UTMSC: NEXT-GENERATION TRANSPORTATION MODELING KEEPING NEW YORK MOVING
The New York Metropolitan Region is home to close to 20 million residents, more than 600,000 businesses, more than 1.3 million registered trucks and more than 8.8 million jobs. It is one of the largest and most densely populated areas in the world with 17,600 persons per square mile.
New York’s economy depends upon its complex, robust and open transportation system to facilitate movement of people and goods throughout the region. That network includes three airports, dozens of container terminals and intermodal yards, more than 11,000 miles of highways, 16 major bridges and tunnels and a 230-mile, 468-station subway system.
Keeping traffic moving freely throughout the region is a daunting challenge complicated by the network’s complexity, physical constraints and scale of its major facilities. The events of September 11, 2001, which exposed the network’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks, brought into focus an added dimension to this challenge – security.
The CUNY Institute for Transportation Systems (CUNY-ITS) in The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY) has risen to the challenge of addressing these efficiency and security issues. With investments from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office and Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI), it has established the Universal Transportation Model Simulation Center (UTMSC).
Using state-of-the art computing technology and processes, UTMSC will develop, maintain and provide continuous improvements to an operational Universal Transportation Model in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut metropolitan area and throughout the United States and around the world. It will work in close cooperation with state, federal and local transportation and public safety agencies, transportation companies, consultants and other academic institutions.
The UTMSC mission is to develop new tools for research, education, training and project implementation in large-scale transportation modeling for researchers, students, transportation professionals and policy makers. It will employ artificial intelligence technologies for improved traffic flow operations, continuously update dynamic network assignment models and develop real-time transportation management methodologies.
The UTMSC, which is housed in Room 602 of the Marshak Science Building on The City College campus, represents the culmination of a seven-year development process. During that time, CUNY-ITS conducted several smaller transportation modeling projects in Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Cyprus, Greece and Italy. It also acquired and had installed on the CCNY campus an SGI® Altix® 4700 supercomputer, which will power the center’s development.
Acquisition of the supercomputer was made possible by: a strategic investment of $500,000 from the New York City Council, through the Manhattan Borough President’s Office; a start-up operations grant from CCNY of $200,000 and a software development cost-share of $160,000 from the Vista Transportation Group, Inc.
The CUNY Institute for Transportation Systems fosters and conducts research and training in transportation-related issues that impact New York City, its metropolitan area and the nation. Faculty associated with the Institute are responsible for the academic program in transportation, based in The Grove School’s Department of Civil Engineering, which offers a transportation option at the undergraduate level, and full Master’s and Ph.D. programs at the graduate level.
The UTMSC was conceived by Professor Neville Parker, its Director, and Research Professor Dr. Kyriacos C. Mouskos, Associate Director for Operations. Dr. Frederick Brodzinski is the Associate Director for Administration and Alma Jefferson is the Assistant Director.