Distinguished Transport
Lecture Series (DTLS)
DTLS 2014
Professor Nick Tyler
Professor Gilbert Laporte
Professor Susan Handy
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Distinguished Transport Lecture Series 2014

Professor Nick Tyler, CBE

Chadwick Professor of Civil Engineering and Pro-Provost, East and South Asia, University College London, UK

Making the Links between Transport and Wellbeing

Date: 19 March 2014 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Venue: Wang Gungwu Theatre, Graduate House, The University of Hong Kong (Map)

Lecture Abstract

What are the objectives for a transport system in the 21st century? This lecture explores the extent to which the aims and targets for transport systems have become outdated, outmoded and unhelpful in a world in which rapid change is rampant - in terms of climate, global economics, politics and trade. The approaches we have adopted over the last 50 years or so and the techniques we have developed in order to facilitate their implementation have become increasingly unable to address the modern problems we face today. Bearing in mind Brundtland's definition of sustainable development (as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations), this talk opens new ways of thinking about transport and its role in society. This could demand new approaches and techniques - and possibly new science - in order to ensure the sustainability of the planet for the future. Some suggestions for these new sciences and engineering approaches will be outlined.

About the Speaker

Professor Nick Tyler works with clinical, engineering, social science, arts and humanities researchers in order to explore exactly how a person interacts with their immediate environment. Nick's research portfolio amounts to some GBP20 million in funding from Research Councils, industry and government and he has established research projects in Latin America, Japan, China and the EU as well as in the UK. Nick is the UK PI on an extensive Chinese research and application project "Low Carbon City Development" in which approximately GBP2 billion is being invested by Chinese cities in the development of practical low carbon initiatives in cities including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Nanyang. He is developing national policy with the Peruvian and Colombian governments in relation to accessible low carbon transport as part of a project funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, writing a draft NAMA for Peru (2012) and a National Strategy for Transport in Low Carbon Cities for the Colombian Government (2013). He is currently working with universities and the Keidanren in Japan on university education and with the British Embassy in Tokyo on healthy ageing and transport environments in Japan and with a consortium of UK and Japanese universities on transforming the international engagement of universities ad industry in Japan and the UK. He is a member of the EPSRC Experts Group on Infrastructure. Apart from being the Director of the CRUCIBLE Centre and the Pedestrian Accessibility and Movement Environment Laboratory (PAMELA), he is a Co-investigator on the GBP6m EPSRC Programme Grant "Transforming the Engineering of Cities", is a Principal Investigator developing an invisible exoskeleton on a GBP1m EPSRC project, a Co-I on an EPSRC project to develop a new generation of hybrid buses, a Co-I on a GBP3.4m EPSRC/ESRC project to investigate the future financing of infrastructure and a Co-I on a GBP2.4m ESRC-NIHR project to investigate how people with dementia see and interact with their immediate environment. He transformed the department's teaching portfolio to make the education of civil engineers pertinent for the needs of the 21st century.

Nick is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Transport Research Foundation. He was appointed a CBE in the 2011 New Year's Honours for services to technology. In 2013, he gave the Inaugural Tan Swan Beng Lecture on Sustainable Cities at Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. He was Head of the Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering at UCL from 2003 to December 2013.

Please click <here> to download the presentation file.


Professor Gilbert Laporte

Canada Research Chair in Distribution Management, HEC Montreal, Canada

The Fascinating History of the Vehicle Routing Problem

Date: 22 August 2014 (Friday)
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Venue: Wang Gungwu Theatre, Graduate House, The University of Hong Kong (Map)

