Rising concerns related to the effects of traffic congestion have led to the search for alternative transportation solutions. Advances in battery technology have resulted in an increase of electric vehicles (EVs), which serve to reduce the impact of many of the negative consequences of congestion, including pollution and the cost of wasted fuel. Furthermore, the energy-efficiency and quiet operation of electric motors have made feasible concepts such as Urban Air Mobility (UAM), in which electric aircraft transport passengers in dense urban areas prone to severe traffic slowdowns. Electrified transportation may be the solution needed to combat urban gridlock, but many logistical questions related to the design and operation of the resultant transportation networks remain to be answered. This research begins by examining the near-term effects of EV charging networks. Stationary plug-in methods have been the traditional approach to recharge electric ground vehicles; however, dynamic charging technologies that can charge vehicles while they are in motion have recently been introduced that have the potential to eliminate the inconvenience of long charging wait times and the high cost of large batteries. Using an agent-based model verified with traffic data, different network designs incorporating these dynamic chargers are evaluated based on the predicted benefit to EV drivers. A genetic optimization is designed to optimally locate the chargers. Heavily-used highways are found to be much more effective than arterial roads as locations for these chargers, even when installation cost is taken into consideration. This work also explores the potential long-term effects of electrified transportation on urban congestion by examining the implementation of a UAM system. Interdependencies between potential electric air vehicle ranges and speeds are explored in conjunction with desired network structure and size in three different regions of the United States. A method is developed to take all these considerations into account, thus allowing for the creation of a network optimized for UAM operations when vehicle or topological constraints are present. Because the optimization problem is NP-hard, five heuristic algorithms are developed to find potential solutions with acceptable computation times, and are found to be within 10% of the optimal value for the test cases explored. The results from this exploration are used in a second agent-based transportation model that analyzes operational parameters associated with UAM networks, such as service strategy and dispatch frequency, in addition to the considerations associated with network design. General trends between the effectiveness of UAM networks and the various factors explored are identified and presented.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





agent-based modeling, electrification, urban air mobility, dynamic power transfer, electric vehicles, transportation networks, genetic optimization, travel behavior, hub location



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Engineering Commons