Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ides of March, Transportation and Logistics, and the Braess Paradox

March 15 is the Ides of March and one year ago I was filmed on Broadway in New York City about traffic congestion, gridlock, and the Braess paradox, as part of the PBS series America Revealed.

Today, I am sitting in my office at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, where I am for 2 weeks as part of their innovative Visiting Professors Program. Gothenburg has a fabulous transportation system with blue and pale yellow trams snaking throughout, along with busses, as well as numerous bicyclists and pedestrians, along with a major port. Hence, transportation and logistics in both research and practice are very valued here.

I am enjoying my interactions with outstanding faculty, students, and postdocs in Sweden very much. It certainly helps that one of the groups that is hosting me has received a major grant from the Swedish government to research Sustainable Transportation. I am also learning about maritime transportation, a topic that I don't get much opportunity to experience back in Amherst, Massachusetts. With the deepening of the Panama Canal, maritime transportation will be a timely topic, back in the US as well. The Swedes have been leaders in intermodal transportation for many years as well as in maritime transportation.

Coincidentally, yesterday, I received a wonderful message from one of the producers at LionTV in London, who was involved in the special America Revealed production, that I appear in, and the message said:

Hi Anna,

Hope you have been keeping well. Just to let you know the website went live a couple of weeks ago, but we didn't announce it as there were still a few tweaks to do, but it's all looking pretty ship shape now, so I thought I'd let you know about it!

Many thanks for all your hard work.

Analytics magazine has a nice writeup on the videoclip that I was filmed for last year on Broadway as does one of the UMass publications In the Loop . In the clip I even note Caesar, which is appropriate on this day, the Ides of March.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about the Braess paradox (how the addition of a road may make everyone worse off in terms of travel time), you may view the lecture that I gave here yesterday. It was on supply chains but I emphasized the importance of capturing decision-making behavior, whether centralized or decentralized, and did highlight the Braess paradox as well as what happens when demand varies over time.