Socially-aware evaluation framework for transportation

February 1, 2023

coverUC Berkeley Civil and Environmental Engineering doctoral student Anu Kuncheria, CEE professor Joan L. Walker and Smart Cities Research Center Director Jane Macfarlane recently published Socially-aware evaluation framework for transportation at Transportation Letters:


Technological advancements are rapidly changing traffic management in cities. Navigation applications, in particular, have impacted cities in many ways by rerouting traffic. As different routing strategies distribute traffic differently, understanding these disparities across multiple city-relevant dimensions is extremely important for decision-makers. We develop a multi-themed framework called Socially- Aware Evaluation Framework for Transportation (SAEF), which assists in understanding how traffic routing and the resultant dynamics affect cities. The framework is presented for four Bay Area cities, for which we compare three routing strategies - user equilibrium travel time, system optimal travel time, and system optimal fuel. The results demonstrate that many neighborhood impacts, such as traffic load on residential streets and around minority schools, degraded with the system-optimal travel time and fuel routing in comparison to the user-equilibrium travel time routing. The findings also show that all routing strategies subject the city's disadvantaged neighborhoods to disproportionate traffic exposure. Our intent with this work is to provide an evaluation framework that enables reflection on the consequences of traffic routing and management strategies, allowing city planners to recognize the trade-offs and potential unintended consequences.

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