Current Projects

Traffic Incident Management Congestion Management (TIM-CM) Phase III

Iterative Rollout, Assessment, and Enhancement of a Cloud-Based Virtual Coordination Center for Regional Mobility Management, Year 1. Traffic incident management (TIM) is the process of coordinating the resources of various partner agencies and private sector companies to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents as quickly as possible to reduce the impacts of incidents on congestion while protecting the safety of on-scene responders and the traveling public. This project is looking at how TIM in the Puget Sound region can be improved by incorporating congestion management (CM). Researchers at the UW Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience are building on Phase II of their research to implement, use, and assess a shared Virtual Coordination Center (VCC). The VCC will provide new shared data and capabilities and support enhanced collaboration, not only during major incidents, but also during day-to-day management of the regional transportation system. In Phase II, traffic incident managers, congestion managers, and population movement managers identified and visualized the desired capabilities of a common operational VCC environment. These capabilities focus on enabling enhanced, timely data sharing to support a common situational awareness, as well as coordinated regional response among the diverse multi-agency community. In Phase III Year One, an operational, integrated computer-aided dispatch (CAD) will be developed within the VCC environment.

Principal Investigator: Mark Haselkorn, Human Centered Design and Engineering, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Ron Vessey
WSDOT Project Manager: Doug Brodin
Scheduled completion: June 2020

Influence of Operational Strategies on PM3 Measures

The federal funding and authorization bill called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), passed by Congress in June 2012, governs U.S. federal surface transportation spending. MAP-21 established a performance- and outcome-based program that requires states to invest in projects that collectively will achieve national transportation goals. With the May 2017 federal rule regarding the third round of performance reporting requirements (“PM3”), centered on congestion and freight systems, every state department of transportation and metropolitan planning organization has several new responsibilities. The objective of this project, led by Cambridge Systematics, is to develop a framework, based on FHWA’s adopted PM3 performance measures and other supporting metrics, that states can use to determine whether their operational strategies and projects are providing the desired and expected operational and cost benefits. The researchers will also document case studies that demonstrate the influence of operational strategies on the reported values of PM3 statistics and related metrics and will document a marketing and outreach plan that shares the outcomes of this project.

Principal Investigator: Mark E. Hallenbeck, Washington State Transportation Center, UW

Cambridge Systematics

Cambridge Systematics Principal Investigator: Richard Margiotta
FHWA Technical Monitor: Rich Taylor
Scheduled completion: February 2021

Longitudinal Analyses of Washington State Student Travel Surveys

The goal of this project is to provide Washington State Safe Route to School programs with data that will support future efforts to promote active school travel and to ensure the safety of students traveling to school. Although Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs have been shown to increase the number of children who walk or bike to school, they are relatively small programs within departments of transportation, and they compete with funding for other surface transportation operations. Data-driven evidence that clearly shows the effectiveness and efficiency of their funding would be of benefit. This project will test three hypotheses using the unique longitudinal data set of Student Travel for Washington State, in combination with data on school characteristics; school neighborhood street infrastructure and land use; SRTS projects; and statewide vehicular collisions. The tested hypotheses will be that neighborhood walkability around schools is associated with higher rates of students walking to school; rates of walking and biking to school increase following the completion of SRTS projects; and higher rates of students walking and biking to school are not related to higher rates of collision between youth and vehicles near schools. This use of unique data sets on school- and grade-based travel, along with related land-use and traffic safety data, will support a data-driven approach to improving student mobility and safety.

Principal Investigator: Anne Vernez Moudon, Urban Design and Planning, UW
Sponsor: PacTrans
Expected completion: August 2021

Mapping Food Rescue Logistics in the Puget Sound

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has estimated that over 94,500 tons of food from Seattle businesses end up in the compost or garbage. If just 5 percent was edible and could be rescued and redistributed, it could result in nearly 8 million additional meals for food insecure individuals.  To support efforts to reduce food insecurity while simultaneously diverting less food to the waste stream, the UW Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center will build on the work of Seattle’s Food Rescue Innovation Lab to build a shared, data-driven understanding of the logistics of food rescue in the Puget Sound. This multi-year collaboration will build a community interested in rethinking food rescue logistics to improve access, food quality, and user experience while also reducing waste.  Ultimately, the city could use the findings of this research to inform external investments in the form of funding for community partners to test new kinds of collaboration, vehicles, storage, and more, and internal investments into things such as fleet electrification, charging station locations, and cold storage aggregation to serve food rescue without increasing climate change impacts.

Principal Investigator: Anne V. Goodchild, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: Seattle Public Utilities
Expected completion: December 2022

Linear Scheduling Evaluation and Best Practices, Phase 2

Traditional project scheduling methods provide overwhelming amounts of data for large projects. This can make the task of fully communicating project information to diverse audiences and communities challenging. In addition, WSDOT’s design teams, working with multiple and varied partners and internal specialists, need to be able to quickly grasp the nature of a project, its context, and the work activities, locations, and timing that will occur. Linear scheduling has the potential to be an extremely effective tool in tracking cost, duration, and appropriate justification and can enhance WSDOT’s current processes related to project cost risk assessment and value engineering. Other industries regularly use linear scheduling. Phase 1 of this study conducted a literature review of best practices related to linear scheduling for heavy civil engineering projects. In Phase II, the researchers will develop project performance metrics to quantify the benefits of using a linear scheduling program. They will also investigate available tools and software to provide vendor selection guidelines. The findings will build confidence in the adoption and use of a linear scheduling program to further improve project metrics.

