Saturday, May 30, 2015

Melbourne Pedestrian Crash Map (Light Condition)

Animated Heatmap: Melbourne Pedestrian Crashes (2009-2013)

We have developed an animated heatmap of pedestrian crashes showing spatial and temporal distribution of pedestrian crashes in Melbourne over 5 years (2009-2013). This is an easy and quick tool to identify pedestrian crash hotspots. Thanks to my student Roshan Manage Don for his efforts with cleaning and analyzing the data (source: VicRoads). We will soon release a report summarizing some statistics on pedestrian crashes in Melbourne.

Click here to view the interactive tool (fullscreen):

Last class of semester 1, 2015: CIV5305 Transport Modelling

Semester 1, 2015 ends with all good memories. I had the chance to teach CIV5305: Transport Modelling to a few bright and enthusiastic Master's students. Four came from the Monash-Southeast University joint master program in China and the rest were doing their Master's of Advanced Engineering. I also had about 20 online students doing a distance-education based Master's. The focus of the unit was mostly on travel demand modelling covering four-step modelling with a bit more into disaggregate choice modelling and traffic assignment, simulation-based modelling and lastly activity-based models. Thank you all for the fun class. Hope you're happy with your learning experience.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Transportation Data Scientist

Data Scientist is a newly introduced type of job in the data analytics community. It is also known as the sexiest job of the century. The job of a data scientist is to analyze complex or big data to understand and predict various patterns.

What do you need to become a data scientist?

  • You need to know analytics and programming in R, SAS, Python, Matlab, or other analytical/programming tools.
  • You also need to know how to work with databases (e.g. MySQL).
  • You probably improve your employability if you know some JavaScript and HTML to do cool data visualizations.
  • You also need to boost up your skills with some big data and machine learning skills.
Data plays a key role in transportation planning, operations, and management. Is it time for the transportation industry & government agencies to open up positions for transportation data scientists? Maybe hiring Chief Data Officers (CDO)?

I personally believe we can do much better with transportation data. There is certainly a need for highly skilled data scientists to pump some new blood into the transportation profession & research. Integrating advanced machine learning and big data techniques with traditional transportation analytics could revolutionize the transportation industry and research.

Monday, May 25, 2015

John Nash, Wardrop's principles, and the concept of equilibrium in traffic assignment

Here is an email that I sent to my "Transport Modelling" class today.

Hi class,

You might have heard the news that John Nash has died in a car crash today. I am not sure if anyone of you has taken a course or read a book on "Game Theory". However by now, you all know about Wardrop's principles and the User Equilibrium and System Optimal concepts in traffic assignment. This isn't very different from Nash equilibrium in game theory.

In a non-cooperative game of two or more players, if each player chooses a strategy and no player benefits by changing strategies while the other players stick to their strategies, then this is called Nash equilibrium. See this scene from the movie Beautiful Mind:

Now compare this with Wardrop's UE in which no user will benefit by changing routes and SO in which the entire society benefits, just like the blond girl scene in the bar in the movie.

Anyways, just wanted to share my thoughts and maybe trigger more thinking in you.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Melbourne Income Map (2011)

Income is a key component of an household economic wellbeing. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, transport is the highest household expenditure after housing costs and food and non-alcoholic beverages, accounting for 16% of total household income. Income is also an important socio-demographic variable that influences travel behavior and residential location choice patterns.

In this project, we are visualizing the spatial distribution of household income in greater Melbourne area. We use Census data from 2011. Household income is derived from personal income information collected for all persons aged 15 years and over. It includes all wages and salaries, government benefits, pensions, allowances and any other income before deductions for tax, superannuation, health insurance, salary sacrifice, or any other deduction.

We group the population into four groups. Households earning $0-$399 weekly account for about 13% of the number of households live in the greater Melbourne area. About 19% of households earn more than $2500 weekly. The rest of the households (representing lower and upper middle class families) are grouped into two groups, earning $400-$1249 and $1250-$2499 weekly.

Link to the visualization:

Victoria Connect: Crowd-sourced powered infrastructure asset management

I am very delighted to announce that we have recently published the BETA version of our new app on Google Play (for Android devices only for now). 

Victoria Connect helps Victorian residents make their neighborhood works better by reporting issues such as potholes, damaged signs, signal malfunction, unsafe locations, crashes, near-crashes, debris on the road, dead animal, etc.

Reports are collected and archived at a database hosted at Monash University for research purposes. This is part of the Transport Infrastructure Decision Support Platform being developed at Monash University.

If you have an Android device, I would appreciate if you install the app on your device and help us collect some data and make the app works better by providing feedback.

Our goal is to involve local governments, city councils, etc in this project. We would also like to take a step further, integrating the crowd-sourced and authoritative data for a better resource allocation in asset management, resulting in improved service to citizens.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How Monash University treats students from "sanctioned" countries

Monash University has a sanction compliance policy when it comes to admission and enrollment of students and provision of education and research training procedures. I believe this is somewhat against the academic/science freedom, preventing any human being to pursue education and research simply based on where they come from. Academic and science freedom works outside economically- and politically-oriented sanctions laws, for the benefit of the society and science.

