Aimsun: a backbone for MOMENTUM’s transport modelling
We spoke with Athina Tympakianaki from Aimsun, an international software-and services provider, which is focussed on strategic transportation planning, traffic engineering and mobility management. Aimsun has has contributed to the MOMENTUM project by developing transport modelling methods and simulation tools for emerging mobility solutions. In collaboration with project technical partners, the Aimsun team integrated MOMENTUM’s models and algorithms into its state-of-the-art transport simulation software.
Athina, since Aimsun was involved in the review of the state-of-the-art in transport simulation and decision-support-tools, what did surprise you and your colleagues and what are the recent developments in this field?
There are numerous recent studies in the literature tackling various aspects of the modelling and simulation of emerging mobility solutions. Nevertheless, many cities are still using traditional strategic transport modelling approaches to plan new strategies or interventions. The limitation of these models is that they are unable to model the behaviour of travellers in detail, for example their daily activities within the transport network, departure times, etc.
The main research gap that we identified was that we are lacking a tool that combines the principles of traditional strategic transport modelling approaches with state-of-the-art approaches that can represent in more detail travellers’ behaviour and activity in the transport network.
The scope of MOMENTUM is to fill this gap by developing the right methods and integrating them with traditional strategic transport models. This enhances their capabilities in modelling new shared mobility solutions for decision makers, while benefiting from previous network model developments.
Besides this, one main task was the enhancement of transport simulation software, based on supply & demand models. What is a supply and demand model in plain English?
The supply defines the road infrastructure, namely, the traffic network. Supply models capture the traffic phenomena, such as capacity, in the network through detailed representation of the network characteristics and traffic dynamics.
The demand models represent the number of trips between origins and destinations in the network as well as the routes that travellers choose to reach their destination.
The interaction between demand and supply models reproduces the travellers’ behaviour in the network and the prevailing traffic conditions, as realistically as possible.
What is the basis for the transport simulation software?
Transport simulation software is important to plan, design and evaluate complex transport applications such as road network design, public transport planning, or traffic control strategy development, in a timely and efficient manner. Transport simulation consists of mathematical models and data aiming to replicate the real-world phenomena of transport systems as realistically as possible.
In the MOMENTUM project, Aimsun worked specifically on enhancing Aimsun Next traffic simulation software and Aimsun Ride shared mobility planning service.
That’s clear now, but which emerging mobility solutions did you include?
Fleet planning and operational solutions were developed for various emerging mobility services including Demand Responsive Transit (DRT), Ride Sharing (RS), Bike Sharing (BS), Scooter Sharing (SS) and Car Sharing (CS) systems. The integration of the proposed fleet operation methods into the transport simulation software allows assessment of the feasibility and effectiveness of the strategic planning of the shared-service of interest.
Will your results be available for the public in form of a presentation, webinar or deliverable?
Yes, all the results will be available to the public and will be published in the project deliverables, and in collaboration with the project partners we will be disseminating our work at conferences and webinars.
Aimsun is a co-author in a paper that has been accepted by the European Working Group on Transportation for their 24th meeting, which will be held virtually from 8-10 September. Learn more here.