Lecture Abstract

The Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP), introduced in 1959 by Dantzig and Ramser, plays a central role in distribution management. It consists of designing a set least cost delivery or collection routes for a set of vehicles based at a depot and visiting a set of geographically scattered customers, subject to a variety of constraints. The most common constraints are capacity constraints, duration constraints and time windows. This talk will concentrate on the so-called classical VRP with capacity constraints only. The VRP is ubiquitous and highly important from an economic point of view. From a research perspective, it occupies a central role in operations research. Its study by the scientific community has fueled the development and growth of several families of exact and approximate algorithms. Exact algorithms such as branch-and-cut, column generation and branch-and-cut-and-price owe part of their evolution to the study of the VRP. Similarly, the most common classical heuristics and most of the more recent metaheuristics have been developed through the study of the VRP. In this talk I will highlight several of these developments. In spite of all the attention the VRP has received over the past 55 years, it can still only be solved exactly for relatively small instances (with slightly more than 100 customers) and the corresponding algorithms are rather intricate. Over the past 10 years or so, several powerful metaheuristics have been put forward for the approximate solutions of the VRP. The best ones combine concepts borrowed from local search and genetic search. Nowadays, the best metaheuristics can generate rather quickly solutions whose value lies within 1% of the best known solution values on a set of benchmark instances. This talk will also review these developments. It will close with some research outlooks.

About the Speaker

Professor Gilbert Laporte obtained his Ph.D. in Operations Research at the London School of Economics in 1975. He is Professor of Operations Research at HEC Montreal, Canada Research Chair in Distribution Management, adjunct Professor at Molde University College, the University of Bilkent, the University of Alberta, visiting professor at the University of Southampton, and guest professor at the University of Science and Technology of China. He is also a member of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation (CIRRELT) and founding member of the Groupe d'etudes et de recherche en analyse des decisions (GERAD). He has been Editor of Transportation Science, Computers & Operations Research and INFOR. He has authored or coauthored 15 books, as well as more than 400 scientific articles in combinatorial optimization, mostly in the areas of vehicle routing, location and timetabling. He has received many scientific awards including the Pergamon Prize (United Kingdom) in 1987, the 1994 Merit Award of the Canadian Operational Research Society, the CORS Practice Prize on three occasions. In 1999, he obtained the ACFAS Jacques-Rousseau Prize for Interdisciplinarity, and the President's Medal (Operational Research Society, United Kingdom). In 2001, he was awarded the Pedagogy Prize by HEC Montreal. He has been a member of the Royal Society of Canada since 1998, and Fellow of INFORMS since 2005. In 2007 he received the Innis-Gerin medal from the Royal Society of Canada. In 2009 he was awarded the Gerard-Parizeau Prize, he was inducted as the 42nd Honorary Member of the INFORMS International Omega Rho Society, and he received the Robert M. Herman Lifetime Achievement Award in Transportation Science from the Transportation Science and Logistics Society of INFORMS. In 2012, he was awarded the Pierre-Laurin research prize from HEC Montreal for his overall career research achievements.


Professor Susan Handy

Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and Director of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation,The University of California, Davis, USA

Driving Less: Reducing Vehicle-Miles Traveled (VMT) in the Land of Freeways 

Date: 17 December 2014 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Venue: Wang Gungwu Theatre, Graduate House, The University of Hong Kong (Map)


Lecture Abstract

The State of California has set an ambitious goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For the transportation sector, changes in vehicle and fuel technologies will get the state a long way towards its goal, but forecasts show that reductions in driving will also be necessary. State policy now requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to adopt a Sustainable Communities Strategy that outlines the set of strategies the regions will implement to meet their targets for reductions in vehicle-miles traveled (VMT). In the absence of conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of possible strategies, MPOs are struggling to identify the set of strategies that offer the greatest potential for success. This presentation looks at three of the many questions underlying this struggle: Will the recent downturn in VMT take care of the problem? If not, which of the possible strategies are likely to help the most? In particular, will the current bicycling craze make a difference? Although much research remains to be done, existing evidence points to the need for a multi-faceted approach to reducing VMT.

About the Speaker

Dr. Susan Handy is Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and the Director of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests center on the relationships between transportation and land use, particularly the impact of neighborhood design on travel behavior. Her current work focuses on bicycling as a mode of transportation. She is a member of the Committee on Women’s Issues in Transportation of the Transportation Research Board and is an associate editor of the newly launched Journal of Transport and Health. She holds a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering from Princeton University, an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley.