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Open-source web-based visualizer for dynamic-response shared taxi simulations

Charlton, William; Leich, Gregor; Kaddoura, Ihab

We describe a unique, web-based data visualization portal developed for use by researchers and public transit agencies investigating future shared-taxi fleet scenarios. Augmenting or even replacing fixed-route transit lines with automated, connected, shared taxi fleets may be a desirable alternative in less-densely developed areas. The MATSim agent-based transport microsimulation model is used to study scenarios including the status quo, dynamically-dispatched fleets with drivers, and fully autonomous fleets. This paper focuses on a data visualization portal which includes many interactive views such as agent (taxi) movements color-coded by number of passengers and trip request origins and destinations, changes in roadway and passenger volumes compared to a base case, and more. The agent-based simulation covers a 24 hour simulation period; analysts can hone in on specific times of day to examine, e.g. school pickup/drop-offs or commute trips connecting to rail stations. The tool is in operation for several small cities and rural regions in Germany and was successfully used as an outreach tool in public meetings. In addition, developers of the MATSim DRT extension found the visualizations particularly useful for debugging both the algorithms and the scenario definitions. The code is entirely open source and, while this specific study has a rather esoteric use case, the visualization platform has an extensible design that could be modified for other purposes.
Published in: Procedia Computer Science, 10.1016/j.procs.2021.03.090, Elsevier