The problem of the traveling salesman is a useful approach to determine the most efficient [shortest length] routes to take within a given transportation network.  In this exploration, I used the streets of downtown Rochester as the network and all the intersections as start and end points of a desired route.

Giulio Piacentino with McNeel Europe created a Grasshopper component that attempts to solve this problem.  Here is the aerial image of downtown Rochester:

Below are all the intersections:

…and from the intersections is the network of street.  This network includes all the possible routes one could take  from any intersection to another.

The simple grasshopper definition below allows testing of almost an endless number of paths.

This animation demonstrates a selection of random start and end points [connected by a yellow line], and draws the shortest route from one to the next by following the streets [red lines].

Rochester | shortest street routes from 2 points from Jie Huang on Vimeo.

Let’s start the semester with this fantastic video on the exploration of NYC’s decaying infrastructure.

[VIDEO] UNDERCITY
– Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

As the semester draws to an end, my project proposal has become clearer for my intentions of proceeding into a thesis for next semester.  I am interested in studying transportation infrastructures of declining post-industrial cities  and their potential to inform and create emergent systems for urban regeneration.  Although my investigations will consist of three parts:  transit connectivity, their intersections, and these systems’ influence on the city, the focus will be an intervention [or a series] at the intersection[s] of transit networks.  I’ve created an ideogram illustrating a glimpse of a potential transit station that would provide a new armature for Rochester’s downtown.

I did a series of explorations on transit patterns based on proximity of bike to bus intersections to the proposed bus terminal in downtown.  Each animation varies by the number of points GH is calculating.

2 points of proximity|

4 points of proximity|

6 points of proximity|

8 points of proximity|

Closer to home [but on the other side of the country], is another example of rapid bus transit.  In 2005, LA introduced a 14 mile bus rapid transit system that used a former rail right-of-way.  While probably not the most successful, what can we learn from this and other examples?  Could aspects of these systems work for Rochester?  Could making the commute more convenient begin to bring more people to downtown and eventually foster a desire to stay?

While Curitiba‘s rapid bus transit system is more familiar to the world, Bogotá also has an exciting and successful one of its own [TransMilenio] where the city’s original plans to build elevated highways were eliminated in lieu of a more robust bus system.  Their buses are somewhat like subways in that they have their own lanes and passengers pay at stations [instead at the entry of each bus].  There are also free feeder buses that transport people in the outer areas to the stations as well as free bicycle parking at the stations to encourage people to bike to and from the stations.  Take a look at the video below to learn more about the system.

For Spanish readers, you can visit the TransMilenio website.

I recently came across the organization Rail~Volution that is trying to initiate a national movement to develop “livable communities with transit. Livable communities are those that are healthy, economically vibrant, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable.”  See what some of the people who recently attended the conference are talking about.

I found some information on the commuters of Monroe County [where Rochester is located].  Not surprisingly, the majority of commuters work commute 10-25 minutes away from home and most drive alone.  This is not a unique condition, but is prevalent all over this country.  Are there ways to shift that large number of drivers towards some other alternate modes of transport?  Could we alter the image and experience of these alternatives?  One place to start is to imagine a series of multi-nodal interchanges where various modes of transportation meet and become a point of intense intersections.  These could then connect and link to other smaller distribution and so on.  These points could also become attractors for the less occupied downtown and perhaps could one day become one of vibrancy.

 

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information based on data from the US Census Bureau

 

The public bus system, in many cases across the US, tend to have a stigma associated with it.  How can we begin to transform this perception in a city dominated by suburban commuters?  Could we change the current social standing of riding the bus to one that is efficient and enjoyable?

I came across a new generation of design for a series of bus stops developed by MIT’s SENSEable Cities Lab called EyeStop.  It’s solar powered and runs interactive programs such as live updates on the status of the bus.

There is so much redevelopment activity happening in Rochester right now.  In addition to the plan to replace the current Amtrak station in Rochester, a new bus terminal in downtown is also in the works.

Since I am investigating a network of intersections as transfer stations, I thought it would be best to map the current transit systems/routes in downtown.  They include the river, train, bus and bike.

river + city streets

river + city streets + train

river + city streets + train + bus routes

river + city streets + train + bike routes

river + city streets + train + bike routes + bus routes

river + city streets + train + bike routes + bus routes + newly proposed train and bus station