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2010 News Releases



MIT announces a global collaboration to create sustainable urban mobility

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Professor Amedeo Odoni of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will lead a global collaboration between MIT and the National Research Foundation of Singapore to develop new models and tools for the planning, design and operation of future urban transportation.

Called The Future of Urban Mobility, the central theme of the effort is to bring together recent advances in information technology and transportation science to increase the efficiency of urban transportation systems, while at the same time ensuring a sustainable and livable environment – first in Singapore, and ultimately on a global scale.

Participants in the project include transportation faculty in CEE and other departments in the School of Engineering, the School of Architecture and Planning, and the Sloan School of Management who will work with faculty members from the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Management University. Nearly 60 researchers and many graduate and undergraduate students from the four academic institutions will be involved in the research over the next five years.

“The central theme of this project is straightforward and ambitious,” said Odoni. “Can we bring together the extraordinary recent advances in information technology and transportation science and increase the capacity and efficiency of urban transportation systems to provide high-quality service to urban travelers? And can we, at the same time, ensure a sustainable and livable environment?”

In addition to being one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, Singapore already has a robust urban transportation system, as well as one of the world’s most complete suites of sustainable mobility policies, regulations, and practices. “Singapore is an ideal location to test some of these ideas,” said CEE Professor Cynthia Barnhart, an operations researcher and one of the organizers of the project, who is also faculty director of the Transportation@MIT initiative. The Singapore transportation project is one of a host of transportation-related efforts coordinated through Transportation@MIT, which was formed to speed the development of new ideas in sustainability, technology, business practice and public policy.

Other key faculty participants on The Future of Urban Mobility team are Professors Moshe Ben-Akiva (CEE), Emilio Frazzoli (Aero/Astro), Patrick Jaillet (CEE and LIDS), Li-Shiuan Peh (EECS), Carlo Ratti (DUSP), and Christopher Zegras (DUSP).

The Future of Urban Mobility team is the fourth interdisciplinary research group (IRG) in the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Centre, or SMART Centre. The first three groups are in biosystems and micromechanics, environmental sensing and modeling (CENSAM), and infectious diseases. SMART is MIT’s largest international research endeavor and the first research center of its kind located outside Cambridge. CEE department head Professor Andrew Whittle is head Principle Investigator on the second SMART IRG, called CENSAM, which is the acronym for the Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling.