UTS research in Network Planning & Optimisation encompasses two broad research approaches:
- Descriptive research that investigates and documents critical relationships within the structure of urban transport (and land-use) systems. Research in this area contributes to the emerging global body of knowledge called the Science of Cities and seeks to describe networks from a whole of system perspective.
- Prescriptive methods, models and frameworks used to plan, optimise and evaluate changes to transport systems to improve the Level Of Service for users and customers.
Both research areas at UTS lead with questions focussed on improving customer service and are heavily orientated toward the deployment of new technologies to monitor and improve network performance.
Role of new technology
The last decade has seen rapid advancement in a raft of new communication and digital information technologies. These are now a familiar and ubiquitous part of many people’s lives.
Meanwhile there have also been dramatic advances in sensing technologies.
These are providing access to information that were previously not available. This will have a profound impact on transport, especially network planning and optimisation, as detailed data on passenger trip behaviour becomes available through electronic ticketing systems like OPAL in Sydney. Combining these with service performance data collected through GPS and a range of other on-board monitoring sensors come on-line from big data collated by sophisticated data management platforms.
UTS research is currently focussed on development of new methods and approaches that leverage these new data sources. The outcome is likely to change many of the ideas we have about how people use urban transport networks as we see behaviour in all its complexity for the first time.
But in the end, the aim must be the same — leveraging the network features of physical infrastructures and operating procedures across transport modes to raise service levels at least cost while enhancing customer experience and improving system sustainability.