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Research at CITS

The Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions researches a variety of issues related to surface transportation systems. Our scientists seek to increase mobility and safety using modeling and simulation techniques.

Research topics include several aspects of transportation including traffic modeling, transportation network planning, behavioral influences and constraints, logistics, distribution and training.

CITS also facilitates interdisciplinary transportation research among faculty in different academic departments, particularly for multimodal and intermodal problems.

Affiliated faculty includes Dr. Barry Ezell, Dr. Andrew Collins, Dr. Khan Ifteharuddin, Dr. Wayne Talley, Dr. Bryan Porter, Dr. Wie Yusuf, Dr. Todd Fantz, Dr. Michele Weigle, Dr. Tamer Nadeem, Dr. ManWo Ng and Dr. Duc Nguyen.

Ongoing Research

CITS is involved in a number of ongoing research projects to improve surface transportation. In conjunction with our partners, CITS is providing analysis and insight into a wide range of transportation concerns.


RoutePM is an evacuation modeling and simulation program designed to aid planners in preparing for disaster scenarios. The free program developed by CITS researchers offers a hands on look at potential problems and concerns.

RtePM allows the user to set parameters and conditions including the area to be evacuated, the number of roads available, the number of evacuees and how fast they are able to travel during the evacuation scenario.

The Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions hosts the site and provides support and tutorials for the program.


ODU's Center for Innovative Transportation Systems (CITS), led by Dr. Mike Robinson, will be working with the City of Portsmouth to complete a research and development project that will make Portsmouth the second city in the Commonwealth of Virginia to be completely modeled using a microscopic transportation simulation.

Called "microscopic" because of its ability to look at individual cars and driver characteristics, the city-wide model will include highways, interstates, and major roads throughout the city, with additional detail around the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and Jordan Bridge. Using TransModeler®, a transportation software package developed by Caliper® Corporation, the simulation will incorporate available City data on traffic volume and will exactly match the timing used in real-world signal lights.

This cutting-edge model also accounts for individual cars that obey signal lights, observe right-of-way, and naturally change lanes as they make their way to their final destinations. The simulation also includes varying driver behavior. In the model, some cars change lanes frequently and drive at faster speeds, while others behave more conservatively.

With a model of this level of detail, the City can evaluate recurrent and incident-induced congestion, improve planning for evacuations, and inform decision-making processes about future road and construction projects. This gives the City a tool to assess potential rising sea levels affecting low-lying areas and intelligently adapt traffic flows to maintain access and commercial viability. As a host of several major government facilities, the model also provides a realistic view of the effects of road closures and use of alternate routes around the gates of the Naval Hospital and Shipyard.

The model development phase of this project is expected to be complete by mid-2015. Future developments will include calibrating the model to field observed traffic counts throughout the city, adding the ability to simulate accidents and incidents and their impacts, and add consideration of bicycle lanes, an aspect of city planning that is important to Portsmouth.

The TransModeler software has the ability to view simulations in 3D, giving City Planners a unique perspective when evaluating traffic in the area. This feature allows one to ride around "inside" a vehicle, viewing the road and traffic volume though the windshield of the virtual car. This inside view gives planners a realistic sense of wait times in congested areas and helps them to develop clear, compelling evidence for City decision-makers.


The Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions is developing an agent-based model focusing on pedestrian behavior during an evacuation. Current research on transportation and pedestrian behavior focuses on either group or individual dynamics, revealing a critical gap in the modeling methodology of pedestrian evacuations.

To address this, the CITS team is working to incorporate inter- and intra-group dynamics through the use of agent-based modeling to better capture the way crowds composed of families and other social groups egress during an emergency. Specifically, this includes modeling behavior related to mobility of group members, coordinated exit strategies, and decision-making to control group configurations.

The simulation will enable more informed planning by disaster managers, emergency planners, and other decision-makers. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a simulation that addresses pedestrian/vehicle interactions, thus introducing an element that is not present in any existing evacuation simulations.

The Southeastern Parkway Greenbelt (SEPG)

The Southeastern Parkway Greenbelt (SEPG) project (2014-2015) extends and applies the microsimulation traffic model created for the Development of Base Macro and Micro Models for the City of Virginia Beach project (2013-2014).

The model includes the accurate representation (widths, number of lanes, turning lanes and bays, etc.) of every significant road in the city and every traffic signal with timing exactly mirroring that of the real-world signals. It models individual cars and driving behaviors with traffic volumes calibrated using empirical counts taken at over four hundred locations in 15-minute intervals during morning and evening peak and mid-day periods.

Completion of the model made Virginia Beach one of just five large cities in the nation with such a detailed tool. The simulation will enable city planners and managers to predict more accurately the impacts of future road construction scheduled for the next 20 years on the city-wide transportation network during rush hour and hurricane evacuation scenarios. These scenarios include consideration of accidents and incidents impacts estimated by analyzing historical rates and locations.

These scenarios and simulations are implemented and expanded in the SEPG project to evaluate the potential benefits of the proposed SEPG, a limited access high speed road that would form the southeastern quadrant of the Hampton Roads Beltway. Using the existing simulation data the SEPG project analyzes alternative builds and forecasts rush hour and hurricane evacuation traffic flow scenarios for up to twenty years in the future.

Heavy Freeway Traffic

Recent Projects

The Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions is involved in a number of research projects. Review our recent work on a number of projects. Find a list of papers by the CITS researchers recently featured in professional and academic publications.



The Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions partners with a number of municipalities and organizations to provide the most accurate and relevant transportation information.

Hurricane Isabel

Publications and Presentations

Review a list of publications and presentations by the CITS team.

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