MOMENTUM: What are the challenges and opportunities for transport planning and modelling?


February 6, 2020


As part of the EU-funded MOMENTUM project, in which Aimsun is a partner, this report reviews recent disruptive changes in transport caused by new transport technologies and identifies the challenges and opportunities for sustainable urban mobility planning brought about by these innovations.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are bringing radical changes in urban mobility. On the demand side, phenomena like teleworking and e-shopping, are reducing commuting and shopping trips while increasing leisure and freight trips, thus modifying temporal demand patterns and modal split. On the supply side, ICTs are facilitating new options such as vehicle sharing and demand responsive transport, the emergence of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), and the rapid development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs).

The acceleration of technology evolution is changing urban mobility at a much faster pace than we have seen in previous decades, leading to an increasingly uncertain future. New mobility solutions hold great promise for moving towards a more sustainable and resilient mobility system, but they also raise concerns such as the induction of new trips, the switch from public transport to less sustainable modes, and the exclusion of vulnerable groups. Planners and decision makers need to understand these disruptive changes and evaluate the impact of different policies under a range of possible alternative futures, or they risk being unprepared as they were for the likes of Uber. However, to date most Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) and other policy instruments still lack a clear and integrated vision of how to harness the potential of new emerging technologies, while most existing research tends to highlight isolated positive findings, often overlooking the complex links between behavioural changes and new transport options.

This MOMENTUM paper gives an overview of the concepts that have to be taken into account to interpret and implement the enhancements that policy-makers require from transport modelling and simulation techniques to actually consider emerging mobility solutions in urban mobility planning processes. This framework is built upon a combination of a literature review and a stakeholder consultation process articulated through a series of workshops and a Delphi poll. The review of the existing literature provides a deep description of recent disruptive changes experienced by urban transport and the related policy measures, as well as an updated state-of-the-art of the transport planning tools and techniques which covers transport data sources, models and planning support tools. This, together with the consultation with transport practitioners, paves the way for an identification of the main challenges and opportunities for sustainable urban mobility planning that accompany emerging mobility options. Additionally, a set of alternative futures in relation to the evolution of these innovations are explored through a series of scenarios.

The paper assesses the impact of new mobility solutions on cities, and more precisely, on transport planning tools and techniques, in order to identify the envelope of all possible future requirements that transport models and decision support tools will be expected to satisfy. By analysing the role of these tools in current urban mobility planning cycles, MOMENTUM identifies the gaps that any enhancement effort has to fill in order to make a meaningful contribution to sustainable mobility.

Read the full article for more details.

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