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September 09, 2006, 2:30 PM

Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination

Participants: Murat F. Aycin, Hani Mahmassani, David J. Pine, Alan Pollack (moderator), Roger P. Roess, Michael Schreckenberg

Traffic is a quotidian problem affecting everyone and occasioning simple emotions (rage, frustration, regret ... about not having taken a better route), while requiring complex models in order to facilitate appropriate responses in prevailing conditions. But while visionaries like Robert Moses have tried to create all-encompassing systems -- as Bauhaus did when it introduced the notion of form following function -- their plans have been foiled by the enormity of the task. Urban thoroughfares, parkways, and interstates all pose different types of problems. These variables are not finite, since at any moment any number of new factors and contingencies may be added. Probability and chaos are words often used in conjunction with traffic, but what is modern traffic science? How are imagination, innovation and originality brought to bear on the drama of human intention that plays itself out on the open road?

Murat F. Aycin works at KLD Associates, internationally recognized for developing and applying computer simulation models to traffic and transportation to solve cutting edge transportation problems and conceptualize their solutions.

Hani Mahmassani is Charles Irish Sr. Chaired Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland and Editor-in-Chief of Transportation Science. He specializes in dynamic network modeling and optimization, and dynamics of user behavior in congested systems.

David J. Pine is Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Soft Matter Research at New York University.

Alan Pollack is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Newton, MA, and is director of psychotherapy training at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from M.I.T.

Roger P. Roess is Professor of Transportation Engineering and Head of the Department of Engineering at Polytechnic University. He is author of numerous publications on traffic engineering.

Michael Schreckenberg is Chair of the Department of the Physics of Transport and Traffic at the University of Duisburg-Essen.


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