The Socially Aware Mobility Project
Modernizing the Transit System
The Socially Aware Mobility project is poised to have a tremendous impact on the metro Atlanta area, revolutionizing and modernizing the transit system for the 21st century. Funded in part by a grant by the National Science Foundation, the project aims to bring equitable accessibility, decrease congestion, and increase mobility to all users of the transportation system. Through optimization and machine learning, the project will create a scalable, On-Demand Multimodal Transit System (ODMTS) model, which will be validated through implementation in the Atlanta region. By providing solutions to increase mobility while simultaneously decreasing congestion, the project stands to have a significant impact on the way we navigate around our community.
The Atlanta region is a vibrant community and economic powerhouse. It is home to many international corporations, educational institutions, the world’s busiest airport, and unique historical neighborhoods. However, traffic congestion is a major issue the Atlanta Region faces; it is the 8th most congested city in the world. The city is poised to grow by 2.5 million residents, with a total population of 8 million by 2040 (ARC, 2019). With this comes the critical need to improve transit accessibility, not only to support its residents, but also to sustain the Atlanta region as an economic powerhouse.
Quite often, research does not have real-world ramifications. This is not the case for the Socially Aware Mobility project. The project stands to have significant effects on the greater Atlanta area.
“By focusing on the next generation of public transit systems, this research may fundamentally change how people are connected to jobs, health-care services, education, and high-quality groceries,” said Dr. Pascal Van Hentenryck.
A scalable, on-demand transit system will revolutionize transit not only in Atlanta but also has the potential to be adopted in cities around the world. In addition, the system has the potential to transform mobility for entire population segments and will integrate autonomous vehicles as they become more readily available.
The use of an external advisory board drives the research to create tangible results in the Atlanta region. With advisory board members from the City of Atlanta, MARTA, the Atlanta Regional Commission, and many other transportation-related groups, the board provides invaluable input and feedback to the research team. With this feedback, the research can best produce results that are both feasible and adoptable for implementation by these organizations.
Accessibility to usable data increases the opportunity for new research and innovation. Through data collection and cleaning by the research team, a significant output of the project will be the creation of a user-friendly database. This database will be noteworthy as it combines multiple data sources, providing the means for both researchers and ordinary citizens to interact with data.