Transportation Seminar: Automated Modular Vehicles

On Wednesday, January 27, 2021, Dr. Monica Menendez presented her seminar “Automated Modular Vehicles: Some Future Applications.”

To watch the seminar, click on this link: Automated Modular Vehicles: Some Future Applications video

Abstract: Automated modular vehicle technology (AMVT) has been gaining attention in the last few years. It consists of modular and fully automated vehicle units that can either operate individually or can be combined forming thereby a single modular vehicle of higher capacity. In this presentation, we will discuss how such technology can be beneficial to several transportation systems, ranging from public transportation to emergency medical services.

In the case of public transportation, we propose a novel flexible bus dispatching system, which offers new perspectives and enormous flexibility to better manage the dispatched frequencies and the allocation of the vehicle resources, reducing thereby the operating cost. To do so, we leverage the variable capacity capabilities of the AMVT to better address any variations in passenger demand while minimizing the impacts on the regular traffic system. To address the latter, we propose an optimization framework based on the recently proposed three-dimensional macroscopic fundamental diagram (3D-MFD) that captures the interactions between public transportation and private transportation systems.

In the case of emergency medical services (EMS), we propose a new concept of smart EMS operations to reduce response times and arrival times to hospital while maximizing service coverage. To that end, we leverage the en-route coupling and decoupling feature of the AMVT to enable the en-route transfer of patients and personnel or other resources from one vehicle to another. This could be highly valuable in areas with limited resources (e.g., rural settings) or situations with a high EMS demand (e.g., the COVID pandemic or other disasters such as the recent explosion in Beirut).

Monica Menendez is an Associate Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering at New York University in Abu Dhabi, and a Global Network Associate Professor at the Tandon School of Engineering in New York University. She is also the Director of the Research Center for Interacting Urban Networks (CITIES). Between 2010 and 2017, Monica was the Director of the research group Traffic Engineering at ETH Zurich. Before that, she was a Management Consultant at Bain & Company. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley. During her studies there she received an NSF Fellowship and the Gordon F. Newell Award. Monica also holds a dual degree in Civil Engineering and Architectural Engineering from the University of Miami, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.

This seminar was hosted by the USF Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Center for Urban Transportation Research, USF Student Chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Automated Modular Vehicles Seminar Flyer (pdf)

Dr. Monica Menendez
Associate Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering at New York University in Abu Dhabi