Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pedestrian Modeling Overview

In the past, there has been a large amount of work done to model pedestrians for various systems. For the many applications, such as urban planning, construction of high pedestrian density buildings such as rail stations, there are naturally many forms that pedestrian modelling can take. This article lists and describes many different types of pedestrian modeling including the cellular automata and agent-based approaches that we are taking in this project. Though slightly dated, it provides a good foundation for understanding the work that has already been completed in this field.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Combining cellular automata and intelligent agents

These 2 papers (A Multi-Agent Cellular Automata Model of Pedestrian
, PEDFLOW: Development of an Autonomous Agent Model of Pedestrian Flow) use a cellular automata system to model pedestrian traffic and overlay that with an intelligent agent system for when the pedestrians have options for where they can move. A cellular automata system is basically a set of rules that dictate for each pedestrian in the model what they should do in the next time step based on their current state. The state of a pedestrian is a combination of their location, individual characteristics of that pedestrian such as how much personal space they like to keep between themselves and others, and the portion of the outside world that that pedestrian can "see." We are going to try to use something like this in our model.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Presentation on Current Progress and Methodology

For the past two weeks, we have been finalizing our practical methodology and gathering data from the various areas of study as outlined in our proposal.  Today we presented some slides to Prof. Gibson that detail our progress thus far.  It also includes our methodology that has been revised from our work in the field and from consultation with Fabio Carerra and the rest of the VPC staff. Below is an example of some of the material presented, a map detailing the locations of the bridges that we have started to study.

The green circles are our highest priority bridges, the pink squares are the secondary bridges.

The full set of slides is available for download here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Salute Evacuation Model

We have arrived in Venice! While our team becomes acclimated to the new environment, we would like to share a portion of our previous work.
One of the primary reasons for studying pedestrian traffic is to get an idea on how pedestrians would behave in an evacuation scenario, so policies can be put in place by city officials to manage crises as efficiently and safely as possible.

Using code from a previous IQP, who examined mostly boat movement, we have put together a rough simulation of an evacuation of the area around the Salute church during the Nov 21 Festa della Salute.

There is a video here, and our code can be found here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Venetian Mobility: Modeling Movement by Land and Sea

We are pleased to announce that the proposal for the 2009 WPI Interactive Qualifying Project, Venetian Mobility: Modeling Movement by Land and Sea has been finalized and made available for viewing by the general public. This proposal represents seven weeks of focused and intensive work by our project team.

We would also like to acknowledge several individuals for their help in the creation of this proposal:

Fabio Carrera
Daniel Gibson
Stephen Guerin
Simon Mehalek
Andrea Mancuso
Christine Friese
Oljora Rezhdo

Moving forward, we are excitedly approaching our arrival in Venice and preparing accordingly.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Feast-day of the Madonna della Salute

"The Festa della Salute is probably the least "touristy" of the Venetian festivities and evokes strong religious feelings among the city's inhabitants.

The holiday is, like the Redentore, in memory of another bout of pestilence, which lasted for two years from 1630-31, and the subsequent vow by the Doge to obtain the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

Even today, thousands of inhabitants visit the main altar of the imposing Salute Church on November 21 to give thanks, and a strong symbolic tie remains between the city and the Virgin Mary."

For our project, this event will give us a valuable opportunity to examine the behavior of pedestrians in large densely packed crowds. Not only will we be able to use this data as a comparison point for our pedestrian model, but we can also use this event as a focus point for a model simulation of an evacuation event. A map containing the location of the temporary bridge is here.

