Smart Bridge between Tokyo and Arizona: A Collaborative Journey in Sustainable Urban Mobility [UTokyo-IIS Bulletin Vol.13]

Two researchers from UTokyo-IIS and Arizona State University (ASU) have embarked on an impressive collaborative research project in Sustainable Urban Mobility. The workshop they organized highlighted discussions on pathways to the future of this field. What contributions can Japan make towards building a sustainable society, a universal challenge? Insights into this question are found in their collaborative efforts.

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What are the "Pathways to the Future" in Sustainable Urban Mobility? Transport researchers around the world are striving to answer this question.

Associate Professor Yudai Honma from IIS and Associate Professor Xuesong Zhou from ASU are at the forefront of this endeavor. They collaborate to unravel the complexities of Sustainable Urban Mobility through mathematical modeling. Their research encompasses a variety of topics, including the dynamic location analysis of electric vehicle infrastructure, outlier detection in traffic data, and the development of open data for detailed road network datasets.

Thanks to funding from both JSPS and NSF grants, they organized the NSF Workshop titled "Discover the 'Pathways to the Future' - Connecting Communities through Sustainable Urban Mobility." This event, held on October 15th in Phoenix, Arizona, was co-hosted by the ITS Center at IIS, ASU, and the Maricopa Association of Governments. It marked a significant milestone in the field.

The workshop featured keynotes from renowned transportation researchers Dr. David Boyce and Dr. Hani Mahmassani, whose contributions to transportation are highly influential. Professor Takashi Oguchi, Director of the ITS Center at IIS, and Honma delivered a notable presentation titled "Strategic Innovation: Japan's Interdisciplinary Approach to Sustainable Mobility." The event included panel discussions on AI and new technologies, and future student-led panels, attracting nearly 100 in-person attendees and close to 300 online participants. It was an exceptional opportunity for participants to engage and collaborate closely.

During his sabbatical in Arizona, Honma observed that Arizona is at the forefront of smart mobility, as seen in its widespread use of autonomous vehicles. This showcases a vision of future transportation from a Japanese perspective. Japan excels in cross-disciplinary collaboration, evident in strategic innovations in sustainable mobility and autonomous vehicles. The country's expertise in high-speed rail technology and the presence of numerous global automobile companies also indicate its significant potential contribution to sustainable smart mobility worldwide.

This collaborative research and workshop underscore the global effort towards sustainable urban mobility, showcasing unique strengths and contributions. The researchers are exploring various concrete strategies to deepen ties between IIS and ASU, aiming to establish themselves as global hubs in the transportation sector. A "smart bridge" is steadily forming between Tokyo and Arizona, paving the way for future advancements.


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