Trends in Travel Demand Analysis and Urban Mobility

Attempting to deliver state-of-the-art solutions to current mobility problems and contribute to the vision of smart but sustainable cities of tomorrow (OECD 2002; EC 2007; EC 2013), a lot of research has been conducted to handle this mismatch between physical infrastructure, growing demand and on-going urban pressure.

Reviewing relevant innovations in transportation planning, many attempts introduced flexible and on demand responsive services (Flexible Transport solutions, Demand Responsive Transport, Door-to-Door Mobility, Mobility as a Service). These concepts, combined with the use of emerging technologies and ICT, have found increasing interest during the last decades. However, they consist of complex systems that have a number of goals, constraints and decision variables to take into account. This complexity derives and is multiplied by the existence and roles of different modes, regulatory and legislative context, service providers, financing systems, technologies, land-use patterns and of course, human behavior (Richardson 2005; Thompson et al., 2013).

In addition, it is a challenging era for urban transportation planners as the traditional 'predict and provide' forecasting approach is no longer desirable. One of the major innovations in transport demand analysis was activity-based modeling, an alternative to traditional four-step models that view travel as a derived demand. Producing disaggregate estimates of demand provides greater flexibility in analyzing the impacts of policies on travel behavior, as engaging in an activity 'represents' a dynamic interaction of household needs, tasks and constraints (Rasouli & Timmermans 2014).

However, the modeling approach needs to be extended taking into account the more dynamic context of modern lifestyle, social influence, ICT and a high level of uncertainty. Attempting to deliver innovative transport services like MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service), bottom-up initiatives are required to synchronize state-of-the-art research on flexible and demand-driven transportation systems, innovative and systemic theories, travel demand modeling advances as well as citizens' needs and desires.

Although current transportation frameworks provide numerous environmental and social advantages according to the EU agendas, we need to place social considerations and aspects of mobility in the forefront. In that way we can avoid any risks such as social costs and exclusion, managing transport demand to guarantee mobility, social inclusion and quality of life.

Feneri Anna-Maria (Nov 2016) ..Personal thoughts..

See attachement for the list of references