Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics



Big Data has opened up several opportunities to obtain new insights on cities. We invite papers at the intersection of the urban social sciences and the data sciences to be presented in an NSF-sponsored workshop to be held on Aug 11-12, 2014, in the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. We hope that the workshop will generate discussions in this emerging area of research, with the goal of long-term community-building on the topic. Travel funds will be available for presenters.

We welcome papers that discuss research results as well as idea pieces of work in progress which highlight research needs and data limitations. Workshop papers will be published in an online workshop proceeding. Selected papers will be published, after additional peer-review, in an edited book.

The objective of the workshop is to bring together researchers with an interest in the use of Big Data for urban analysis. The focus will be on understanding of urban systems, and related examples of urban applications, methods and tools. We are seeking papers that clearly create or use such novel sources of information for urban and regional analysis. Urban and regional analysis spans a broad range of areas. A far from complete list of areas include transportation, environment, public health, land-use, housing, economic development, labor markets, criminal justice, population demographics, urban ecology, energy, community development and public participation.

We invite original research, including position papers, on theoretical developments and applications demonstrating the use of urban Big Data, and the next-generation of Big Data services, tools and technologies for urban informatics. We are interested in papers that use Big Data in one or more of the following five themes:

1)      Theoretical developments and knowledge discovery in urban systems;

2)      Planning and operational uses of urban Big Data;

3)      Urban Big Data measurement, analysis and methodological questions;

4)      Information management for urban informatics;

5)      Institutional issues, organizations, networks and infomediaries in urban Big Data.

Travel funds of up to $700 will be available for a single presenter per paper, on a reimbursement basis. Student presenters will be able to compete for an additional limited pool of funds, for upto an additional $250 per student presenter.

Dates: Extended abstracts of 750-1000 words are due April 1, 2014. Full papers for accepted presenters will be due July 15, 2014.

For more information on the workshop, please visit

For additional information, please contact Prof. Nebiyou Tilahun at ntilahun AT

INSTR 2015 The 6th International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability

I serve on the International Scientific Committee of INSTR, which is announcing its 2015 conference:

The 6th International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability

-The Value of Reliability, Robustness and Resilience-

2-3 August 2015, Nara, Japan

The 6th International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability (INSTR) will be held in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan, from 2-3 August, 2015. The symposium is jointly organised by the Department of Urban Management, Kyoto University, and the Japan Society of Transportation Engineering. The INSTR series is the premier gathering for the world’s leading researchers and professionals interested in transportation network reliability, to discuss both recent research and future directions in this increasingly important field of research.


A special focus of this symposium will be the increasing practical value of reliability improvements for project evaluation. In particular the value of infrastructure investments to improve network resilience to counter large disasters is nowadays a critical issue. Contributions that discuss this issue are specifically encouraged for this symposium though the scope of this conference is wider and includes all aspects of analysis and design to improve network reliability, including;

  •  User perception of unreliability and vulnerability
  • Public policy and reliability of travel times
  • The valuation of reliability
  • The economics of reliability
  • Network reliability modelling and estimation
  • Transportation network robustness and resilience
  • Reliability of public transportation
  • Travel behaviour under uncertainty
  • Risk evaluation and management for transportation networks
  • ITS to improve network reliability
  • Vehicle routing under uncertainty
  • Disaster relief distribution


30 May, 2014 : Submission of extended abstract (1,000 words)
3 September, 2014 : Notification of abstract acceptance
19 December, 2014 : Submission of full papers for peer review
16 March, 2015 : Notification of full paper acceptance
20 May, 2015 : Submission of full, revised papers in camera-ready format


– It is envisaged to arrange special issues in prominent journals with papers drawn from the symposium proceedings. For further details, see

– The 21st International Symposium on Transportation and Traffic Theory (ISTTT21) will be held on the days subsequent to INSTR from 5th to 7th August at Kobe, which is about a 1.5 hours train ride from Nara.

Why must I travel, why can’t I tele-conference

Two times in two days last week I was asked to fly to an east coast city for a half-day meeting. The meeting organizers offered to pay my travel expenses. I asked to save the travel money and tele-conference in via some/any web-based video technology. The organizers declined, saying they weren’t set up to do that.

Seriously, you can pay more than a $1000 to bring me in considering airline tickets, hotel, ground transportation, and meals, but you can’t get your act together to have a room with wireline internet, a camera enabled laptop (aren’t they all now), and Skype or FaceTime or Google Hangouts or any of a hundred other services at a marginal monetary outlay of zero and a time outlay of damn close to that?