Sanctioned countries recognized by Monash include:
  1. Central African Republic
  2. C├┤te d'Ivoire
  3. Crimea and Sevastopol*
  4. Democratic Republic of 
  5. Congo
  6. DPRK (North Korea)*
  7. Eritrea 
  8. Former Federal Republic of 
  9. Yugoslavia
  10. Guinea – Bissan
  11. Iran*
  12. Iraq
  13. Lebanon
  14. Liberia
  15. Libya
  16. Myanmar
  17. Russia*
  18. Somalia
  19. Sudan
  20. Syria*
  21. Ukraine
  22. Yemen
  23. Zimbabwe
* represents "harsher sanction law countries"!! Whatever it means.
Note: There are currently 196 countries in the world.
"Under the Sanctions Laws, the University is prohibited from dealing with specific individuals and entities, or providing those individuals, entities and specified countries with access to specific types of training, services and resources. The training, services or resources targeted by the sanctions are those relevant to military purposes or the development of weapons of mass destruction, and for a small number of sanctioned countries also specified dual use goods (being resources that have a military purpose and also have a legitimate civilian purpose). The Sanctions Laws aim to ensure the University does not equip targeted individuals, entities or nations with these resources or the skills to utilise these resources." Source: Monash sanctions compliance policy
When a student from any of the sanctioned countries apply to study at Monash, either being undergraduate or postgraduate, his application will go through a sanction compliance process. The applicant's supervisor  has to fill different forms and do an assessment whether the research or education could involve sanctioned activities.

There is also a "Sanctioned Good Risk Management Plan" which specifically deals with sanctioned materials. Following is a ridiculous part of the management plan:
"Monash University will permit the researcher to continue to undertake the research activity if the following conditions are strictly adhered to:
  1. The researcher must not enter into the laboratory where the sanctioned good is located, except under supervision.
  2. The researcher will not personally conduct any research using the sanctioned good.
  3. The researcher will issue instructions to the research assistant for all activity involving the sanctioned good.
  4. The research assistant will conduct all activity pursuant to those instructions without further reference to the researcher.  Requests for advice and assistance relating to use of the sanctioned good will be directed to some other person, and not the researcher.
  5. The researcher will not be present when the research assistant uses the sanctioned good.  
  6. The researcher will not observe, supervise, monitor or direct the use of the sanctioned good.
  7. When the research assistant has completed the activity using the sanctioned good, the research assistant will provide the outputs to the researcher.  The research assistant will not discuss the process or activity of the use of the sanctioned good with the researcher.
  8. The role of the researcher will be limited to issuing the initial instructions to the research assistant, and receiving the outputs from the use of the sanctioned good by the research assistant.
  9. No Monash University staff member or student will provide the researcher with access to, instruction about, assistance with, or training in the use of the sanctioned good."

Following is a specific assessment currently (as of today) being done for students from Iran.

Australia Group Common Controls List at which deals with:
- Chemical Weapons Precursors
- Dual-use chemical manufacturing facilities and equipment and related technology and software
- Dual-use biological equipment and related technology and software
- Biological agents
- Plant pathogens
- Animal pathogens.

INFCIRC/254/Rev.9/Part 1 at which deals with export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology.

 INFCIRC/254/Rev.7/Part 2 at which deals with transfer of nuclear-related dual-use equipment, materials, software and related technology.

S/2010/263 at which deals with items, materials, equipment, goods and technology related to ballistic missile-related programmes.

 The annex to A/RES/46/36 L dated 6 December 1991 at which deals with arms and related materiel.

 S/RES/1737 at paragraph 3(d) at which deals with materials, equipment, goods and technology that could contribute to enrichment-related, or reprocessing, or heavy water-related activities or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

 S/RES/1929 at paragraph 8 which deals with arms and related materiel.

Charter of United Nations (Sanctions – Iran)(Export Sanctioned Goods) List Determination 2008 at open PDF and see schedule 1, which deals with:
- nuclear materials, facilities and equipment
- nuclear materials, chemicals, microorganisms and toxins
- material processing
- electronics, sensors and lasers
- navigation and avionics
- technology
- dual use goods of utility in a nuclear program.
Autonomous Sanctions (Export Sanctioned Goods – Iran) Specification 2012 at which deals with:
- exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas
- refining crude oil and liquefaction of natural gas
- petrochemical industry.
Autonomous Sanctions (Export Sanctioned Goods – Iran) Amendment Specification 2013 at which deals with:
- graphite, iron and steel, copper and articles thereof, nickel and articles thereof, aluminium, lead, zinc, tin and other base metals, cermets and articles thereof
- key naval equipment and technology
- software for integrating industrial processes