking sensors, which the study’s coauthors contend are susceptible to failure and error, they draw on parking meter transactions to first estimate parking availability before using additional data for prediction. An estimated 95 percent of on-street paid parking is managed by meters, making their model more generalizable than sensor-dependent systems…

In tests, the model outperformed others’ baseline methods when predicting parking occupancies 30 minutes in advance, the researchers say. They credit the weather and traffic speed data for the AI system’s superior performance — particularly the weather data, which boosted prediction accuracy in recreational areas.
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Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, Rides in Mobility21 UTC Automated Vehicle

February 1, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

February 1, 2019

Carnegie Mellon University hosted the Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper and General Murray, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Futures Command and Brigadier General Matthew Easleyfor the announcement that the United States Army is activating its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force at CMU.

The event was hosted at both the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and main campus at CMU.  Secretary Esper and CMU’s president, Farnam Jahanian, rode from CMU’s campus in Oakland to NREC in Lawrenceville in the University Transportation Center’s Autonomous Vehicle. The ride was operated by Mobility21 Director, Raj Rajkumar.

Although CMU is serving as the hub for the AI Task Force, it will eventually include other leading universities from across the country and the privacy sector and close engagement with the Army Research Lab and the Department of Defense’s Artificial Intelligence Center.

The launch of the national network based will give CMU the opportunity to work closely with our partners and grow the robust network of AI collaborators.  Secretary Esper reiterated CMU and Pittsburgh’s commitment to innovation stating “Carnegie Mellon and the Pittsburgh area embody the spirit of hard work and innovation essential to shaping the Army of the future.

Sedona Utilizes Artificial Intelligence To Help Improve Roads

January 30, 2019
Posted in News

Fixing city roads can be a long and costly ordeal, but Sedona has piloted a system to improve the process.

The city hired RoadBotics Inc., and its specialty is assessing road conditions via data collection and machine learning.

“They go out in regular passenger vehicles and they have video cameras in those vehicles and they go through the streets and video the streets,” said public works director and city engineer Andy Dickey. “They then take that recorded video data and run it through some algorithms that assess the pavement condition”…

“The observations are completed in a matter of a few days and then the data is sent to us within a couple weeks, so it’s much faster and therefore much cheaper than having people do it.”
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City of Detroit to launch new ‘Roadbotics’ program for roadwork

January 30, 2019
Posted in News

The city needs to assess the entire system and rank each section in order of need before repairs can begin. That usually requires an engineer physically going and inspecting every meter of road, which is very time consuming.

That’s why Roadbotics created an artificial intelligence program utilizing video from a cellphone to help get a better picture of what the road really looks like and using those images to assess the entire roadway system. The cellphone can be placed in a windshield and all someone has to do is drive the streets to gather detailed data.

“We’ve done this now for 96 cities in 17 states and 3 countries so our system is quite good,” says RoadBotics CEO Mark DeSantis.
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E-Mobility Workshop Hosted by City of Pittsburgh at CMU

January 30, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 30, 2019

Mobility21 Executive Director Stan Caldwell participated in an E-Mobility workshop hosted by the City of Pittsburgh and CMU’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.  This workshop gathered stakeholders to guide the City in its strategies and policies for electric vehicles, micro-transit, mode shift, etc.

UTC Faculty, Jon Peha, Hosted Wireless Research Workshop

January 28, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 28, 2019

Mobility21 UTC Faculty, Jon Peha, hosted a Wireless Research Workshop in partnership with CMU Portugal. The workshop, hosted at the Collaborative Innovation Center included topics such as: Challenges for spectrum management in 5G aerial small cells, A City-Scale Low-Power Wireless Network and Energy efficiency in highly dense environments.

AMERICA NEEDS WAY, WAY MORE ELECTRIC-CAR CHARGING STATIONS

January 25, 2019
Posted in News

For the public and private entities building out that infrastructure, knowing where to put charging stations is essential. According to the analysis, most locales will need to up the number of plug-in places they build each year by 20 percent to keep up with demand. Even in California metros, where utilities and private companies already have plans to build more than 26,000 new stations by 2025, the analysis finds that the state may come up almost 41,500 chargers short.

