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Multipopulation Models for Vehicular Traffic and Pedestrians

This project has received a Google Award and aims at designing innovative mathematical models and computational tools for vehicular and pedestrian traffic problems. Starting from the well established research background developed by our group over the past few years, we aim at developing a predictive simulation tool for car and pedestrian flows in urban areas, taking into account complex features as self-organization and psychological effects on human behavior. We also expect to provide new quantitative tools for forecasting and optimization of traffic and pedestrian flows.

The problem. Our research project is concerned with advanced mathematical models and computational tools for vehicular and pedestrian traffic in urban environments. These problems are attracting a growing interest because of their connections with environmental pollution, cities congestion, security, and safety issues, which cannot be effectively handled by simple experimental approaches (like observation and data recording) since cannot capture the actual unsteady dynamics and tend to be poor in prediction. Challenging open questions currently concern forecasting traffic flow in complex areas, modeling interactions with pedestrians in crowded regions, and, even more important, optimizing vehicle and pedestrian flows by means of signals, traffic lights, and rights of way.

The expected outcome. At the end of the project we expect to provide a free C/C++ software able to describe and forecast vehicular and pedestrian traffic in urban areas under real conditions, along with a better understanding of the coupling between density dynamics of different types. The software will be the first one able to deal with cars, mopeds and pedestrians under the same virtual environment and the same mathematical model. It will be used for designing roads, junctions, and as a support for management of events involving a large number of people. The software will open the way to info-mobility features like real-time signals or connection with satellite navigators. Finally, the core of the software will be usable as a building block for optimization algorithms, aiming at assessing the best way for reaching given destinations or the best location of architectural elements, emergency exists, ambulance paths. Ensuing research could involve the implementation of a simplified version of the code for the Android operative system for porting to mobile interfaces. All the research outcomes, including research papers, will be public.




RESEARCH LINE: Modellistica Differenziale Applicata (Applied differential modeling)

START DATE: 2012-05-01

END DATE: 2013-05-01

FUNDING: Google Award (joint with the Departement of Mathematics of Rome Tor Vergata)

CONTACTS: Roberto Natalini