View Salute Event in a larger map

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vaporetti Map

The city of Venice has a public transportation system that consists of "water buses" or vaporetti that move around the city by a set network of stops, as seen on the right.  These traverse the city and also go to Marco Polo Airport, Lido, and Murano, among other key locations. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Once we get the pedestrian data while in Venice, we will need to give context to the data in the form geographic locations in Venice. Thankfully, software for this purpose already exists, and is called GIS (Geographic Information Services). The software that has been used in the past is MapInfo. From there website "MapInfo Professional® is a powerful Microsoft® Windows®-based mapping and geographic analysis application from the experts in location intelligence. Designed to easily visualize the relationships between data and geography, MapInfo Professional helps business analysts, planners, GIS professionals – even non-GIS users – gain new insights into their markets, share information-rich maps and graphs and improve strategic decision-making." The 30 day evaluation version can be found here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


We are going to be using the NetLogo system to create an intelligent agent based model for pedestrian traffic in Venice. A useful tutorial can be found here. I have gone through the tutorial and am confident that this will be a very nice system to work with while creating our model. It is an IDE using a form of Logo that has been tailored to be used with intelligent agents. The syntax is pretty simple, so coding shouldn't be an issue.

IQP - Moving Around Venice

Our predecessor group, the Moving Around Venice project "refined tools to assist in managing Venice’s boat and pedestrian traffic. [They] monitored boat traffic at 19 intersections in Venice to improve the accuracy of a boat traffic model being developed by the Redfish Group. The completed model can be used to simulate the impact of changes in boat traffic regulations. Concurrently, [they] developed a pedestrian monitoring methodology to characterize behaviors of pedestrians in Venice. [They] used these behaviors to develop a model that can be used to manage plateatici (public spaces rented to private entities), which frequently encroach on pedestrian thoroughfares." By greatly expanding the pedestrian model to achieve the scope of the already actualized boat model, we hope to reach a point where the two models can be integrated, forming a comprehensive image of Venetian mobility. We will be expanding on the multimedia aspects especially, as getting the data out of the model is as if not more important than getting it in.

Some notable videos and links:
The map of venice and autonomous boat traffic
3D video of typical conditions found in Campo San Filippo e Giacomo
Netlogo project code

Group Biography

Jason Gabriel

-Majoring in Aerospace engineering with a triple minor in Physics, Music, and Aerospace Studies

-Can organize anything and is proficient with the Microsoft office suite

-Has a Pilot’s License

Kara Greenfield

-Is double majoring in Math and Computer Science, with minor in Music.

-Does extensive database systems research and some in graph theory, and writes a significant amount of code.

-Knows Java, C, C++, Python, Pearl, VB, XML, HTML, XHTML, Scheme, UML, Matlab, Maple, Lisp, PG, RefWorks

-Can solve Rubik’s cube in 20 seconds

Chris Aloisio

-Majoring in Robotics Engineering

-Knows C, C++, Java, Python, Assembly, Matlab, Maple, Solidworks, and French

-Plays the bassoon

Alex Kelly

-Majoring in Society, Technology, & Policy

-Is the group's head writer, with a policy and government background

-Once met Chevy Chase from SNL, who said that he was going to do something inappropriate with Senator John Kerry

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Venice Survey Areas (googlemap)

These are areas of interest for studying traffic patterns in Venice. The highlighted zones are canal entrances to the city, the grand canal, and the "Tourist Triangle." The Tourist Triangle is the region highest in tourist traffic between Piazza San Marco, the Rialto and the Accademia. These are the locations with the highest density of traffic, the Tourist Triangle for pedestrian traffic, and the others for boat traffic. Any detailed analysis and counting of traffic in Venice must include these areas.
View Venice Tourism in a larger map

IQP on Canal Parking space

"This project gathered data about the interaction between boat traffic and parking in Venice, Italy in order to identify criteria for the allocation of permanent and temporary parking permits. To monitor and implement these changes, [They] designed an electronic parking management system to assist the city in reducing the amount of time needed to process permitapplications. The implementation of this system will thus benefit both the citizens and the city, and will help decrease the cost of traffic congestion."

