Innovative models for innovative services: a workshop with modellers

MOMENTUM organised a workshop to explore options for modelling emerging mobility solutions.

The MOMENTUM project offers an excellent opportunity to share ideas and gather cutting-edge expertise about advanced transport modelling techniques. The adaptation of transport simulation strategies to the emergence of new mobility solutions can only be successfully achieved by integrating the latest research results in decision support tools that become available to policy-makers.

To address this issue, a workshop with modelling experts from academia, consulting firms and transport authorities took place last October at POLIS headquarters in Brussels. The workshop, chaired by Luis Willumsen, introduced several questions about how to model emerging mobility options, focusing on carsharing systems and Demand Responsive Transport (DRT).

The attendees reflected upon the indicators that policy-makers are likely to request from models when managing the implementation of such solutions in cities. Aspects such as the future evolution of modal split and car ownership were highlighted, together with user-centric Key Performance Indicators such as detour and waiting time for DRT passengers. Experts provided their opinion on the data that will be needed for these simulation exercises, and discussed the needs for standards on new data sources, such as the data from shared mobility operators.

The discussion moved afterwards to the modelling approaches that are required to cope with these changes in urban transport. The attendees agreed upon the fact that the use of models is often limited by the lack of resources and skills among end users, such as policy-makers. Some of the envisaged improvements, such as the application of agent-based modelling techniques, must be combined with functionalities that facilitate the use and understanding of models. One of the cited solutions was the combination of advanced supply modelling tools with traditional transport demand models.

The monitoring of pilot projects was also recalled as a key data source for informing modelling approaches and parameters.