Project components and their interpendencies


Framework UrbanSimE


Increasing concerns about sustainable development and the growth of urban areas have brought forth in recent years a renewed enthusiasm and need for the use of quantitative models in the field of transportation and spatial planning. This project will improve urban simulation models and their interaction with transport models. Unified operational models that favour a microscopic approach, such as UrbanSim and ILUTE (Integrated Land Use, Transportation, and Environment Modelling System) have recently gained a lot of interest both in the land use and transport communities. Nevertheless, in their current forms these models still require further development to support a comprehensive analysis of the main environmental and socio-economic questions of the sustainability of urban growth and the relevant public policies.

The goal of this project is to address the modeling and computational issues of integrating modern mobility simulations with the latest micro-simulation land use models. The project will advance the state-of-the-art in the field of the microsimulation of prospective integrated models of Land-Use and Transport (LUTI). On the modelling side, the main challenges are to integrate a demographic evolution module, to add an environmental module, to improve the overall consistency and, last but not least, to deal with the multi-scale aspects of the problem: several time horizons and spatial resolutions are involved.

Theoretical models (such as the monocentric textbook model) have proven useful in stating normative results, but remain of limited usefulness, when it comes to empirical applications that include any degree of disaggregation. However, they are useful benchmarks. Simulation tools are more suitable for dealing with realistic policy analysis. Integrated urban modelling is still a complex task and developing a complete and reliable tool remains out of reach of many professional organizations. The Open Platform for Urban Simulation (OPUS), is an Open Source modelling platform for a suite of behavioural-based models addressing (housing location decisions, employment decisions, and urban form). UrbanSim is an integrated model system implemented within the OPUS Platform.

UrbanSim has proved to be a very powerful and efficient tool in the context of American cities (Waddell et al, 2007, Waddell and Borning, 2004). However, various recent projects conducted in Europe (see below) point to the need to adapt the available modelling platform, to develop new tools consistent with the historical, political and social characteristics of European cities and with specific lifestyles and preferences. High-level academic research in transportation, planning, economics and in econometric modelling and in other fields such as geography, new economic geography, computer science and operations research happen to be particularly relevant for analysing urban development and building integrated land use and transportation models. These developments will aim at:

These developments will be analysed, tested and validated for three case studies in Europe. We promote this new prototype modelling platform UrbanSimE for Europe among the professional and academic communities in order to ease its application by European local and regional communities.


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