Principal Investigator: Amy Kim, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Mark Gabel
WSDOT Project Manager: Mustafa Mohamedali
Scheduled completion: June 2021

Case Study Analysis of the Benefits and Costs of a Freight and Transit (FAT) Lane

The closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct on January 11, 2019, constrained capacity further on an already congested road network in central Seattle.  To improve freight and transit access to commercial and industrial areas, the City of Seattle, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation, installed two blocks of a temporary freight and transit (FAT) lane on Alaskan Way. Seattle DOT is interested in evaluating the benefits of the FAT lane for freight while it is in place, as well as what happens when the lane is removed. SDOT has installed video cameras on the two-block segment to capture activity in the FAT lane.  The researchers will reduce the video data into speed and volume counts by vehicle classification to allow them to describe traffic in the FAT lane during and after the pilot. In addition, the researchers will conduct up to six one-on-one interviews with FAT lane users after the pilot, including truck drivers, bus drivers, and/or operational staff at trucking companies and transit operators. The results should provide information to the City of Seattle as it considers implementing such facilities on a broader scale and incorporating them into the city’s Freight Master Plan.

Principal Investigator: Anne V. Goodchild, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: Seattle Department of Transportation
SDOT Project Manager: Christopher Eaves
Scheduled completion: December 2019

Operations Performance Management Guidance, Technical Assistance, and Primer Development

The Federal Highway Administration is looking to help transportation agencies shift their focus from simply measuring transportation system performance to directly using those performance measures within their project identification, project selection, and decision-making processes. A potential tool for accomplishing that is the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). The CMM describes the degree of formality and optimization (“maturity”) of an organization’s processes, from reactive, ad hoc practices; to formally defined steps; to managed consistency through measurement; to optimization and continual performance improvement. As a subcontractor to Cambridge Systematics, Inc., TRAC researchers will help refine the CMM to examine how state agencies manage roadway performance. TRAC and Cambridge Systematics will develop a primer that will discuss the difference between simply reporting operations performance measures and actively managing the roadway system using those measures. The primer will also present how using the CMM can help agencies assess the maturity of their existing roadway operations management processes and provide actions that agencies can take to more effectively use performance measures to select and apply the best roadway operations management strategies.

Principal Investigator: Mark E. Hallenbeck, Washington State Transportation Center, UW

Cambridge Systematics, Inc.

Scheduled completion: April 2020

Promises of Data from Emerging Technologies for Transportation Applications: PSRC Case Study, Phase II

Emerging technologies such as automated vehicles, advanced data analytics and machine learning, and on-demand ride services will not only fundamentally alter the transportation landscape but provide new data that can be used for transportation planning and analysis. This project is examining the properties of these new data and identifying potential applications. Phase I developed a preliminary framework for integrating emerging and conventional data from diverse sources. Using the SR-99 Tunnel Tolling Project as a case study, Phase II will demonstrate the value of emerging big data (more specifically, app-based data) and their fusion with data from other, conventional sources in evaluating a project’s impact on transportation system performance and in answering critical and time-sensitive planning and policy-related questions. The project will also provide a data inventory and develop a protocol that can assist state, regional, and local agencies in coordinating data exchange among agencies and with private data providers. Tasks will include analysis of travel pattern changes from before the SR-99 tunnel has been opened and tolled to during and after its operation, as well as development of data quality metrics and open-source tools.

Principal Investigators:
Jeff Ban, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Cynthia Chen, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW

Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Natarajan Janarthanan
WSDOT Project Manager: Doug Brodin
Scheduled completion: December 2020

The Impact of Shared Mobility Options on Travel Demand

The increasing availability of shared mobility options is having a profound impact on travel behavior and travel demand. Smartphone-based technology has permitted the rapid spread of bike-, car-, ride-sharing, and ride-hailing options, which has affected how people use traditional travel modes, especially private cars and public transit. There is broad agreement that transportation policies need to consider these changes. However, a lack of data impedes the development of programs and policies that could address both the positive and negative aspects of the new travel options. This project is leveraging unique travel behavior data sets that are available in the Pacific Northwest region, supplemented by other emerging “big” data sets for information such as GPS and bike-sharing, to identify how the advent of shared mobility is changing the demand for traditional private individual and public transit travel, as well as its potential impacts on travel choices, revenue streams, and infrastructure needs. This will help planners and engineers make long-range business, policy, and planning decisions to support transportation infrastructure and movement.

Principal Investigators:
Anne Vernez Moudon, Urban Design and Planning, UW
Jeff Ban, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Qing Shen, Urban Design and Planning, UW
Mike Lowry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Idaho

Puget Sound Regional Council

Scheduled completion: August 2020

Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) Performance Metrics and Evaluation

Data show that over 45 percent of the U.S. population comprises individuals with special needs for travel. The focus of this project, conducted in conjunction with Cambridge Systematics, Inc., is to support the Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) in its development and implementation of technologies (devices, software, data standards) and policies that improve independent, on-demand mobility—particularly access to transit—for all travelers. This project’s development of an evaluation framework and recommended set of performance metrics will consider the complex interactions between the transportation system and factors such as land uses, social/demographic mobility characteristics, and human factors that affect personal mobility and access to services. The resulting framework and performance metrics will be suitably detailed to allow evaluators to independently examine current and future ATTRI development projects and to understand and measure their impact on mobility within the entire “travel chain” for specific subpopulations with diverse needs.

Principal Investigator: Anat Caspi, Computer Science and Engineering, UW
Sponsor: FHWA
FHWA Program Manager: Erin Flanigan
Scheduled completion: November 2019