Project Title: Smart Cities, Smart Grid, and Intelligent Transportation Systems

Faculty Sponsor: Stephen Turner

Department: Computer Science

Telephone: 810.766.6693


Project Description: This project has multiple aims, although the method of inquiry primarily involves computer simulation using certain highly available software to include MATLAB and Matsim.

I have several thrusts in the research that primarily involve road traffic simulation in intelligent transportation systems (ITS), as well as some experiments related to interaction of smart parking lots with the Smart Grid.  The ITS simulations will involve programming in the Matsim simulator to address questions related to congestion control in road traffic in large urban areas.  Specific research questions:

  • Given a certain offered load (in terms of number of cars), where is the point at which congestion becomes too high and throughput (in terms of the number of cars getting to their intended destinations) drops?  For the purposes of this, I'll call it a critical point
  • Under the same conditions, I will examine proposed strategies to reduce this congestion to a level below the critical point to improve system throughput, reduce travel time, save fuel costs, etc.

The smart parking lot is related to this but has a different thrust.  Here, MATLAB is employed to examine charging strategies that have the goal of reducing load on the electrical grid.  Certain variables will be examined to compare various charging strategies:

  • Presence/absence of battery banks at the smart parking lot, for purposes of charging plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and reducing load on the grid
  • Use of the PEVs themselves as "banks of batteries"
  • Strategies for rewarding certain charging/discharging behavior

Student Tasks & Responsibilities:  Primarily, the student will be programming in the C programming language in MATLAB, as well as using Java within the Matsim simulator.

Minimum Student Qualifications: Programming skills in C, C++, and/or Java.