Saturday, May 7, 2016

Follow us on

In a minor rebranding, we are now CityX formerly known as City Science. The new website is up and running. Old links will gradually change to new ones. Old pages will get updated over time. From now on, please follow us on our new website The NEWS page contain exciting news about our team. See you there. Thank you.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sidewalk Labs by Google

Sidewalk Labs is an interesting start up by Google
"We’re on the brink of a historic period for cities around the world. By 2050, the population in cities will double, intensifying existing socioeconomic, public health and environmental problems. At the same time, innovations in technology can be used to design communities that are more efficient, responsive and resilient. Sidewalk Labs aims to foster the development of technology products, platforms and infrastructure that help improve life in cities around the world." - from 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Position in Transportation at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

We are seeking highly motivated and talented applicants contributing to our growing multidisciplinary research in traffic and transportation science at the Institute of Transport Studies at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Applicants should hold a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Operations Research, Applied Mathematics, or Physics and should be interested in transportation systems research. Preferred background and experience include traffic modeling, transportation network modeling, stochastic analysis, optimization, machine learning and MATLAB computer programming. The research topics will be in the area of complex networks in transportation, network traffic modeling and control, and housing and transportation costs modeling and affordability measurements. The candidate will perform research with a substantial theoretical component that will be published in peer-reviewed major international journals and conferences. The position also includes supervision of graduate and undergraduate students and participating in outreach activities.

Applicants who are very close to finish their Ph.D. degree are highly encouraged to apply. The position is available immediately for duration of one year, with the possibility of extension for the second year depending on funding availability. A competitive annual salary of $60,000-$70,000 including 9.5% superannuation will be offered. The call for applications will remain open until the position is filled. The starting date is flexible, but ideally would be in March 2016.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Meead Saberi or Dr. Mohsen Ramezani, submitting their complete CV and contact information for two references.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Science of Cities by Michael Batty

Last Friday Michael Batty was presenting in Melbourne, thanks to a joint event by AURIN and CSIRO. I read Batty's book on "New Science of Cities" about two years ago. My interest in cities and networks formed when I first read Batty's book and then Newman's book on networks. Since then, I've been trying to apply theories from network science to urban/transportation data with a touch of visualization to better understand cities, mostly focusing on Melbourne.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Changing Melbourne 2.0: How socio-demographic characteristics of Melbourne are changing over time (2006-2011)

Cities are dynamic, connected, and complex systems that are constantly evolving in many and varied ways. Melbourne, identified as the most liveable city in the world by The Economist's liveability ranking 2011-2015, is home to more than 4 million residents. Melbourne’s population is expected to grow to between 7.6 and 9.8 million in 2061. Melbourne is also one of the largest contributors to wealth and energy consumption in Australia.

In this project, we use visual analytics to demonstrate how socio-demographic characteristics of Melbourne are changing over years. We use data from ABS Census 2006 and 2011 to provide a comparative analysis. We have developed a series of dot maps in which each dot is a person counted in the Census. Our goal here is to improve our understanding of Melbourne, as a “living” system, and to provide insights into creating a data-driven approach to urban design and planning. The project is supported by a joint seed funding from the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Information Technologies at Monash University in collaboration with Prof. Kim Marriott, Dr. Tim Dwyer, and Prof. Majid Sarvi.

Link to the project:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Complex Network Perspective for Characterizing Urban Travel Demand Patterns

Recent Working Paper:

Saberi, M., Hosseini, A., Mahmassani, H., Brockmann, D. A Complex Network Perspective for Characterizing Urban Travel Demand Patterns. [Working Paper]
Urban travel demand, consisting of millions of origin-destination trips, can be viewed as a large-scale network. The paper introduces a complex network-motivated approach to understand, characterize and model urban travel demand patterns. We compare selected network characteristics of travel demand patterns in two cities, presenting a comparative network-theoretic analysis of Chicago and Melbourne. The proposed approach develops an interdisciplinary and quantitative framework to understand and model dynamical aspects of mobility in urban areas. Statistical properties of the complex network of urban trips of the selected cities are explored. We show that travel demand networks exhibit similar properties despite their differences in topography and urban structure. Results suggest that the underlying dynamical processes in travel demand networks are similar and evolved by the distribution of activities and interaction between places in cities. Results provide a first step towards a new methodological base for calibration and validation of agent-based travel demand models.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Exploring the Effects of Land Use, Travel Behavior, and Socio-Economic Characteristics on Safety at the Planning Level: Empirical Evidence from Melbourne

Recent Working Paper:

Amoh-Gyimah, R., Saberi, M., Sarvi, M. Exploring the Effects of Land Use, Travel Behavior, and Socio-Economic Characteristics on Safety at the Planning Level: Empirical Evidence from Melbourne. [Working Paper]
Understanding the relationship between road crashes, traffic, socio-economic, and land use characteristics is necessary in evaluating the safety impacts of urban policies at the planning level. The aim of this paper is to provide further empirical evidence on the significance and magnitude of various planning factors that influence transportation safety at the network level. We estimate multiple Negative Binomial (NB) regression models to explore the impact of different planning factors, individually and combined, at different geographical levels. Results suggest that vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT), percentage of population cycling to work, percentage of households with low income, and land use balance mix index significantly influence number of crashes. We also show that using different spatial units could produce different modeling outcomes, as expected. The study is a first step towards integration of safety modeling into the transportation planning.

