Utrecht AI & Mobility Lab is a collaboration between Utrecht University, ProRail, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) and Qbuzz. The lab focuses on innovative AI techniques for various mobility domains such as public transportation, intelligent infrastructure, and mobility behaviour of the public.
Traffic movements of people and goods have grown steadily over the years posing major challenges in terms of safety, accessibility, throughput and emissions. The mission of this lab is to meet these challenges by developing innovative AI techniques. In particular, the mobility lab contributes to the fundamental and applied research by developing and integrating data- and model-driven techniques for the optimization of logistics processes such as train schedules and goods transport, personalized online services, decision-support systems for policy and management in the field of mobility and transport, and the construction of intelligent infrastructure for monitoring and controlling traffic.
AI and public transport
NS, ProRail and Qbuzz are leading public transportation organizations in the Netherlands. They face major challenges where AI research can contribute. The Dutch transportation system is heavily loaded. Previous years, there was an enormous passenger growth. Currently, COVID-19 has an impact on the travel patterns and possible usage of vehicles. The system consists of many interlinked parts with a complicated communication and decision structure, making the system prone to disruptions that cascade easily through it. Public bus transportation is becoming more and more electrified. Facilities are located within crowded urban areas resulting is a strong pressure on the capacity. In the area of AI, important issues are the management and control of vehicles, crew, passenger flows, and infrastructure where the objectives are safety, throughput, robustness, sustainability, accessibility and cost-effectiveness.
A selection of Research Topics
Planning sustainable public transport with Qbuzz
To design and develop algorithms for vehicle and crew scheduling that support the transition to electric buses.
Planning at service locations of NS
To design and develop a prototype decision support system for planning at service locations.
Early-warming for out-of-control situations in railway systems
To develop an approach based on complexity science to study the evolution towards oud-of-ontrol situations and to predict these situations.
Marjan van den Akker
ProRail is the railway manager of the Netherlands and responsible for the construction, maintenance, management and safety of the entire railway network.
Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands.
Qbuzz is a public transport company in the Netherlands that operates services in South Holland, Utrecht, Drenthe and Groningen.
Utrecht University is an internationally renowned research university.