Transit-Centric Smart Mobility System for High-Growth Urban Activity Centers: Improving Energy Efficiency through Machine Learning

This project proposes a transit-centric smart mobility system (TSMS) that is centered on transit and coordinated across other mobility services to meet mobility needs in high-growth urban activity centers. The TSMS will create robust, intelligent, and real-time transit operating strategies, including routing, scheduling, holding, stop skipping, and bus expressing, to improve transit service quality, transit ridership, and energy efficiency. An integrated simulation platform, consisting of three modules on short-term operations planning, real-time control, and travel demand prediction, based on the state-of-the-art machine learning methods, provide the required functionality. Informed by the TSMS platform, the research team implements field experiments for real-time bus control in the Seaport District-Logan Airport area and field experiments for demand prediction in both Boston and Chicago with assistance from the transit agency partners. The new technologies, simulation platform and field experiments improve upon the state-of-the-art and the state-of-the-practice. 

Medium-term impact of COVID-19 on urban mobility: Behavior, preference, and energy consumption

In this project, a team led by Dr. Joanna Moody investigates behavioral and preference changes during and in the medium term after COVID-19 across three case study cities: Singapore, Chicago, and Boston. We further analyze these changes with respect to sociodemographic data, built environment data, and different policy responses in each case study city to better understand how COVID-19’s impact on mobility differed by social group, and what operational strategies, infrastructure, and equipment changes may help them recover. To accomplish these research goals, we leverage our exclusive access to high-resolution trip records from public transit smart card data and TNC trip data as well as longitudinal panel surveys of transit riders designed for this project. Read More 

China's Urbanization and Motorization

At JTL, we evaluate how transportation systems can be made more sustainable and efficient in China. Indeed, we have identified that the overall growth of automobiles in China conceals significant variation among its cities. Crucial differences in the timing and structure of these cities’ transportation policies have influenced their effectiveness, efficiency, and equity. The variation among cities also represents remarkably different social and economic priorities, and a willingness by various cities to experiment.  We examine the effects of varying transportation policies by studying people’s attitudes and compliance to the policies. Read More 

How Low-income Transit Riders in Boston Respond to Discounted Fares: A Randomized Controlled Evaluation

As transit authorities across the US have raised fares over the past decade, affordability has become a salient equity issue. The purpose of this project is to investigate how the cost of transit influences low-income transit use and access and, thus, how a low-income fare policy instrument could improve the quality of life of low income transit users. While other barriers to transit use are often cited, such as reliability, frequency, and destinations served, this research focuses specifically on understanding the relationship between the cost of transit cost and the ability of poor individuals and households to access life’s necessities, such as health care or employment.  Read More 

Automated Mobility Policy Project 

"Helping cities write thoughtful autonomous mobility policy and regulation"

We are a multi-disciplinary team representing a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, with experience in urban and transportation planning, public policy, engineering, and behavioral science. We are united by an interest in understanding the impact of autonomous vehicles at the local level, and a desire to help city and municipal governments prepare for their arrivalRead More 

Public Transportation Management

Analysis to drive the future of mass transport.

A robust public transit network is an integral part of an urban transportation system. Together with the MIT Transit Lab, we merge behavioral science and systems engineering to determine how to improve the flow of passengers on mass transit, better understand demand, and offer policy solutions to transit agencies to help them respond to emerging challenges in this space.  Read More 

Social Mobility Sharing: Faceless Efficiency or Emerging Mode of Human Interaction

MIT Institute of Data, System and Society (IDSS) Research Fund 2016

Traffic congestion, dominated by single-occupancy vehicles, reflects not only transportation system inefficiency and externality, but also a sociological state of human isolation. Advances in ICT are enabling the growth of real-time ride sharing—whereby passengers are paired up on car trips with similar Origin-Destinations and proximate time windows—to improve system efficiency by moving more people in fewer cars. Lesser known, however, are the opportunities of shared mobility as a tool to foster and strengthen human interactions. Read More 

Global Mobility Culture Comparison and China’s Mobility Management

MIT Energy Initiative, Mobility of the Future 2016-2019

Mobility is already changing in response to evolving demographics, consumer preferences, new business models, connectedness, technology, alternative fuels, and policy. Future changes are anticipated but there is great uncertainty about the pace of change and which mobility options will be adopted. Read More 

Urban-Scale Social Responsibility in China: Behavioral Perspectives in Real Estate and Transportation

Samuel Tak Lee Real Estate Entrepreneurship Laboratory (STL) at MIT 2016-2018

“Social responsibility” has become a maxim of urban development in Chinese cities, yet there is no consistent set of actions that “social responsibility” must entail. The drive for “social responsibility” has not coalesced into coherent norms governing personal, corporate, and governmental actions. Read More

Mega-Regionalization and Urban Reconfiguration: The Spatial and Wider Economic Impacts of China’s High-Speed Rail System

Samuel Tak Lee Real Estate Entrepreneurship Laboratory (STL) at MIT 2015-2017

Among the most powerful forces shaping China’s urban transition is a new High-Speed Rail (HSR) network, an ongoing investment project that dramatically improves inter-urban accessibility. HSR will spur the creation of multinucleated urban mega regions.  Read More 

Advanced Mobility Management, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), 2016-2020

As part of the Future Urban Mobility (FM) IRG of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), the team led by Prof. Zhao combine behavioral science and transportation technology to envision a future urban mobility system for Singapore that integrates public transit, walking and bicycling, shared mobility and autonomous vehicles.  Read More 

Chicago Transit Authority - MIT Partnership

Chicago Transit Authority

Urban transportation is rapidly evolving with the introduction of new mobility service, including car sharing, bike sharing, and on-demand taxis and shuttles. These modes may both conflict and complement public transportation. Transit Lab works with Chicago Transit Authority to identify ways in which the new modes can be integrated with public transportation to improve user experience while achieving sustainability. Read More 

Hong Kong MTR - MIT Partnership

Hong Kong MTR

Passenger Assignment to Journeys (Yiwen Zhu-NEU, Haris N. Koutsopoulos, Nigel Wilson) The research is looking into the problem of assigning individual passengers to train trips. A probabilistic model utilizing detailed AFC and train movement data is under development, incorporating capacity constraints of individual vehicles. The model estimates the probability that a given passenger boarded a specific train itinerary and the probability of being denied boarding.  Read More 

Promote Sustainable Travel Behavior through Employer-Based Commute Incentives, Federal Highway Administration

Federal Highway Administration

Supported by the Federal Highway Administration, Transit Lab works with MIT administration to launch a new commuter benefits program AccessMIT, aimed at providing flexible, affordable and low carbon travel options to its staff, students, faculty and visitors. Read More