Research and expertise
Digitisation is steering smart cities and transforming urban mobility. This offers opportunities to better meet and shape the growing and ever-changing demand for mobility while reducing its carbon footprint to meet net-zero goals. Therefore, I believe smart mobility at scale is the key to addressing pressing challenges in sustainability and resilience, as well as fulfilling broader societal objectives of inclusion and equity.
To this end, I lead my research group at Loughborough University to develop deep digital technologies that drive forward disruptive dimensions of future mobility: autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility. Achieving the promise of these technologies calls for digital twins that exploit big data to support the planning, monitoring, management, and operation of transportation. A fundamental research question that underpins the development of such digital twins is how to understand complex macroscopic phenomena in terms of the microscopic dynamics of the various agents and systems. My research addresses this by applying methodologies from traffic flow theory, agent-based modelling, and artificial intelligence to model, simulate and visualise how people and vehicles interact with the transport systems and the built environment.
In collaboration with industry and authority partners, we have been working on a range of application scenarios for the digitisation of vehicles (e.g. autonomous cars), infrastructure (e.g. smart signals), and services (e.g. shared micro-mobility). The outcomes have offered critical data and digital tools to boost evidence-based policies and data-driven interventions. These works have been presented at top academic conferences, such as the International Symposium on Transportation and Traffic Theory (ISTTT). They have also won prestigious industry awards, such as the European Commission Transport Innovation Challenge.
Current research activity
- BusMONITOR (KTP with Vectare): A sophisticated data monitoring, aggregation, and analysis solution for bus operation
- EPSRC proposal in preparation: Integrated data-driven model and simulation to evaluate road space allocation for bike lanes
- PhD (Hans-Heinrich Schumann with Lime): Exploiting passively generated big data for the planning and operation of shared e-scooters
- PhD (Rowan Davies): Evaluating traffic impact of autonomous vehicles by developing a data-driven simulation
- PhD (Ye Wei with O2): Utilising mobile network data and artificial intelligence for transport modelling
Recently completed research projects
- Roll2Go (ETH Spin-off): A data-centric platform for mobility data fusion and predictive analytics
- SignBus (Swiss National Science Foundation): Smart signals and infrastructures to provide bus priority at the intersection, arterial, and urban levels
- WEAVE (Research Commission for Road Transport in Switzerland): Highway weaving sections design and capacity
- Reck, DJ., Haitao, H, S. Guidon and KW. Axhausen (2021), Explaining shared micromobility usage, competition, and mode choice by modelling empirical data from Zurich, Switzerland, Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 124, 102947.
- Zhao, P., Haitao, H., Li, A., & Mansourian, A. (2021). Impact of data processing on deriving micro-mobility patterns from vehicle availability data. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 97, 102913.
- Li, A., Zhao, P., Haitao, H., Mansourian, A., & Axhausen, K. W. (2021). How did micro-mobility change in response to COVID-19 pandemic? A case study based on spatial-temporal-semantic analytics. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 90, 101703.
- Haitao, H., K. Yang, H. Liang, M. Menendez and I. Guler (2019), Providing public transport priority in the perimeter of urban networks: a bimodal strategy, Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 107, 171-192.
- Haitao, H., M. Menendez and I. Guler (2018) Analytical evaluation of flexible-sharing strategies on multimodal arterials, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 114, 364-379.
- He, H., I. Guler, and M. Menendez (2018) Adaptive Pre-signal Control at Bi-modal Intersections, Adaptive Control: Methods, Applications, and Research, New York, NY: Nova Science, 191 – 227.
- He, H., I. Guler and M. Menendez (2016) Adaptive control algorithm to provide bus priority with a pre-signal, Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 64, 28-44.
I contribute to learning and teaching activities at different levels across the Urban Planning Programme and the Civil Engineering Programme. I am the Part C tutor as well as the Research Dissertation module leader for the Urban Planning Programme.
- CVA130 Design Skills and Urban Data Analytics
- CVB120 Research Methods and Digital Skills
- CVC110 Transport Infrastructure Engineering
- CVC117 Urban Mobility
- CVC072/CVP363 Smart Cities and Mobility
I received my education in five different countries. During this time, I witnessed urban sprawl in Chinese cities and the US, as well as sustainable development in Singapore and Switzerland.
I see sustainable development as a global challenge, and my ultimate vision is to promote a sustainable and resilient future. Therefore, after graduating from the National University of Singapore with a first-class honors degree in physics and mathematics, I studied for a Mphil in sustainable engineering at the University of Cambridge. Realising that transportation systems profoundly shape the sustainability and resilience of cities, I then pursued a PhD at ETH Zurich in transportation engineering. My PhD research focused on developing multi-scale models and simulations to analyse road space allocation for buses that can promote public transport without exacerbating congestion. The positive feedback during the dissemination of my PhD research to the industry and authorities convinced me of transport simulations’ value in empowering multimodal urban mobility.
Hence, upon obtaining my doctoral’s degree in 2018, I co-founded Roll2Go, an ETH spin-off that delivered data and simulation tools for shared micromobility (shared bikes, e-scooters, etc.). These tools provided solutions to practical problems for authorities and operators. Under my leadership, the spin-off company has won prestigious competitions, awards, and grants from VentureKick, IMD, Innosuisse, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and Horizon 2020. Within a year, it was acquired by Bond Mobility.
I then joined Loughborough University in 2019 as a Lecturer in Urban Mobility and Intelligent Transport. Leveraging my combined experiences in academia and industry, I want to develop digital twins in transportation as the bridge between theory and practice, by providing a solid scientific basis for pragmatic and innovative solutions to the real world. Transportation is undergoing a profound transformation, especially digitisation. I consider this both an opportunity and a challenge. The key to fulfilling the promise of connected urban mobility for people and goods, while achieving sustainability, resilience, inclusion, and equity, lies in how our society harness digital technologies. In collaboration with industry partners and authorities, I believe our work can advance the frontiers of mobility technologies, generate positive social changes, and touch people’s lives.
My research, teaching, and enterprise activities are conducted with a range of industry and authority partners, including:
- Nottingham City Council
- Leicester City Council
- Leicestershire County Council
- Transport for Greater Manchester
- Transport for London
- Department for Transport
- Siemens (Yunex)
- O2 (Telefonica)