Our research group works in large-scale transportation systems analysis. We apply core methodological skills (optimization, econometrics, and network modeling) to a wide range of multimodal transportation problems. We use quantitative methods to address strategic planning and resource allocation problems, and to understand how engineering analysis can be used to inform critical policy decisions. We are primarily interested in modeling transportation systems to understand operational features, two-way interactions of supply and demand, and the impacts of new policy paradigms. We like to cross modal boundaries – we are interested in understanding the structures and interactions of multiple modes, even if they are are not usually considered together.
Our goal is to help build an efficient, resilient, safe, and ultimately, sustainable infrastructure future. However, we must first pursue a more profound understanding of the operational characteristics of the current system to apply appropriate innovations. Huge transportation investments are often made without a clear understanding of the potential outcomes of these investments. The problems are not always immediately tangible, and there are immense institutional and sociological barriers impeding comprehensive long-term planning. This research group aims to develop primary strategic planning toolboxes, to showcase the importance of data-driven methodological advancement in systems analysis for resilient and efficient multimodal transportation.
Our current focus is on developing new network analysis frameworks and methodologies to study multimodal long-distance networks, and applying data-driven models for infrastructure assessment under uncertain and dynamic conditions. This research is inherently interdisciplinary, calling for collaborations with those in disciplines including climate science, aviation, mining, planning, sociology, and operations research. Major themes include:
- Multimodal and intermodal transportation;
- Long distance transportation networks;
- Resource allocation and optimization;
- Air transportation;
- Northern transportation;
- Network operations in emergencies; system uncertainty and resilience.
Although these topics are wide-ranging, they are held together by a common theme of large-scale transportation systems analysis.
Research questions we have worked on (see Publications):
- How can we use multiple data sources to reconstruct a major urban emergency evacuation that occurred multimodally?
- What are the characteristics of supply-and-demand feedback mechanisms in airport operations, and how do we attribute delays?
- What are the characteristics that drive air passengers to choose a large hub airport over a local airport, when that large hub airport is up to several hours driving distance away? (on-going)
- What can cell phone signals tell us about intercity travel patterns and modes, particularly when combined with other data sources? (on-going)
- How can we assess the impacts of climate change on the future of northern transportation infrastructure development? (on-going)
- How can we be more efficient at scheduling operators to achieve various safety goals in urban speed enforcement programs, given the limited number of operators/equipment available? (on-going)
Research questions we are currently working on:
- What are the capacities, redundancies, and risks on a sparse, long-distance, intermodal highway network at risk to natural disasters such as flooding and wildfires?
- How can normally disparate long distance transportation networks (i.e. ground and air) be reconfigured for co-operative evacuation capacity during emergencies?
- How can we link flight delays in the north to inclement weather and infrastructure shortfalls?
- How much can infrastructure decisions differ when the variable and uncertain impacts of climate change are considered?
Our work is (and has been) supported by a variety of sponsors including Transport Canada, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Government of Alberta, Edmonton Airports, the City of Edmonton, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and others.