Local Transport Today is the authoritative, independent journal for transport decision makers. Analysis, Comment & News on Transport Policy, Planning, Finance and Delivery since 1989.

Data & Modelling 2016

Modelling | Policy | Planning

Juliana O'Rourke


We are entering an era of software dependency, which is why the Googles and Apples of the world are so interested in the transport sector. This issue of Data and Modelling reflects these ongoing changes in focus; from modelling Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, better understanding how to model walking and public transport, how to use big data effectively, and how integrating land use and door-to-door transport plans is bringing new challenges for modellers. This issue also addresses a key question that will be explored in depth at this year's Modelling World: how will transport modellers be shaping forecasts in the future?

Many of our speakers have noted, in the run up to this year's Modelling World, how the impact of new initiatives in the urban space increasingly relies on software architecture. The social benefit from user-friendly travel apps, integrated ticketing, the amount of available parking near a new housing development; all these issues increasingly become matters of market-led software engineering rather than the result of decisions made by the authorities.

Technological advances are accelerating models; data-driven processes enable them to be faster and simpler. Says Modelling World Chairman Tom Van Vuren: I can imagine a future in which transport modelling will no longer involve base year estimation – this would be done automatically through the use of big data – and our sole raison d’etre would be the development and intelligent application of the forecasting elements in our models. This would involve the development of future input scenarios, based on our understanding of the current transport system and the society it supports and possible future social, economic and technological developments.'

Modelling World 2016 will address these issues, along with the need for a different kind of model that can adapt to new mobility patterns. The future is approaching fast and, as ever, Data and Modelling, along with Modelling World, is at the forefront of keeping our professional community engaged and up to date.

Juliana O’Rourke

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