Technical University of Munich: A simulation modelling an entire city state


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.