November 3, 2023

Hani Mahmassani, William A. Patterson Distinguished Chair in Transportation, Northwestern University and Director of the Northwestern University Transportation Center


Will taking to the air solve urban congestion? Evolving technology and service supply models in Urban Air Mobility


1:40pm - 3:00pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


Various emerging technologies and supply business models are envisioned to bring potentially transformative changes to the urban mobility landscape. Focusing on Urban Air Mobility, we consider shared mobility services offered through automated electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles (“flying taxis”), enabled by a new generation of eVTOL aircraft. Various concepts for service operations at urban/regional levels are presented, along with algorithms adapted for the real-time operation of shared air mobility fleets. The congestability of urban air space is examined through microscopic simulation, resulting in the emergence of system fundamental diagrams (for properly defined averages taken over four-dimensional space) comparable in shape to urban road traffic networks.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Hani MahmassaniDr. Hani S. Mahmassani holds the William A. Patterson Distinguished Chair in Transportation at Northwestern University, where he is Director of the Northwestern University Transportation Center. Prior to Northwestern, he served on the faculties of the University of Maryland and the University of Texas at Austin. His research contributions include the areas of intelligent transportation systems, freight and logistics systems, multimodal systems modeling and optimization, pedestrian and crowd dynamics and management, traffic science, demand forecasting and travel behavior, and real-time operation of transportation and distribution systems. He is past editor-in-chief of Transportation Science, senior editor of IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, founding (past) associate editor and current scientific board member of Transportation Research C: Emerging Technologies, Distinguished Advisory Board Member of Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, and associate editor of Transportation Research Record. He is a past president of the Transportation Science Section of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, a past President of the International Association for Travel Behavior Research, and the Convenor of the ISTTT International Advisory Committee. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board, the Research and Technology Advisory Committee of the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, and the Panama Canal Authority’s International Advisory Board. He was the recipient of a Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture of the American University of Beirut in 2006, the Intelligent Transportation Systems Outstanding Application Award of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 2010, the Transportation Research Board (TRB)’s Thomas Deen Distinguished Lectureship in 2016, TRB’s Roy Crum Award for Distinguished Service in 2022, and a Distinguished Engineering Alum of Purdue in 2022. He was elected Emeritus member of TRB committees on Telecommunications and Travel Behavior (2006), Transportation Network Modeling (2007), and Traveler Behavior and Values (2008). He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2021 “for contributions to modeling of intelligent transportation networks and to interdisciplinary collaboration in transportation engineering”. He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in transportation systems and MS in transportation engineering from Purdue University.

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