Siqian Shen, U-M Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) associate professor, has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her research on redesigning transportation for a post-pandemic world.
“I am thrilled to receive this grant that will allow us to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on modern transportation systems and how we can utilize optimization and network theories to redesign them so that we can better prepare for future disruptions,” said Shen.
The research team will begin by retroactively redesigning the routes and timetables that were in place for the blue bus system during U-M’s Fall Term 2020 and Winter Term 2021 to more effectively cater for the social distancing requirements and travel time limits which were brought on by the pandemic.
“We plan to generalize the U-M blue bus redesign work to other transportation systems,” Shen said. “Including public transit systems such as subways and shared shuttle services, and investigate how we can better track viruses and control their spread with the new network design and related operations changes.”
Shen is the principal investigator (PI) on the project, which focuses on the routes and timetables for the U-M blue bus system. She will lead a research team with members from both the College of Engineering and the School of Public Health. Wen Ye from the School of Public Health is serving as Co-PI on the project.
“I am grateful for excellent students and collaborators at U-M for completing preliminary studies related to this work, especially the successful redesign of the U-M campus bus system last year.”
The developed solutions will be tested with help from the U-M Logistics, Transportation and Parking Department and the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE).
Shen’s primary research interests are in integer programming, stochastic programming and network optimization. She currently serves as an associate director for the MICDE and has a joint appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Applications of her research include risk analysis as well as the optimization of energy, healthcare, cloud computing and transportation systems.