Spatial Microsimulation of Annual Car KM Travelled by Purpose

There is a vital and urgent need for carbon reduction in the transport sector. Whilst decarbonisation technology, and smart systems can contribute to the solution, critical examination of the capability to reduce travel demand is also essential. Emerging research in transport carbon reduction argues for deriving regional level transport carbon budgets from the best available climate models. For these budgets be translated into targets and action, there need to be indicators of local level demand and carbon emissions which can then be used to determine the level of demand reduction needed. Whilst it is common to produce trip end models or synthetic populations for transport models, these estimates of demand usually are used merely as an input to a network model. Demand estimates are not questioned in terms of whether there is capability to reduce demand or whether a reduction in that demand would create vulnerability to social exclusion or whether reduction in demand would curb ‘excess travel’. Small area indicators of demand by purpose, visualised in a way which is easy for non-technical policy makers to understand the (rather than being hidden as matrices deep inside a model) provide useful insights. Furthermore, it is possible using geo-demographic data and approaches from quantitative social science to contextualise demand in a way which gives indicators of the impact of demand reduction in terms of CO₂ savings, vulnerability and curbing excess. The authors carry out spatial micro-simulation (population synthesis) at the individual and household level. To avoid relying on out of date census data the authors apply microsimulation based population projections and make use of recent travel survey data. Using a nationally representative travel survey, the authors are able to generate a population for the whole of England (approximately 50 million individuals in 35,000 zones of mean 1500 residents). This spatial resolution allows comparison of areas within a city region, but also between city regions and importantly to the rural and peri-urban areas in between. The results describe small area spatial patterns of the capability to lower transport emissions, contextualised by geodemographic data which indicates the potential for effects on a population’s vulnerability. The authors use a range of spatial data visualisation techniques to communicate demand to policy stakeholders. The authors use open source software and libraries (in the R language) so that the simplifying assumptions of the authors population synthesis can be seen, and other analysts can comment on and contribute to adding nuance to the simulation, or develop populations for different European countries.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Abstract used by permission of Association for European Transport. Alternative title: Travel Demand, Capability for Carbon Reduction and Implications for Vulnerability and Excess Travel
  • Corporate Authors:

    Association for European Transport (AET)

    1 Vernon Mews, Vernon Street, West Kensington
    London W14 0RL,    
  • Authors:
    • Philips, Ian
    • Shadbolt, Claire
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2020


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Bibliography; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 12p
  • Monograph Title: European Transport Conference 2020

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01768544
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 19 2021 2:52PM