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Sustainable Urban Development & Competitiveness (SUDC) Project

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Rapid technological advancements and an increasing emphasis on sustainability provide smart city planners and managers with more opportunities and challenges than ever before. A smart city composed of various operational systems, networks, infrastructures, and environments can be improved and optimized through the application of advanced technology and analytics solutions. A smart city is one that utilizes self-managing autonomic technologies and artificial intelligence to identify its functions and promote prosperity and sustainability. This kind of urban system involves some of the most promising city management and development strategies worldwide.

Focusing this broad vision for urban development, the Sustainable Urban Development & Competitiveness (SUDC) project at SCIGC specifically looks to develop new modeling tools that enable re-creation and adaptation of our urban automobile transportation infrastructure systems in light of fast emerging autonomous vehicle technologies.  The introduction of autonomous vehicles onto the road is not as simple as “adding autonomous vehicles into the existing fleet.” Simply adding such vehicles does not leverage many of the greatest opportunities associated with an increasing fraction of autonomous vehicles (i.e. caravanning of autonomous vehicles).  Likewise, it is not as simple as “rebuilding our roads, bridges, and urban streets to suit autonomous vehicles”.  Worldwide, the automobile infrastructure network would cost trillions of dollars to replace or adapt over a short time period, while at the same time crippling the economy of our cities with construction-related traffic congestion.  This project lays the fundamental groundwork for developing, rethinking, redeveloping, and/or rebuilding our automobile transportation infrastructure system in a series of measured, cost-efficient, and optimal projects that will prepare this transportation network for the next century of automobile transportation.

The SUDC project is intended to begin answering a number of fundamental research questions regarding the initial planning and renewal of our automobile infrastructure in an era of fast increasing percentages of autonomous vehicles.  What are the effects of infrastructure planning and renewal activities on the existing network performance?  How can unwanted effects be mitigated?  What are the best options for planning and renewing our automobile infrastructure to accommodate autonomous vehicles in the fleet?  These questions span across scales of the built infrastructure and between technologies and technology platforms that are core to the future of transportation planning in smart cities globally.