Over the last decade, a shift in mobility has occurred to accommodate different scales and purposes of travel, with accessibility becoming a more prominent objective. Micromobility, such as scooters and e-bikes, are beginning to redefine local travel. Transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are questioning the need for private vehicle ownership. Bus rapid transit and magnetic levitation are transforming the efficiency of public transit. Autonomous vehicles are attempting to reimagine the commute to accommodate medium-distance trips in the comfort of an automobile without the stress and lost time of driving. Urban air mobility as a concept is also becoming more popular, as it seeks to decrease the travel times for long-distance trips in sprawled and congested metropolitan areas. In short, the new key to mobility is multimodality. This dissertation focuses on the impact of urban air mobility on metropolitan transportation networks.
Introducing a new mobility mode into a region has enormous effects across a variety of metrics, including congestion, equity, sustainability, economic productivity, and long-term travel behavior and land use decisions. While these objectives are often intertwined and complex, it is valuable to initially investigate each independently to understand upper and lower bounds. Using simulation, this dissertation attempts to unpack the impact of urban air mobility on travel behavior and congestion specifically, developing the foundational software architecture for future scenario planning and transportation analysis. The preparedness of public agencies for urban air mobility is also investigated, underscoring the need for the simulation tools developed in this dissertation as decision support systems.
Microsimulation Analysis for Network Traffic Assignment (MANTA), a parallelized, GPU-based microsimulation platform, is presented as an agile, modular, and extensible contribution to the transportation simulation and modeling literature. Initial modeling of urban air mobility is conducted with MANTA, and a holistic modeling framework of ground traffic, ground-air coordination, and aerial flight, known as SimUAM, is then presented. The dissertation concludes with boots on the ground, revealing which public agencies in the United States are prepared in planning and policy for integrating urban air mobility into their transportation networks.