How Can the Promise of New Data and New Modelling Techniques Support Transport Decision Making for the Societal Challenges and Opportunities We Face? Transport for West Midlands’ Approach to Developing a New Transport Model for the Region

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is the transport arm of the WMCA and co-ordinates investment to improve the region’s transport infrastructure with the aim of creating a fully integrated, safe and secure transport network. TfWM, with its Local Authority partners, is also responsible for assessing and planning the region’s future transport needs so the network can meet the demands of businesses and a growing population. To support evidence based decision making the authors require appropriate analytical tools and forecasts including transport models. The authors most significant and primary asset is the PRISM tool. This was built as a large strategic model intended to gain insight into strategic issues to inform policy and planning, but which has primarily been used to support business case development for large public transport and highway schemes and the less frequent refreshes of local planning policy. It has evolved to do this well in the sense that business cases have been successfully produced and defended and local plans evidenced using the model have withstood planning inquiry examination and challenge. Whilst PRISM was considered cutting edge at the time of its development, and has been used to great effect over the last 15 years, the model is not able to answer many of the pressing questions facing society and local decision makers around changing behaviours and attitudes, new mobility services and network resilience challenges. Recently modelling and simulation capabilities and the availability of data has changed dramatically for the better. The authors want to harness this progress to develop the next generation of models with improved usability and functionality delivered by developing a new transport modelling suite (or digital twin). The authors are therefore undertaking a Discovery phase of User Research to refine and prioritise requirements across four areas before starting software development. 1. Short-term forecasting to support TfWM’s Regional Transport Coordination Centre including: o Dynamic observed usage data of the network to be brought into/snapped to one multi-modal view of the network. This will necessitate data harmonisation to cross-validate multiple data sources. o Creation of operational live baselines which will need to be available for the ‘current’ real-time view of the network, as well as being historically recorded (in order to periodically create fixed/archived baselines for repeatable use in specific strategic applications such as challengeable Local Plan evidence, WebTAG business cases etc). This will require near-to-real-time synthesis of baseline data to in-fill gaps between observations at the highest possible resolution. These baselines should be capable of auto-calibrate and validating as new data is added to the model. o Incident management whereby responses to unplanned incidents on the network can be modelled in advance to assess what will happen in the next 15 minutes to few hours on the network. o Creation of short-term forecasts i.e. what the network response to planned disruption (temporary network changes, event planning etc). 2. Mulit-resolution modelling suite: the ability to move between a regional scale model to an area-based geography down to a local model (e.g. a junction) using one consistent set of data. This will require the creation of scalable forecasting models at a micro-meso-macro and strategic level and the ability for users to switch between these model levels. All models or levels should be fed from one common set of data – widely shared, continually updated and cross validated where needed and a fixed baseline for TAG. These analyses should use an appropriate amount of data which makes them do-able in reasonable timescales. 3. Improved behavioural modelling – adding ‘attitudinal’ data to the existing population segmentation to allow testing of travel demand and new mobility queries e.g. responses to short-term disruption in the network, and how people view new mobility options such as mobility credits. This will involve association of behavioural traits to the synthetic network created in based on an evidenced segmentation and persona framework. 4. Improved user access – opening up the value of the data in the model to users to access directly in easily understandable map, table and narrative formats, and allow direct access to the models by users including: o expert user access for deep development/refinement o trained user access for specification of new forecasts / questions o data abstraction This Discovery phase will be complete by the time of the conference so the authors would be able to provide an update of the outcomes of this phase.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 13p
  • Monograph Title: European Transport Conference 2020

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01765161
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 11 2021 11:21AM