Revamping Regional Transportation Modeling and Planning to Address Unprecedented Community Needs during the Mobility Revolution
Lead PI:
Michael Hyland

This NSF Smart and Connected Communities Integrative Research Grant (SCC-IRG) aims to address important equity and system integration challenges in mobility systems that could directly affect individual users' quality of life and access to critical services and employment opportunities. Results from this project will support the improvement of metropolitan areas broadly and the San Diego region specifically by exploiting emerging technologies and the public policy levers these technologies engender. The research team will work with transportation modelers and planners at the San Diego Association of Governments to develop a substantially improved decision support system for regional planning and investment decisions that could lead to more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future mobility system, such as solutions that could better connect people, especially disadvantaged populations, to jobs, healthcare, groceries, and other activities. The project also presents education and outreach opportunities to train next-generation engineers and practitioners in an integrated and multi-disciplinary research environment and broaden participation in STEM field.

To address socio-technical challenges related to equitable mobility, accessibility, and environmental sustainability, the research team will implement targeted improvements to regional transportation system models in the short term and fundamentally revamp regional transportation system models in the long run. To improve the models in the short run, the research team will develop flexible and detailed models of mobility-on-demand services, identify and develop equity metrics and equity analysis techniques, and develop low-resolution models for rapid analysis of potential policies. To fundamentally revamp regional models in the long run, the research team will develop a prescriptive (i.e., optimization-based) multi-level, multi-resolution, multi-objective pathway-based modeling framework to not only analyze but actually recommend combinations of transportation and land use policies and infrastructure investments over time. Moving from predictive to prescriptive modeling for regional transportation planning will represent a major theoretical contribution, as will incorporating equity into a multi-objective optimization problem formulation. Additionally, developing a multi-resolution modeling framework to support the bi-level, multi-objective prescriptive modeling framework will represent a valuable methodological contribution. Similarly, the new models provide sufficient flexibility to capture the important components of mobility-on-demand services and new technologies like connected automated vehicles thus represent an important methodological contribution that will speed the effective deployment of smart mobility solutions to address pressing social equity, sustainability, and economic challenges.

Michael Hyland
Michael works to improve the modeling, analysis, planning, design, and control of urban transportation systems to help create smarter (i.e. more efficient, sustainable, and affordable) cities through research and teaching. His research interests include emerging transportation systems such as bikesharing, ridesharing, and shared-use autonomous mobility services, as well as the integration of these emerging systems with existing transit networks. Michael’s research and teaching emphasizes the mathematical modeling of transportation systems through a combination of operations research (e.g. optimization, simulation, network, Markov decision process) models, statistical (e.g. discrete choice, linear regression) models, and economic models. Before joining the faculty at UC Irvine, Michael was employed as a graduate research assistant at the Northwestern University Transportation Center while earning his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University. Michael earned his B.S. and Master’s degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University.
Performance Period: 10/01/2021 - 09/30/2025
Institution: University of California-Irvine
Sponsor: NSF
Award Number: 2125560