Forecasting Vehicle Kilometers Traveled: Estimating an Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average Model (ARIMA) with Exogenous Variables

Recent working paper:

Nazemi, M., Shafiei, M.S., Saberi, M., Sarvi, M. (2015) Forecasting Vehicle Kilometers Traveled: Estimating an Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average Model (ARIMA) with Exogenous Variables. [Working Paper]
Vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT or VMT) is a key variable in long-term transportation planning and policy making, especially for road infrastructure investment. In this paper, we estimate an Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) model with exogenous variables to forecast VKT in Australia. The estimated model produces forecasts based on lagged values in the time series and the errors made by previous predictions, which typically allows the model to rapidly adjust for sudden changes in trend, and at the same time includes exogenous variables resulting in more accurate forecasts. We found that the effects of unemployment rate, fuel price over Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and Consumer Price Index (CPI) on VKT are all statistically significant and negative. More importantly, number of vehicles per capita appears to be highly statistically significant with positive impact on VKT. We postulate that policies or behavioral changes towards less car ownership are more likely to have greater impact on VKT rather than fluctuations in fuel price, unemployment rate, or individual’s purchasing power.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

GovHack 2015: 1st Prize in Best Data Journalism Hack

I am happy to announce that my group (Monash City Science) is awarded the 1st prize in Best Data Journalism Hack in GovHack 2015 for the project "Mapping Pedestrian Activities and Safety in Melbourne."

In the project, we analyzed and visualized the relationship between pedestrian activities and safety over time in City of Melbourne using combined pedestrian count sensors data and pedestrian crash statistics.

Special thanks to Julian, Bryan, Emily, and Sajjad for being part of the Monash City Science team.

UPDATE 1: Here is a video from the award ceremony. Watch @38:57.

UPDATE 2: Photo with award sponsors ABC Australia and Australian Taxation Office

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

3D modeling with 123D Catch app

Here is a 3D model of mine sitting on a chair in the class. We built this on the spot in ENG1021 (Spatial Communication in Engineering) class today. The 3D model is built from more than twenty 2D pictures taken by a cell phone/mobile camera. Not too bad, ha? Make sure you click on "3D view".

The 3D model is built using an image-based technology, 123D Catch app: 
It's a free app. So don't expect a powerful matching algorithm here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Historic Papers on Network Traffic Flow Theory (NFD/MFD)

Here is a list of historic papers on network traffic flow theory which is currently known as Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram (MFD) or Network Fundamental Diagram (NFD). Thanks to the Northwestern University Transportation Library, I managed to get a scanned copy of the papers. Click on the title of each paper to view the scanned PDF.

  • Mahmassani, H.S., Williams, J.C., Herman, R., 1984. Investigation of network-level traffic flow relationships: some simulation results. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 971, 121-130.
  • Mahmassani, H.S., Williams, J.C., Herman, R., 1987. Performance of urban traffic networks. Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Transportation and Traffic Theory, Elsevier Science Publishing, 1-20.
  • Williams, J.C., Mahmassani, H.S., Herman, R., 1987. Urban traffic network flow modelsTransportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 1112, 78-88.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bublcam 360 degree test image of St Kilda Beach

My bublcam has finally arrived. Here is the first outdoor test image in St Kilda Beach, Melbourne. Next step is to figure out how to view the image in VR gear. This will open up a lot of opportunities for pedestrian choice behavior experiments.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

PhD Position in Big Data Analytics and Visualization in Public Transportation

We have 18 open PhD positions in public transport at Monash University starting January 2016. EOI submission deadline is September 30th. I'll be supervising one of the PhD projects on big data analytics and visualization: understanding and modeling public transport travel patterns using smart card data (myki data from Melbourne). Let me know if you're interested.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

City Science at Monash University: A Year After

Since June 2014 when Monash City Science group was first founded, we have proudly developed and delivered 18 #opendata #bigdata #urbanplanning #transportation #dataviz projects: from mapping pedestrian and bicycle safety in Melbourne to visualizing the spatial distribution of indigenous population in Australia. 

