Inria International Partner: Paola Goatin (Inria) and Alex Bayen (UC Berkeley) formalize their cooperation on traffic management

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Paola Goatin from Inria ACUMES team in Sophia-Antipolis, and Alex Bayen from UC Berkeley (ITS) formalized their on-going collaboration by declaring an “Inria International Partner” on “Optimal REroute Strategies for Traffic managEment” (ORESTE).  


About Inria International Partner

Inria research teams are welcome to declare an “Inria International Partner” in order to give visibility to a strategic on-going international collaboration. For instance, this official recognition allows an associate team that has completed its lifespan to maintain the visibility of the joint research activities and for the partnership to be considered for Inria’s international programs such as post-docs, internships or sabbatical visits. Inria research teams interested in declaring an “Inria International Partner” are invited to contact the European and International Partnerships Department:

About Paola and Alex’s collaboration

P. Goatin ©Inria / Photo Obrenovitch

Alex Bayen
UC Berkeley

Paola and Alex have developed a fruitful scientific collaboration over the years. From 2012 to 2017, they were the co-leaders of the ORESTE Inria@SiliconValley Associate Team, that extended in 2015 to Rutgers University (Prof. Benedetto Piccoli), with the aim to develop a unified macroscopic approach for traffic management by providing analytical and numerical tools for traffic monitoring, prediction and control, based on real-time sensing. In 2017 an Inria@SiliconValley Post-Doc fellowship was awarded to Shuxia Tang to conduct her work on “Smart cities: real-time decision making in traffic management” within the ORESTE associate team. The collaboration was also awarded a France-Berkeley Fund on “Optimal Traffic Flow Management with GPS Enabled Smartphones” (2012-2013). Maria Laura Delle Monache, during her thesis supervised by Paola Goatin was able to participate in research with PhD students in the United States, thanks to the France-Berkeley Fund and the ORESTE associate team, and was awarded in 2017 the “France-Berkeley Fund award for high-achieving younger researchers”, together with Samitha Samaranayake (Cornell University, PhD UC Berkeley supervised by Alex Bayen).

About the ORESTE project

The Associated Team ORESTE (2012-­2017) dealt with traffic flow management via macroscopic models in general, and optimal ramp-metering and rerouting strategies in particular. This led to the development of new macroscopic models for road intersections. At present, the rapidly changing transportation ecosystem opens new challenges in modeling and optimization approaches.

The Inria International Partner ORESTE on “Optimal REroute Strategies for Traffic managEment”  will focus in particular on the two following aspects:

  • Route choice apps impact. The vast use of personal route choice systems through phone applications or other devices is modifying the traditional flow of networks, requiring new models for accounting of the guidance impact. Indeed, routing apps have changed traffic patterns in the US and Europe, leading to new congestion patterns where previously no traffic was observed. Over the last decade, GPS enabled smart phones and connected personal navigation devices have disrupted the mobility landscape. Initially, the availability of traffic information led to better guidance of a small portion of motorists in the system. But as the majority of the driving public started to use apps, the systematic broadcasting of “selfish” best routes led to the worsening of traffic in numerous places, ultimately leading to the first lawsuit against one specific company in particular (Waze) accused to be the cause of these problems. This is just the beginning of an evolution, which, if not controlled and regulated, will progressively asphyxiate urban landscapes (already nearly hundreds of occurrences of this phenomenon are noticed by the popular media, which indicates the presence of probably thousands of such issues in the US alone). Traffic managers are typically not equipped to fix these problems, and typically do not fund this research, as in order to be able to regulate and fix the problem, fundamental science needs to be advanced, modeling and game theory in particular, so remediation can happen (for which the traffic managers are equipped). In this project, the main focus will be on the development and study of new macroscopic dynamical models to describe the aforementioned phenomena, and to explore control strategies to mitigate their impact.
  • Autonomous vehicles. Besides, the foreseen deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) opens new perspectives both in traffic modeling and control. Indeed, CAVs are expected to modify the classical macroscopic traffic dynamics due to their peculiar motion laws, which are more uniform than human drivers’ and follow different rules. Besides, due to their extended information on neighboring traffic conditions, the resulting dynamics would have a non-­‐local character, justifying the use of rapidly developing non­‐local models. In any case, the different behavior of autonomous vehicles requires the design of new multi-­class models capable of accounting for different vehicle classes characteristics and mutual interactions. Moreover, CAVs could be used as endogenous variable speed limiters, thus providing new action points to control traffic flow. Preliminary results show that the presence of few controlled vehicles can positively affect traffic conditions. In this setting, the interaction of AVs with the surrounding traffic can be described by strongly coupled PDE-ODE systems, which have been largely studied by the ACUMES team. Yet, the study of CAVs impact in realistic situations requires further research, in particular towards model validation, for which the Berkeley team will provide the necessary data.

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