I hypothesize one source of the problem is the technological backwardness of the governmental/consulting/advocacy/transportation sector. This is a process of mutual causation. Technological backwardness deters the technologically advanced from entering the sector, reinforcing the backwardness. It’s a wonder there are PCs on people’s desks. It’s no wonder we see no progress. I fully anticipate major changes to the transportation sector to come from outside actors, much like the Google self-driving vehicle because of this innovation aversion.

The second source of the problem might be incentives. I hypothesize the meeting organizers budgeted for travel, and not for information technology. They have no incentive not to spend the budget, the money has to get spent.

The third source of the problem is also incentives. My travel time costs them nothing. My video conferencing takes them a few minutes. No matter their few minutes are a lot less time than my travel, they (not me) are spending it.

I realize video-conferences are not quite as high a resolution in audio or video as being present, and in the hands of the incompetent have meeting-disruptive technical difficulties. But they are good enough for the purposes of this kind of conversation, for which conference calls are often used.

It is not that I object to spending your money, or actually want to save you money. I am not noble in this regard. It is that travel is a major hassle, filled with danger and uncertainty. This is often not worth it for me anymore especially for a less than one-day meeting in a city I have seen plenty of times where

I am doing you a favor by being present (you asked me to attend, not vice versa). Moreover, I don’t want to eat another dinner at an east coast airport.

Update: Bill Lindeke suggests: @trnsprttnst perhaps transportation scholars are inherently biased towards transporting things/people

Nexus at 92nd Transportation Research Board Meeting (TRB 2013)

Nexus group members (myself included) and affiliated researchers will again be presenting papers at next week’s Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington DC. Our papers are listed below. (I will be at many, but not all of these places). We hope to see you there.

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Day and Time Session Session Name/Article Name Place
Sunday 173 Aligning Organizations with Needs of Their 21st Century Missions Hilton, Georgetown East
1:30PM- 4:30PM   Enterprising Roads: Alternative Governance for America’s Highways  
Monday 280 Planning Applications: Sustainability and Transportation Networks Hilton, Lincoln West
10:15AM- 12:00PM   Network Structure and the Journey to Work: Intrametropolitan Analysis  
Monday 413 Innovations in Statewide Multimodal Planning Hilton, International Center
4:15PM- 6:00PM   Understanding the Impact of Gasoline Price Changes on Traffic Safety: A Time Geography Approach  
Monday 424 Understanding Interactions at Transit Stop and Route Levels: Tools to Estimate Accessibility and Demand Hilton, International Center
4:15PM- 6:00PM   The Time Between: Continuously Defined Accessibility Functions for Schedule-Based Transportation Systems  
Tuesday 504 Emerging Learning Environments to Meet the Needs of the Transportation Workforce of Tomorrow Hilton, International Center
8:30AM- 10:15AM   Multiagent Route Choice Game for Transportation Engineering  
Tuesday 691 Transportation Agglomeration and Network Effects in Urban and Rural Economies Hilton, Columbia Hall 8
7:30PM- 9:30PM   Agglomeration, Accessibility, and Productivity: Evidence for Urbanized Areas in the United States  
    Rural Highway Expansion and Economic Development: Impacts on Private Earnings and Employment  
Wednesday 733 Finding Our Way: Modeling Route Choice Hilton, International Center
8:30AM- 10:15AM   Route Choice Dynamics After a Link Restoration  
    Network Structure and Travel Time Perception  
Wednesday 731 Activity and Travel Behavior Mega-Session Hilton, International Center
8:30AM- 10:15AM   Uncovering Influence of Commuters’ Perception on Reliability Ratio  
Wednesday 724 Safety: Performance, Data, and New Advances, Part 1 (Part 2, Session 725) Marriott, Salon 2
8:30AM- 10:15AM   Urban-Rural Difference of Gasoline Price Effects on Traffic Safety

Infrastructure and Land Policies: The International Land Policy Conference

I am going to be at this Monday and Tuesday of next week, as a discussant on a paper about transport and land development.
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy:
“Infrastructure and Land Policies: The International Land Policy Conference
Date(s): June 4 – 5, 2012
Time: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Location(s): The Charles Hotel, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Tuition: FREE
Participation in this program is by invitation only.”