IQP - The Moto Ondoso Index: Assessing the Effects of Boat Traffic in the Canals of Venice

"This project, sponsored by the Consorzio Trasportatori Riuniti Veneziani, and Pax in Aqua, located in Venice, Italy created an index for ranking the energy level of each canal segment in the Venetian canal system. Boat traffic in the canals produces wake that erodes and destroys the walls of the canals, causing structural problems to the city. Wake heights of different boat types were measured, and the energy released by these wakes was calculated. The index was then created by assessing canal traffic patterns combined with the amount of energy released by different boat types when traveling at different speeds with different payloads. Additionally, this project suggested new traffic regulations that would reduce the total amount of energy in the canal system, and analyzed how probable traffic pattern scenarios would affect energy levels."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

European "ADA"

International standard for classifying and categorizing types of handicaps and mobility impairments - Italy uses this method to determine the handicap accessibility of their cities

An artistic (but still somewhat technical) take on Venitian Tourism

relevant stuff starts on about page 80

Average Commute Times

Below is a googleanswers page, which in and of itself is not a particularly strong source, but it includes legitimate links to other pages. According to the BBC, Italian commute times on average are 23 minutes, compared to the 32 minute Venetian commute we have already found, this is a strange comparison. Even stranger still when you consider that the city of Venice is roughly three miles from end to end.

Here is the payscale data for various cities in Venice.

Venice Boat traffic counts

A recent IQP continuing counting boats by type.  They have some good information based around various intersections.  We could use this info in addition to our our to generate a comprehensive model of boat and pedestrian traffic.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Venice, the Tourist Maze book

Venice, The Tourist Maze: A Cultural Critique of the World's Most Touristed City by Davis and Martin. It is a detailed book on Venice and its history through the filter of tourism. The book examines the various facets of the city, and is a great resource for anyone interested in Venice.

For information on the tourist triangle, see page 98. A chapter called Contested Ground starts on page 105 and details differences between citizens and tourists, and how the heavy tourism industry can adversely effect the local inhabitants.

Automated Pedestrian Counting Measures

This is a useful article from UC Berkeley that describes automated counting systems.  Rather than counting pedestrians by hand to model the local traffic, one of these measures could be used to simplify the process.  It is unlikely that any of these will be used within the next couple of months, but it can provide a basis for future efforts.  Included in the possible measures are cameras with software, and passive I/R counter arrays.  A table with a full breakdown of each type discussed and evaluated starts on page 8.

Detector Networks

UTMC (2000) Review of Current and Future Data Requirements and Detector Technologies and
the Implications for UTMC, Urban Traffic Management and Control, Deliverable 2.


"The UTMC26 project aims to produce an assessment of the best practice deployment strategies for multi-purpose detector networks. The first stage of the work is concerned primarily with providing a comprehensive understanding of the users’ data requirements, and of the parameters that may be measured now and in the near future through a review of the range of detectors."

Pedestrian Demand Modelling of Large Cities

Desyllas, J., Duxbury, E., Ward, J., Smith A,. (2003)Pedestrian Demand Modelling of Large Cities: An Applied Example from London. Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis Working Paper 62, University College London.


"This paper introduces a methodology for the development of city wide pedestrian demand models and shows its application to London. The approach used for modelling is Multiple Regression Analysis of independent variables against the dependent variable of observed pedestrian flows. The test samples were from manual observation studies of average total pedestrian flow per hour on 237 sample sites. The model will provide predicted flow values for all 7,526 street segments in the 25 square kilometres of Central London. It has been independently validated by Transport for London and is being tested against further observation data. The longer term aim is to extend the model to the entire greater London area and to incorporate additional policy levers for use as a transport planning and evaluation tool."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Traffic planning textbooks

Traffic engineering [by] F. D. Hobbs and B. D. Richardson isn't specifically geared towards pedestrian traffic, but it should be a good place to gather basic information on traffic in general. The information should be at least partially extensible to pedestrian and boat traffic

Pedestrian planning and design [by] John J. Fruin is a more focused book, dealing specifically with pedestrian traffic. This should give us information on how a pedestrian focused transportation system should function.

Urban Maintenance and Venetian Accessibility IQP

This IQP from last year looked at mobility in Venice and basically set the stage for our project. It placed an emphasis on handicap travel within Venice within the larger scope of mobility as a whole. It looks to have a lot of valuable sources as well.