Optimization strategies for transportation

October 31 to November 4, 2016

at the

American Institute of Mathematics, San Jose, California

organized by

Chris Augenstein, George Naylor, and Bala Rajaratnam

Original Announcement

This workshop will examine new and different methods for optimizing transit efficiencies and estimating new transit services in emerging or underserved markets using applied mathematical research for the area served by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). The major goal will be to define an efficient service based on optimizing a discreet set of constraints driven by systematic mathematical methodologies and analysis, developing a system responsive to meeting travel demands based on a transit route structure unfettered by past route structures, historical service patterns or institutional constraints.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is the operator of the bus and light rail transit system for Santa Clara County. Service is provided using a mix of service types, including long-haul express bus service, local bus service, limited stop service and light rail service, addressing the transportation needs of a variety of users. Ridership and utilization of transit services has been characterized with stagnating patronage that has essentially been flat for the past decade, along with a farebox recovery ratio (the percent of the cost of operations covered by passenger fares) currently at 12 percent, one of the lowest ratios compared to peer transit agencies. These trends stand in marked contrast to overall employment and population growth in both Santa Clara County and the Bay Area as a whole, which has increased significantly over the past several years, particularly in the employment sectors. However, the challenges facing the VTA are not unique, as many regions with similar development patterns have seen reduced or stagnating demand for transit services.

The specific goals of the workshop are:

It is anticipated that the successful workshop will result in the development of specific problem statements that clearly define research elements that can then be advanced through future research and development. A critical outcome will be a framework that defines existing and potential new research programs and identifying possible funding sources. It is anticipated that the definition of specific problem statements can be used by the VTA to establish an agency research program as well as develop partnerships with regional planning agencies and local research institutions to further refine and solve problem statements. Transferability of experiences to other urban areas with similar issues of diminished transit demand and variable transit effectiveness will also be a key outcome of the workshop.

Material from the workshop

A list of participants.

A report on the workshop activities.