Nexus Group @ TRB

Nexus group research will be presented at the Transportation Research Board conference in Washington DC, next week. Details of sessions are below, along with links to the papers:

Type No. Sponsor Session Location Time
Workshop 173 ABE10 Analyzing the Risks and Rewards of Public-Private Partnerships Hilton, Georgetown East Jan 22 2012 1:30PM- 4:30PM
Session 328 ABG20 Alternative Pedagogical Strategies and Tools for Effective Learning (paper) Hilton, Columbia Hall 5 Jan 23 2012 1:30PM- 3:15PM
Poster Session 352 ABE20 Issues in Transportation Economics: Marginal Cost of Travel, Value of Time, Value of Reliability, Vehicle Miles Traveled, and Economic Activity (paper) Hilton, International Center Jan 23 2012 2:00PM- 3:45PM
Poster Session 600 ABJ30 Taking Urban Data to New Heights: New Sources, New Techniques,and New Applications (paper) Hilton, International Center Jan 24 2012 2:00PM- 3:45PM
Session 622 ADD30 “Where” Matters: New Evidence and Approaches to Analyzing Location Choice (paper) Hilton, Columbia Hall 7 Jan 24 2012 3:45PM- 5:30PM
Poster Session 711 ADB10 Innovations in Activity and Travel Behavior (paper) Hilton, International Center Jan 25 2012 8:30AM- 10:15AM
Session 768 ADB10 Route Choice Modeling (e-Session) (paper) Hilton, International East Jan 25 2012 2:30PM- 4:00PM

Bit City: 2011: Transportation, Data and Technology in Cities

I will be at BitCity 2011 in New York, November 4th.
David King is one of the organizers, and discusses it here:

Getting from here to there: Announcing Bit City: 2011: Transportation, Data and Technology in Cities.

World Society for Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR)

The inaugural World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research
(WSTLUR) was held in Whistler, BC on July 27-30, featuring over 40
peer reviewed papers (submitted to the Journal of Land Use and
Transport, and keynote addresses from Ed Glaeser (Harvard),
Robert Cervero (UC Berkeley) and David Bannister (Oxford). Please see for the program and links to presentations and even
audio recordings of the keynotes.
The steering committee is now forming the World Society for Transport
and Land Use Research (WSTLUR), who will be charged with organizing a
subsequent symposium in 2014 and other aims of the Society. The
mission statement—broadly, to cultivate an interdisciplinary research
community/agenda— is below.
Members of the society will elect the board (11 seats are open); the
board will then select its officers. (Please see bylaws posted at ; Kevin J. Krizek, University of Colorado, has been
appointed chair of the elections committee). If you are interested in
participating in this exciting international endeavor, we encourage
you to become a member of the society. Attendees of the World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research
(WSTLUR) are already members.
Fees are $75 for three years
and can be registered by going to .
Elections for the board will commence Sept 15, 2011; if you are
interested in becoming a member and voting in the election, please
become a member by September 9, 2011.
If you or someone you know is interested in serving on the board,
please send a nomination to Kevin J. Krizek ( by
September 9. Anyone can nominate members for the board, however,
nominees must be (or become) a registered member of the society. A nomination
consists of:
-Name of the nominee
-Current position and affiliation
-A narrative (not to exceed 80 words and written in the third person),
describing the nominee’s activities, broadly speaking, in the area of
integrated transport-land use research.
Self nominations are allowed and all nominations need to be accepted
by the nominee. Please end only one email to Kevin J. Krizek
documenting the above process with the nominee’s full name in the
subject heading. (Self nominees would need to send only one email;
others would send one email with acceptance embedded).
Should you have any questions, please contact
Kevin J. Krizek (University of Colorado) at
The purpose of WSTLUR is to promote the understanding and analysis of
the interdisciplinary interactions of transport and land use and to
provide a forum for debate and a mechanism for the dissemination of
information. More specifically the aims include:
1. The exchange and dissemination of information at an international
level on all aspects of the theory, analysis, modeling, and evaluation
of transport-land use interactions and related policy.
2. The encouragement of high-quality research and application in the
above areas, through debates, publication, and promotion.
3. The provision of a clearinghouse for information on recent
developments in the field and to foster contacts among professionals
within and between various countries and different disciplines.
4. The promotion of international conferences, seminars, and workshops
on all aspects of transport-land use interaction.
5. The representation of the viewpoints of members to appropriate
national and international bodies, as required by the membership.
6. The preparation of regular communications to facilitate the above aims.

Transportation at TED

Some TED Talks about Transportation
Bill Ford:
Shai Agassi
Robin Chase
Sebastian Thrun
Dennis Hong
Dean Kaman
Paul Moller
Gary Lauder
Jaime Lerner
Steven Levitt