TU Berlin

Verkehrssystemplanung und VerkehrstelematikSmartPT

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SmartPT: Smart Adaptive Public Transport

Project description

The transport system is polarized: Either fully private (cars/taxis) or fully public and regulated (PT). Intermediate modes are hardly significant. For PT routes and timetables are mostly static and services have difficulty to adapt to gradual changes in demand. This demand- Supply mismatch brings PT to an ineffective equilibrium where PT users are mostly captives - the young, the elderly and low income households.

Our approach is to systemically analyze the discrepancy between travel demand and existing urban transit supply. We develop core algorithms of seamless adaptation of the inflexible transit supply to the current population activities and further PT evolution following up the gradually changing urban population patterns and evaluate these algorithms with a spatiotemporally explicit high resolution agent-based simulation models using both synthetic and real historical data of urban dynamics. We develop the pathways and policies for implementing SMART-PT approach in case studies of the project teams and investigate the potential impacts of this approach on end-users, service providers and regulators.

The key idea is to move the public transport service from its current state to an optimal state. The first stage is to understand in detail where and when people want to travel. This is done by mining the data from ICT sources – namely mobile phone call data records (CDRs). The next step involves creating and recognizing the flows of passengers and anticipating the possible changes in the spatiotemporal distribution of the demand in the future. Once demand projections are conducted we formulate the operational alternatives to accommodate the demand. This is done via genetic algorithms in agent-based simulations which try to find a solution that survives over time. Only good solutions will be adopted by the agent-passengers.

The model then evaluates and assesses the suggested alterations to the public transport network – are these small changes like switching between vehicles or timetable adaptations or are these big changes that require rerouting the lines of the service and changing mode of travel. The final result is a set of changes for implementation whereby decreases in demand will reduce the level of service e.g. change from regular bus line to paratransit or demand responsive taxi while increases in demand will bring about intensification of the services. The cycle then begins anew in the next time period (e.g. after 6 months or so).


The project outpts will be:

SmartPT Interface: A system for collecting and analyzing real or synthetic data on land-use/activity dynamics and users flows and providing spatiotemporal forecasts of demand

SmartPT Kernel: A set of core algorithms that adapt PT operations to user demand by substituting modes and varying their routes and schedules

SmartPT Sim: A spatially explicit high-resolution Agent-Based simulation environment that enables validation and sensitivity analyses of the SmartPT functioning in the city

SmartPT Policy: A set of implementable policy measures and a participatory gaming platform for the seamless transition from inflexible to adaptive PT and further evolution of the transit system following evolving urban population pattern and end-user activities.


The research framework will be employed for developing a proof-of-concept and investigate its effectiveness in case studies in Tel-Aviv, Stockholm and Leuven.


Project partners

Tel Aviv University, Geography and Geosim lab. Contact: Prof. Dr. Itzhak Benenson

Ben Gurion University, Geography. Contact: Dr. Eran Ben-Elia

Hasselt University, Transportation Research Institute. Contact: Prof. Dr. Ansar Yasar

KTH Stockholm, Transport Science.  Contacts: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Flötteröd, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Meijer

Poznan University of Technology, Institute of Motor Machines and Motor Vehicles. Contact: Dr. Michal Maciejewski

Senozon Deutschland GmbH.  Contacts: Dr. Thomas Haupt, Daniel Röder, Dr. Andreas Neumann

Buur (Bureau Urbanisme).  Contact: Johan van Reeth

Funding agency

Unfunded on German side

Other information

Publications: see here



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