// DATABASES & HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING FOR URBAN SYSTEMS RESEARCH
As part of a next-generation urban analytics data management system, we are working on setting up some of the database and computing architecture for UPAL.
// LINKING URBAN MORPHOLOGY TO SOCIOECONOMICS USING COMPUTER VISION AND DEEP LEARNING
Recent advancements in applied computer vision, such as the development of convolutional neural networks (CNNs), have transformed our understanding of how information is extracted from complex images. We are applying CNNs to satellite images of urban centres in North America to understand the drivers behind certain sociodemographic phenomena in cities.
// ECONOMIC & FINANCIAL CHALLENGES OF EV CHARGING
The transportation sector is a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions and switching to electric vehicles (EV) could potentially aid in reducing these harmful emissions. We explore the economic and financial challenges affecting the deployment of charging infrastructure in private residences and public spaces.
// RESPONSIBLE OPEN DATA FRAMEWORKS
There are a number of datasets produced during UBC business operations that, if centralized, governed effectively, structured for usability and made open with an efficient permissions pipeline, could serve as a foundation for supporting research and operations projects.
// VISUALIZATION OF CAMPUS DATASETS
A powerful mechanism for communicating insights from analysis and boosting interpretability of information represented in data is through visualization. We produce visualizations of data collected on UBC campus, as well as the analysis performed on it.
// ANALYSIS OF HIGH-RESOLUTION WATER CONSUMPTION AT UBC
UBC campus base flows (minimum consumption) are estimated to be about 50% of the annual supplied water by the U Blvd and 16th Avenue water mains. We are working to estimate and rank the annual base flow contribution from individual buildings across campus.
// THE SOCIODEMOGRAPHICS OF ACCESSIBILITY: INSIGHTS FROM MACHINE LEARNING
As urban populations continue to grow worldwide, it becomes increasingly important to evaluate network accessibility (the ease with which residents can reach key places or opportunities). We apply powerful machine learning tools to cluster income characteristics and relate them to service accessibility across major North American cities.
01 / BEYOND TRAFFIC LIVING LAB
Funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the 'Beyond Traffic: Clean, Connected and Safe Transportation Testbed' is using UBC campus as a city-scale living laboratory that links transportation, energy, information and communications technology and urban design. The new platform aims to transform transportation systems from a collection of passive, distinct entities into a highly coordinated network of people and technologies.
The new infrastructure will help the development of renewable energy storage methods using hydrogen and bi-directional electric vehicle recharging, the next generation of wireless, digital communication protocols for connected vehicles, and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction pathways using low- or zero-carbon fuels. We are developing high performance computing for data curation, visualization and analytics to optimize energy use, carbon reduction and campus-wide facilities planning and operations. The goal is to translate the testbed data into smart city design, policy and technology deployment strategies for other communities around the world.
02 / TRANSPORTATION FUTURES
The transportation sector in British Columbia is currently the single largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the province. The five-year Transportation Futures project, launched in 2015, brings together an interdisciplinary research team to help identify pathways for cleaner air, land and domestic marine transportation in B.C. and Canada.
The project is hosted at UBC's Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), and supported by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. Together with colleagues at the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University, we are exploring how to build cleaner transportation through market and public policy, low and zero-carbon emissions infrastructures, and electric vehicles. We are developing new multi-criteria transport infrastructure optimization tools to inform a technology policy road-map for British Columbia.
03 / CASCADIA URBAN ANALYTICS CORRIDOR
The Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative (CUAC) is an applied, interdisciplinary, regional centre that brings together academics, students and public stakeholder groups to address the resiliency, health and well-being of cities and their citizens in the Cascadia region. The focus of CUAC is data science for social good in an urban context.
Launched in 2017 as part of Microsoft-funded Cascadia Innovation Corridor, CUAC brings together colleagues from the University of Washington and UBC. CUAC applies a fine-grained (neighbourhood-scale) approach to data science through interdisciplinary partnerships with researchers from the fields of public policy, urban planning, population health, civil engineering, landscape architecture, sociology, real estate, computer science and law. We are developing agent-based models to analyze neighborhood level mobility patterns, social-networked behaviour, and health outcomes in the built environment.
04 / SMART CITY ASSETS & WELL-BEING
The City of Surrey has made significant investments into its Smart Surrey Program which has won international accolades including the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge and the Intelligent Community forum (ICF) Top 7 Intelligent Communities in the world twice. Yet very few cities are able to define and measure the actual macro-level benefits that smart city investments might have on quality of life and sustainability outcomes.
We are working with the City of Surrey on developing new algorithmic tools and methodology to inventory current assets and evaluate new potential investments that will allow the City to benchmark performance and measure quality of life outcomes, while demonstrating leadership within the region, nation and globally.
A major barrier to effective low-carbon infrastructure investment is inaccurate forecasts of capacity and demand, often due to lack of detailed behavioural data. With decreasing costs in information technologies and ubiquity of citizen data there is an opportunity to develop high resolution urban activity monitoring techniques and improve our understanding of human behaviour in the built environment.
Citizen science programs using smartphone technology are a powerful approach for urban environmental monitoring, and numerous citizen science programs are underway from cosmology to ecology. However, little work has been done using citizen science engagement for urban infrastructure planning and demand management. Funded by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and in collaboration with the City of New Westminster, we are developing best practices for open data collection and curation to improve population and demographic data and enhance citizen engagement for capital project developments.
05 / OPEN DATA & CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT
06 / INTELLIGENT LOW-CARBON NETWORKS
Infrastructure networks are becoming more interdependent due to rising cross-sector demands, climate change policy and increasing use of information technologies. Cities will increasingly depend on data to optimize capacity provision and delivery of services. Importantly, urban climate mitigation electrification strategies such as smart grids and meters, electric autonomous vehicles, and distributed renewable power are predicated on extensive and reliable ICT networks.
However, the long-term sustainability implications for smart infrastructure and technology investments are not well understood. Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) we are developing new predictive modelling tools to inform strategic planning that accounts for future risk and network interdependency to avoid infrastructure not fit for purpose, economically inefficient, or environmentally damaging.
07 / INFRASTRUCTURE TRANSITIONS
The UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) is a program grant funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The consortium is comprised of 7 of the UK’s leading universities and has developed the first national system-of-systems modelling capability which analyzes the long-term performance of national infrastructure, develops robust evidence-based strategies, and identifies vulnerabilities and adaptations to risk. These tools are informing the UK National Infrastructure Commission and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for infrastructure planning in post-conflict zones.
We continue active collaborations with the ITRC and the University of Oxford on analyzing and modelling urban electrification strategies including the large-scale deployment of electric vehicles and electric heat pumps to decarbonize buildings to meet climate policy, and the cascading effects on peak electricity demand, power generation requirements, and fresh water supply impacts. Our goal is to understand the implications of infrastructure interdependency due to climate policy and new technology.
08 / UK ENERGY RESEARCH CENTRE
The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) conducts national-level modeling of policy scenarios to quantify the technological and demand reduction potential to meet UK carbon reduction targets. This directly informed the UK’s policy revision of setting a new carbon reduction target of 80% in 2050 from a previous goal of 60%. UKERC provided the first detailed analysis on the role of behaviour change to decarbonize the transport sector and has been cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report.
We collaborate with the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) applying partial-equilibrium integrated assessment modelling to quantify the carbon reduction potential from mass deployment of intelligent transport systems including automated traffic light controls, and on-board vehicle driver assistance to improve fuel efficiency in passenger cars, and delivery vans, which are now booming due to e-commerce. Our goal is to contribute to a major strategic shift towards the climate mitigation potential of energy demand and lifestyle change.