Research on reducing ridesourcing empty vehicle miles with travel demand prediction is published

Distribution of ridesourcing empty vehicle miles savings and drivers’ waiting times (Kontou et al., 2020)

Our paper on reducing ridesourcing empty vehicle travel with future travel demand prediction appeared at the Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies journal. This paper was motivated by the potential to reduce deadhead mileage of ridesourcing trips by providing drivers with information on future ridesourcing trip demand. Future demand information enables the driver to wait in place for the next rider’s request without cruising around and contributing to congestion. A machine learning model was employed to predict hourly and 10-minute future interval travel demand for ridesourcing at a given location. Using future demand information, we developed algorithms to (i) assign drivers to act on received demand information by waiting in place for the next rider, and (ii) match these drivers with riders to minimize deadheading distance. Real-world data from ridesourcing providers in Austin, TX (RideAustin) and Chengdu, China (DiDi Chuxing) were leveraged. Results show that this process achieves 68%–82% and 53%–60% reduction of trip-level deadheading miles for the RideAustin and DiDi Chuxing sample operations respectively, under the assumption of unconstrained availability of short-term parking. It was a great opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from the Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory! More info here.

Denissa at INFORMS and as a mentor for UIUC URAP

Congratulations to PhD student, Denissa Purba, who will present our paper on Alternative Fuel Vehicles Evacuation Planning at INFORMS this November! She was also selected to participate as a graduate mentor at the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! Through this program, Denissa will get the opportunity to inspire undergraduate students to conduct research in sustainable transportation systems.

Funded Digital Transformation Institute COVID19 project

C3ai DTI Rapti et al. project overview

The Digital Transformation Institute has selected 26, out of more than 200 submitted, research proposals that advance Digital Transformation Science to mitigate COVID-19 and future pandemics. Kontou is co-PI of a project that will focus on novel spatial modeling of COVID-19, being led by Associate Professor of Mathematics Zoi Rapti. The funded research will offer a comprehensive approach to the spatial dynamics of COVID-19 based on partial differential equation and metapopulation models. The teams aims to fill the modeling gap between studies with a detailed description of the disease dynamics, but lacking spatial dynamics, and those that while spatial in nature, do not account for the intricacies of the COVID-19 disease. The team aims to leverage a diverse array of techniques ranging from dynamic traffic assignment models, which will inform the links in the metapopulation model, to manifold learning techniques for model parameterization. Access to the C3 AI Suite and Microsoft Azure computing and storage resources were awarded to the team. Very excited about our group’s contribution to COVID-19 epidemic tracking and recovery!

Kontou to participate at ASCE’s ExCEEd Teaching Workshop

ExCEEd ASCEDr. Kontou received an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) ExCEEd Faculty Fellowship and will participate in the upcoming workshop scheduled in 2020 summer. Dr. Kontou is committed to implementing new pedagogies and active learning techniques to improve CEE educational outcomes. Due to COVID-19 the workshop will take place online.

Kontou gives Kent Seminar in ICT

Kontou will present her work on electric vehicles charging pricing and willingness to pay during the Kent Seminar Series, invited by the Illinois Center for Transportation. The research outcomes that will be discussed include those recently published at Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews and Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment journals. The presentation will be broadcasted here and will take place on Thursday February 13 2020  from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in ATREL Classroom of ICT in Rantoul IL.