“It’s a tough position for cities—if they don’t build enough charging stations the growth of EVs will be slower, hampering local climate and air quality goals,” says Costa Samaras, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studies electric transportation and climate change. “But if they overbuild charging stations, it’s expensive and these chargers might sit empty for a little while during the transition.”
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Traffic21 Director Featured Speaker at UCF

January 25, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 25, 2019

Traffic21 Director, Chris Hendrickson was invited to the University of Central Florida for their Future City Seminar Series. Hendrickson presented “Past and Future of the US Interstate Highway System” where he looked back at the impacts and innovations of the Interstate Highway System, including engineering, financing and planning challenges.

CMU PhD Students Present Poster at TRB

January 24, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 22, 2019

Two PhD students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University presented their Mobility21 Research during the poster session at the Transportation Annual Research Board in Washington DC.  Rick Grahn’s presented his team’s poster “Public Transit Users and Behaviors in the United States: Evidence from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey” and Corey Harper presented his team’s poster “Net-Societal and Net-Private Benefits of Some Existing Crash Avoidance Technologies.”

How driverless cars could work for good instead of evil

January 24, 2019
Posted in News

Allanté Whitmore, a PhD student researcher studying autonomous vehicles at Carnegie Mellon University, agreed with Greenlining’s analysis that government policy will determine whether the ongoing transportation revolutions will be a blessing that lifts people out of poverty or a scourge that further entrenches inequities and lengthens commutes.

The Greenlining report points out that the poorest 20 percent of Americans spend 40 percent of their income on keeping their cars running. We don’t need to wait for autonomous buses to put better transportation policy in place, Whitmore said, but “the appeal of this technology really elevates the discussion. It gets people excited.”

And it’s not just hype. Whitmore’s research suggests that lower fuel and employment costs could allow cities to significantly expand their bus systems using driverless electric shuttles. Running on electricity is cheaper than running on gas, and cities wouldn’t have to pay salaries for bus routes without drivers. “These new technologies are a lot more cost efficient,” she said.
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RoadBotics’ AI Could Change the Way Cities Maintain Roads

January 23, 2019
Posted in News

RoadBotics is using state-of-the-art computer-vision techniques to help local governments better manage roads. The company’s machine-learning algorithms process images of the road collected via smartphone. Then, it uses these images to produce an in-depth online map of road conditions that officials can use to make maintenance and repair decisions.

Since launching in December 2016, the Carnegie Mellon University spinoff has assessed roads for more than 90 cities, towns, and counties around the United States. Detroit will soon become the latest city to use RoadBotics’ technology to inspect its 4,200-kilometer (2,600-mile) network.
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Coming soon to Pa. roads: Autonomous trains of semi trucks

January 23, 2019
Posted in News

When it comes to the robot vehicles of the future, it’s possible that semis will be self-driving before taxis.

State lawmakers have yet to agree on legislation governing the testing of self-driving vehicles but passed a bill in October that will allow for platooning of up to three automated buses, military vehicles or tractor-trailers on some highways and interstates starting this spring…

Platooning vehicles are more fuel-efficient, take up less space on the roads and can be safer, explained Philip Koopman, CTO & co-founder of Pittsburgh-based Edge Case Research and a professor at CMU.

To get benefits of efficiency and aerodynamics, the first platooning vehicle sends data — through wifi, cell phone, or radio connection — telling the second vehicle to brake when the first brakes, rather than a human driver hitting the brakes when they see tail lights.
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Startup Uses Machine Learning to Drive Better Road Investment

January 23, 2019
Posted in News

Move over, RoboCop! The newest robot looking after Detroit’s streets is RoadBotics’ pavement-analyzing machine learning algorithm, which uses driver-collected data to determine which areas of the city are in most dire need of roadwork…

For cities and states, the allure of RoadBotics is that it gives “objective” data without human analysis, and that it provides its users with an easy-interface map afterward. So far, the company has assessed over 90 communities in 15 states. Detroit is one of the most recent cities to be announced for the process, and the first to be the beneficiary of the company’s new AIM (AI maintenance) tool for unsealed cracks. With assistance from Planet M, a Michigan-based partnership that connects mobility professionals from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, RoadBotics and the city have forged a strong alliance.
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New player claims technology leap in electric vehicle charging

January 23, 2019
Posted in News

What they’re saying: “There is no doubt that one could definitely do better than the standard CCCV charging protocol through some of these more exotic charging protocols, but the question is how much better could you do,” says Venkat Viswanathan, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

He says the speed they are claiming seems possible.
“The main question is whether you can do that without degrading the battery pack,” Viswanatha adds. “If GBatteries has accomplished that, it is certainly a very interesting accomplishment.”
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Driverless Cars Tap the Brakes After Years of Hype

January 23, 2019
Posted in News

LAS VEGAS—At a command center near the airport here, executives from automotive supplier Aptiv showed why deploying robot cars will be far more complicated than many envisioned just a few years ago.

With people in town for the annual CES tech show, Aptiv revealed its new operations with more than 300 people, rows of computer monitors and a 30-foot video screen. It’s all to track and keep a fleet of 75 autonomous cars operating. Thirty of those vehicles make up the 20-hours-a-day operation for passengers on Lyft Inc.’s app, taking riders across a 17-square-mile area around the Strip. Those cars already have made about 30,000 Lyft trips.

“What was underappreciated by the industry is how long and how difficult it would be to industrialize the technology,” said Karl Iagnemma, president of Aptiv’s autonomous mobility. “Industrywide that recognition has dawned.”
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Real-Time Data Analytics Aims to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

January 23, 2019
Posted in News

In our first 2019 installment of the Innovation of the Month series, we explore how the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, is using big data and analytics to predict and mitigate traffic accidents.

MetroLab’s Executive Director Ben Levine spoke with Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Pegasus Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering at the University of Central Florida (UCF); Dean Michael Georgiopoulos, College of Engineering and Computer Science at UCF; Charles Ramdatt, director of Special Projects in the city of Orlando; and Jeremy Dilmore, Florida Department of Transportation engineer, to learn more.
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CMU Student Participates in TRB’s Annual Transportation Camp

January 23, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 12, 2019

Carnegie Mellon University student Dhruv Mahajan, participated in the 2019 Annual Transportation Camp, part of the TRB Annual Conference. Dhruv reviews his experience as a  “great opportunity to get an informal discussion started on issues related to transportation that you care about. It is very loosely structured and serves as a very good contrast from TRB that immediately follows it. This makes the  Transportation Camp, a very unique experience. I had a great time meeting people at Transportation Camp and listening to some really interesting ideas.”  

RoadBotics customer Montgomery, Alabama is one of the winners of the Smart 50 Awards in the Mobility category

January 17, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

January 17, 2019

UTC Spin-off Company, RoadBotics customer Montgomery, Alabama is one of the winners of the Smart 50 Awards in the Mobility category.  Smart 50 Awards, in partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation, and US Ignite, annually recognize global smart cities projects, honoring the most innovative and influential work.   Read more here:  https://spring.smartcitiesconnect.org.

How America’s dying rust belt town can transform into “smart cities” of the future

January 17, 2019
Posted in News

Christina Cassotis, the Pittsburgh International Airport’s first female CEO, hopes that the city’s economic innovation can be felt from the moment visitors land. The airport has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to run an “innovations lab” that will test how automation and robotics can help the airport run “more efficiently, raise revenue, operate better, and improve the passenger experience,” Cassotis says.

“If we do it right, we will impact the industry from here,” she adds. “From here, there will be learning, there will be products, there will be processes that comes out of this [new] terminal and the way we work that will make the (airport) industry better.”

In Pittsburgh, CMU is the epicenter of innovation where the self-driving car was born in the 1980s. Since then, CMU has acted as a hub for collaborations and entrepreneurial activity, filling the city’s Oakland and Lawrenceville neighborhoods with coworking spaces, incubators, and accelerators.
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Pittsburgh startup to compete in new category at SXSW

January 17, 2019
Posted in News

Pittsburgh-based Roadbotics rose to the top of over 800 applications worldwide as one of 50 startups to present at this year’s annual SXSW Pitch competition held in Austin in March, and gaining visibility at the competition’s location is a strategic move for the company.

The startup, which combines machine vision and machine learning technology with smartphones to diagnose road defects, a useful tool for city public works departments, will present alongside four other startups in the newly-added artificial intelligence category. The pitch competition will also feature a new blockchain category this year.
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