AI and Analytics for Transit
Delta Marriott: International AB

Moderator: Sophie Le Blanc, Blaise Transit


  • Atiqur Rahman, AI Research and Development Intern, National Research Council of Canada & Ph.D. Candidate, University of Ottawa
  • Prof. Amer Shalaby, University of Toronto, Transit Analytics
  • Ben Hudson, Chief Technology Officer, Blaise Transit

OPTA is kicking off the day with the most timely topic – AI. Artificial Intelligence is a tree with many branches. Our three panelists will share their work in descriptive, prescriptive and predictive AI use cases, to help us develop our AI literacy.

1. The Use of Machine Learning for Predicting Energy Demands of Battery Electric Bus Fleet – Atiqur Rahman, NRCC
The transportation sector is one of the largest sources of energy-related GHG emissions in Canada. Bus transit is one of the most ideal applications for transportation electrification. The National Research Council Canada, Transport Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada have partnered with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on their 60 electric bus trial, currently in its third year. This project aims to advance the understanding of the technical requirements of electric buses operating in a Canadian transit environment through the use of machine learning techniques to accurately and reliably estimate the energy demands of an electric bus fleet along routes. The models developed so far exhibit a capability to predict energy demands with approximately 33% fewer errors on average across TTC routes, compared to a non-modeling approach based on the historical mean of the demands, thus demonstrating the significant value of data-driven predictive modeling in this context. The ultimate goal of this research is to investigate if and to what extent such predictive modeling would allow for the transferability of the developed models from TTC to other transit agencies in Canada.

2. Prof. Amer Shalaby of the University of Toronto Transit Analytics Lab will give examples of the research activity in AI with a focus on trip planning and analyzing unstructured data such as tweets and complaints.

3. From Black Box to Transparency: Demystifying AI in Demand-Response and Dispatching Software, Ben Hudson, Chief Technology Officer, Blaise Transit