Looking for a Better Future in 2020: Application of the Backcasting Methodology in the North-west Sensitive Area of Metropolitan Madrid.



Looking for a Better Future in 2020: Application of the Backcasting Methodology in the North-west Sensitive Area of Metropolitan Madrid.

Authors

Á Aparicio Mourelo, A Sánchez Vicente, CEDEX, ES

Description

The proposed paper is focused on the application of the backcasting principles to an area of special interest due to its environmental sensitivity and the amount of traffic that it supports.

Abstract

There are few doubts about the current necessity of undertaking a deep analysis on what are the present transport tendencies and how planning should assist in the definition of the best strategies and actions to tackle the problems that we are now facing. The aim of achieving sustainable development has been widely recognised by researchers and practitioners but somehow there are not enough efforts to fulfil what the latter concept should mean regardless of interpretation. The current social and economic way of evolution is in discussion, since it causes significant impacts that threaten the attainment of the final objective of improving quality of life, in the broadest sense, both for current and future generations. Maintaining the current trends in the transport sector is clearly incompatible with this objective.

Conventional planning and assessment methodologies and techniques developed to mitigate transport detrimental impacts have analysed observed and projected transport trends and have tried to improve its environmental and social effects, often by ex-post measures. Although this approach has led to an improvement in comparison to previous results, and despite the adoption of new regulations seeking for ex-ante mitigation, it has not lead us towards meeting long﷓term environmental objectives.

New, innovative tools and approaches are needed to enhance the aim of sustainability. One of the most interesting methodological procedures to be followed is called "backcasting": starting from that "desirable" long-term future scenario, a set of actions required to make it viable is identified. The desirable future is defined through the use of criteria which can be quantified and have environmental significance. Taking into account the current trends, the actions to be undertaken will then lead us to achieve this situation.

The proposed paper is focused on the application of the backcasting principles to an area of special interest due to its environmental sensitivity -most of the north-west part of the Madrid region is an environmentally protected area under national and European regulations- and the amount of traffic that it nowadays supports, which is expected to rise significantly if current trends continue. The Madrid metropolitan area is a very active territory in terms of economic development, with implications such as urban sprawl, traffic increment, and environmental and social detrimental impacts.

In this context, a desirable future for the year 2020 is defined through the use of a set of indicators, including emissions, energy consumption, land take and travel time, which aimed values for 2020 are defined according to the policies, strategies and protocols already in force, translated to the area under study.

An estimation of traffic flows through the area is developed using the VISUM transport model. Regarding the baseline situation, the model is run with 2004 data from the Regional Transport Authority, including origin/destination and number of trips by private vehicle and public transport, modelling such trips on the existing transport infrastructure. The amount of trips for the year 2020 in the Business As Usual 2020 scenario is calculated from the year 2004 data, expanded by the predicted increase in land take and its use (industrial, residential, commercial) and therefore potential population and origin-destinations as well as different infrastructure options.

In order to know the degree of environmental effects, the indicators mentioned above are calculated for the baseline scenario using VISUM results and the COPERT emission factors for each type of vehicle technology. In addition, an estimation of the likely new vehicle technologies and their emission factors for the year 2020 is also developed, which will be applied to VISUM results for 2020 BAU scenario.

Indicators for the BAU scenario will then be compared with those for the desirable scenario in order to assess how distant they are. According to the differences, a set of policy options, measures and combinations of them will be defined, including technological and demand management options. Their potential contribution to the achievement of the pursued target values will be assessed, aiming at identifying the best combination.

Publisher

Association for European Transport