Creating Transport Models That Matter: a Strategic View on Governance of Transport Models and Road Maps for Innovation

Creating Transport Models That Matter: a Strategic View on Governance of Transport Models and Road Maps for Innovation


L Tavasszy , TNO Logisitics and Mobility, NL; M Duijnisveld , Delft University, NL; F Hofman, S Pronk van Hoogeveen, J van der Waard, N Schmorak, M van de Berg, J Francke, M Martens, O van de Riet, H Poot, E Reiding, Rijkswaterstaat, NL


We report on a 2-year project, executed together with the Dutch Ministry of Transport, that resulted in a strategic roadmap for the development of freight and passenger transport models and a long-term vision on governance of transport models.


Problem addressed
Transport models have various purposes: they increase our understanding of the transport system; they help to develop statistics and scenarios about the future and they serve as assessment tools in decision making processes or for ex post evaluation of policy interventions. Each of these purposes places different demands on the functionality of the models used, on the sensitivity of the model, the possibilities of the model with respect to the output and the process and duration off application of the models. The problem discussed in this paper is twofold: firstly we need to give direction to the long term development of passenger ? and freight demand models that meet the demand for policy information for the next 10 years. Secondly the demand and the supply side of the modelling market need to be organized to assure that the models available in the future meet the diverse and changing demands of policy makers.

Lack of organisation of model supply
At present, the specification and development of transport models takes place in an incremental way. R&D in modelling takes place in projects of various types: fundamental research, applied studies, software development, data acquisition, updating of models and so on. Depending on the objective of projects, the ownership of models and the availability of funding, different initiatives are taken by different organizations, with leadership over the process varying from project to project. Generally, there is little co-ordination between initiatives between organizations, which leads to the following problems:
- little insight from the user community in model availability and quality;
- no research in topic areas where there is a need for improved information;
- slow propagation of innovations from research towards the user community;
- lack of support for models from model users and affected non-users;
- waste of funds due to overlapping research without real competition;
- loss of scale economies in development efforts.

A strategic project on governance of model use and roadmaps for R&D
In our paper we report on a recently completed 2-year project, funded by and executed together with Rijkswaterstaat, resulting in a roadmap for the development of freight and passenger transport models and a long-term vision on governance of transport models.

The roadmapping process benefited from the collaboration between government bodies, the research community and model developers. It started with the identification of needs and an inventory of ongoing and planned research. In a cyclical process, model users and developers were challenged to connect their worlds through intermediate research steps (knowledge, data and models) and offer concrete functionalities to policy makers. On their turn, policy makers were encouraged to formulate their demands with respect to the functionality of the models. The final result is a series of roadmaps that span a development period of 5-10 years and have gained broad support from different communities. The main streams of model innovation comprising this roadmap include developments that aim at possibilities to generate information about the following topics:
- ports and regional economics
- supply chains and transport logistics
- effects of freight shares on congestion
- assessment of road network extensions
- infrastructure maintenance and replacement
- pricing policy
- reliability and network robustness
- sustainability and local quality of life
- accessibility of agglomerations
- megatrends in social and recreational traffic

Next to this research, a separate stream of work evolved at the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analyses at the Netherlands Ministry of Transport concerning the governance of transport models. The governance issues addressed included those related to the degree of standardization of models, to market vs. government led innovations in modelling, to process innovations to stimulate the use of models as story telling tools, and to approaches to reduce the vulnerability of planning processes due to model complexity. We highlight the main outcomes of this stream of work and discuss the consequences for model development, as internalized in the roadmap.

Structure of the paper
The paper is built up as follows. We report on the demand specification among policy makers. We provide a brief account of recent difficulties encountered in R&D, operation and maintenance of transport models (leading to, among others, huge delays in infrastructure project implementation), which called for higher-level strategic thinking about these processes. We describe alternative scenarios for governance of transport models, including experiences from abroad, and the process that has led to the formulation of the roadmaps. Next, the roadmaps for passenger and freight models are described and discussed in detail. We conclude with a sketch of the way forward.


Association for European Transport