In the past 14 months, we have had more than 22,000 visitors (43% from Melbourne, 6% from Sydney, even 1.5% from London, and 1% from New York). Our most popular project has been the "Melbourne Bike Crash Map" with more than 16,000 hits. 

I have received many compliment emails from a wide range of people and organizations, from BreastScreen Victoria to the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in Canberra. I am very happy that our work has been useful/helpful/educative/informative/attractive for many people. We're looking forward to many more challenges and opportunities ahead in the next couple of years. We welcome any financial and technical/scientific contribution from individuals and organizations. Please contact me at if you're interested.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Places by Metro: Reinventing Public Transport User Experience

Places by Metro is an interactive map reinventing public transport users experience, connecting businesses to travelers across Melbourne. It helps travelers discover bars, restaurants, and cafes within walking distance from train stations (PTV). It uses Google’s Javascript API Library to source the highest rated venues and to provide specific details such as address, opening hours, and customer reviews. We also use Google Maps to reference walking directions to each venue from the selected train station.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

ENG1021: Experiencing Virtual Reality (CAVE & Oculus Rift)

As part of ENG1021 (Spatial Communication in Engineering), I took my students to the CAVE. Students were given a 15 minutes tour of the Monash Immersive Visualization Platform including a demo of the structure model of the Oakland Bay Bridge in the US, ARUP point cloud of Melbourne city building plant room, NASA's Mars flight. I also brought my Samsung VR gear to the class and gave it to students to experience VR. Everyone were very impressed and loved it. Students were asked to describe how they relate their VR experience to spatial communication and our unit's learning objectives? I also asked them whether the experience generated any innovative engineering or business idea in their minds? Sorry for the not so high quality of the photos. It was dark in there.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Mapping Pedestrian Activities and Safety in Melbourne

As part of GovHack 2015, we have also developed a new analytics and visualization project on pedestrian activities and safety.

City of Melbourne has more than 40 pedestrian count sensors installed across the city, monitoring pedestrian activity in real-time. In this project, we integrate pedestrian count data and pedestrian crash data (obtained from VicRoads, downloaded from Victorian Government Data Directory) to explore the temporal and spatial distribution of pedestrian activities and crashes.

See the interactive project page here:

We would like to take this project to the next step, applying advanced analytical techniques and develop a predictive model to forecast both pedestrian activities and safety. We appreciate any financial support from relevant stakeholders, especially City of Melbourne, to continue the project.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Art and Science: Indigenous Population Dot Map of Australia

A few weeks ago, we developed a new data visualization project: Indigenous Population Dot Map of Australia

This is special because of its relation to indigenous art. In this project, every single indigenous in Australia is mapped as a dot. Aboriginal dot paintings are a rich art work of indigenous population in this land. Now we're connecting art and science, showing the power of data science and visualization in a single map. Enjoy the interactive map:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

GovHack 2015 @Monash University: Hacking Government Open Data

GovHack 2015 is over with more than 400 teams competing over the past weekend. GovHack is an annual open data competition held all over Australia and New Zealand. GovHack is about bringing together the best and brightest, working with government data to innovate and create.

Cities around the world are increasingly capitalizing on public data through local and regional “Open Data” initiatives and platforms. A major goal of such programs is to improve transparency and efficiency of government services. However, using big open data to generate economic and social value relies on the methodological capacity to render the masses of data into meaningful and, most importantly, useful information. Being able to extract useful findings is crucial to making cities 'smarter', empowering new civic movements, and changing the way citizens experience urban life.

The potential benefits of open data often go beyond generating economic activity. The social impact of open data is significant too, although less recognized. It could improve political transparency, enhance education and research, support personal decision-makings, promote more inclusive developments, support advocacy efforts, and increase public data literacy.

Over the past weekend, we hosted a GovHack 2015 node at Monash University, Clayton with four enthusiastic teams getting together to blast the competition with six projects. Projects submitted from our node include:
  1. Mapping Pedestrian Activities & Safety in City of Melbourne by Monash City Science
  2. Indigenous Population Dot Map of Australia by Monash City Science
  3. Chinese Population Dot Map of Australia by Monash City Science
  4. Disaster Warning Service for Australian Transportation by The Four
  5. Affordably by XYW
  6. Don't Panic by the Two David's
We hope events like this improve industry-government-university relationships for a better and brighter future. Thanks to all the awesome volunteers and participants for such a great weekend. If you would like to discuss potential collaboration opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact us. We'd love to work with you to deliver amazing projects.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Point Cloud 3D Model of the Civil Engineering Department at Monash University

Thanks to Carlos Gonzalez from 3D Laser Mapping for demonstrating how their new product ZEB works. Following is a point cloud 3D model of the Civil Engineering department at Monash imported and visualized in AutoCAD.