A simulation modelling an entire city state

How TUMCREATE takes scientific knowledge from the lab to the real world in Singapore

CityMoS is able to simulate future traffic volumes in cities (here Singapore).
CityMoS is able to simulate future traffic volumes in cities (here Singapore).

Researchers at the TUMCREATE research platform on the Singapore campus of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed CityMoS - City Mobility Simulator. This concept is now supporting the city state in southern Asia in the electrification of transportation. It is also helping to calculate the impact of transportation on the heat generated in the city. CityMoS is already being deployed in Germany, where it is helping with the e transformation of a DHL Freight logistics terminal.

How would it impact the environment if four of five road vehicles were electric-powered? How does the sudden shutdown of a central metro line affect journey times? How much heat is generated by transportation? These are the questions that CityMoS can answer. The simulation program analyzes commuter behavior, including public transportation data, and recognizes general movement patterns - and thus takes into account all mobility factors in its calculations, and not just traffic.

"CityMoS is the most advanced mobility simulator I know," says Prof. Alois Knoll of TUM. "First, that is because it is optimized for multi-processor systems, can run on consumer hardware and, with its parallel systems, permits practically unlimited simulation speeds. And second, it will support almost any kind of co-simulation." This means that other simulations, for example electricity grids, can be linked to CityMoS. "This makes it possible to calculate the anticipated development of traffic situations or volumes in advance," says the Head of the Chair of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Real-time Systems.

"Compared to products now on the market, CityMoS can simulate mobility for entire cities at microscopic resolution," explains Dr. David Eckhoff , who joined the TUMCREATE team as an informatics specialist at the end of 2016 and is now in charge of the ongoing development of CityMoS.

TUMCREATE promotes exchange with world-class researchers

The system was not developed in Germany, but rather in Singapore. More than 10 years ago Prof. Wolfgang Herrmann, then the president of TUM, called for a more intense exchange of ideas between researchers in the city state and TUM. This led to the establishment of the TUM Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (TUMCREATE). Since 2010 TUM and its many collaboration partners, including Nanyang Technical University (NTU), have received funding from the Singaporean government’s National Research Foundation (NRF).

The partners also benefit from the presence of leading global research institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Cambridge and ETH Zürich, which are also located on the campus. Between 2010 and 2021 NRF provided more than 70 million euros in funding to support initiatives in the area of mobility research: During that time, more than 100 scientists were constantly engaged in creating new mobility solutions for megacities on behalf of TUMCREATE.

CityMoS in practice: other research projects

"Simulations serve as virtual test labs, but ultimately they are only as good as the data fed into them," explains the TUMCREATE scientist David Eckhoff: "With CityMoS we are able to simulate the entire city of Singapore - down to each individual car." The advantage of Singapore: in its DataMall, the Land Transport Authority makes extensive data available that help in the modelling of the city.

CityMoS is currently being used in the following projects:

CiLoCharging (2021 to 2023): The Munich-based research project City Logistik Charging (CiLoCharging), under the leadership of the multinational corporation Siemens, is working to fully electrify a vehicle fleet of the logistics service provider DHL Freight. This includes the planning and dimensioning of charging stations. As a scientific partner, TUM has assigned doctoral students to the project and is providing access to the CityMoS simulator. The simulation environment for charging management will help to optimize the use of resources for an entire logistics fleet.

Singapore Integrated Transport and Energy Model (SITEM) : The Singaporean government wants half the vehicles on Singapore’s roads to be electric powered by 2030 and by 2040 wants all road traffic in the city state to be fueled by clean energy. This raises the question of how electric transportation will affect the power network. CityMoS simulates road traffic in detail and in real time - each individual vehicle and every traffic light, including the current charging level and the range of each car and truck. SITEM is also promoting the knowledge transfer between the research sector and real-world applications in Singapore. See also: Faszination Forschung , issue 28

  • Cooling Singapore : The goal of this cooperative project with ETH Zürich, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore Management University (SMU) is to measure the effect of anthropogenic sources - in other words humans and our infrastructure - on the heating of the city. CityMoS enables researchers to analyze the role of transportation in generating heat.
  • Joint innovation lab with Huawei: development activities funded for an additional two years

    "The mission of TUMCREATE is to pursue excellent research as a basis for attracting additional funding from industry," explains Professor Knoll of TUM. A big step in that direction is the MoVES lab (Mobility in Virtual Environments at Scale), a joint lab launched by Prof. Knoll and headed by Dr. David Eckhoff. It is supported by the technology company Huawei. "We currently have a staff of 13 people Our goal is to develop CityMoS into a market-ready simulator," explains lab director Eckhoff. Along with two TUM colleagues, Dr. Eckhoff has another iron in the fire: the new spinoff intobyte, established with the goal of taking the final step from mature prototype to a successful product.