Alexandre Bayen, Dir. of Berkeley’s Institute for Transportation Studies

Alexandre Bayen, Dir. of Berkeley’s Institute for Transportation Studies


– Good morning and welcome. My name is Alex Bayen. I’m the Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC-Berkeley. I’m a faculty in the
electrical engineering computer science department and the civil engineering department. I’m really excited to
be here this morning. And in the very short time I have, I’d like to talk about four
points which are very important. The first one is what does UC-Berkeley bring to the table to help the team here. The second one is to tell you a little bit about the institute because,
at the end of the day, we will be helping on the ground and we’ll build a very strong
team with Tim and the city. The third one would be about partnerships. That’s why we’re all here today. And fourth one is very specific thing about the enrollment and
the role of Berkeley. So, as many of you know, we’re one of the flagship public
universities in the world. Just like people in the
city, people in the state, people in MPOs, we are civil servants; we have a mission of public service. And this project today is really a perfect instantiation of our mission. Our mission is really to help the world and in the particular context
here, to help mobility. So, one of the things that
I’m particularly excited here, together with the team,
is that we have brought people that are not just engineers. Of course, this is a technology project. We’ve heard from the mayor that this is the innovation
capital of the world. But also, we have people from
the Haas Business School, we have people from the Goldman
School of Public Policy, we have people from the
Lawrence Berkeley Lab, we have people from the
economics department from the I School, and this is really what
this project is about. This project is a
multidisciplinary project. That’s the way we’re gonna win and that’s the way we’re gonna change the way mobility works in the city. The second thing I wanna talk about is the Institute of
Transportation Studies. We’ve been around since 1947. We were created by an act of
legislature after World War II, specifically to counterbalance the fact that there had not been much investment in our public infrastructure
during the war years. And today, we’ve grown enormously since the Second World War. We’re 200 people on campus,
about 40 professors, 60 professional researchers,
and about 100 Ph.D. students. We’re another 50 people on the
Lawrence Berkeley Lab side, which is mostly working on the energy component of transportation. And we have many formations
that will be really working in effort of support of this team here. We’re advancing research, and obviously this
project is about research, we have a teaching curriculum, we have a technology transfer program that brings the research to the practice, and we have one of the
world class libraries in transportation. And so, today, what we’re
bringing to the table is representatives from
seven research centers that span almost every possible component there is in transportation. Susan Shaheen, who is the director of the Transportation Research
Sustainability Center, represents one of these centers, specifically focused on
sustainability and energy. But, of course, all of us
who work in transportation know that transportation
is multidisciplinary. So, we have a center working on policy, we have a center working on automation and intelligent transportation system. California is the birthplace
of automated driving. UC-Berkeley put automated
vehicles on the road in 1997 in San Diego, and now we have snowplows
which are automated, we’re operating automated bus lines, we have platoon trucks,
and so on and so forth. So, this is this whole expertise that we’re bringing here today. Everywhere you go in the Bay Area, you will see the legacy of joint work of Berkeley and public agencies. If you cross Bay Bridge, you
will cross the metering lights. In the 1980s, Professor
Adolf May was working on the very first automated algorithms on these metering lights. Today, as we’re fixing
with the new bridge, we’re updating the algorithms. This is an example of the legacy
of Berkeley in this field. If you drive on the freeways, you’ll see travel time displayed on changeable message signs. In District Four, where we are today, we put the first algorithms together, and so on and so forth. This is what we’re trying
to look forward here. We are really looking forward
to working with all of you, with the city, with other public agencies, to produce this next revolution that will come with the
Smart Cities Challenge. And that brings me to my third point, which is the public and
private partnerships. I’m really excited when I look at the list of people here today because I would say probably
two-thirds of the companies who are in the room today,
we’ve already worked with you, we already have many
joint projects together. At a public university like Berkeley, we are really used to
do these partnerships. And these partnerships are important because if you think about innovation, the campus is a very phenomenal
location for innovation, which is a neutral ground
for the private sector to play with the public agencies. Think about what you need in your business and in your technology agenda to advance where you want to go. What you do at the university is you prototype it, you test it together, so that it migrates to the public sector. And with these partnerships and with the leadership
of the city and SFMT and all the agencies involved, this is what we want to
advance and provide here. The one thing I can say is that the other thing the university provides is we have all the
structures in place already because we have done this before. And we’re a public
university, we’re cheap. We’re much cheaper than
private universities, so I think it’s gonna be (audience laughs) a good deal to work here. The final thing I want to
say, on a more serious note, is there is enormous support on the campus and at the Lawrence Berkeley
Lab for this initiative. And if you think about
it, it is very unusual for the chancellor of UC-Berkeley
to get involved that early in this stage of a competitive process like the Smart Cities Challenge, and that is very telling to me. I was really excited when
the chancellor and the mayor had their first phone
conversation several weeks ago because what that tells me is that the campus is
standing absolutely full-speed behind this effort because they realize that this challenge is very
important for California, it’s very important for
the city, for the Bay Area, and that this is really a great way for the university to contribute to something which will
have worldwide visibility, and I’m really saying worldwide,
it’s even beyond the US, and it is completely
aligned with the mission and the service agenda that
we have at the university. So, I wanna thank all
of you for coming today. I wanna thank all the people in the city who have put this great team
together, particularly Tim. And finally, Go Bears. Thank you. (applause)

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