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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 288205.

Models for Optimising Dynamic Urban Mobility MODUM Final Recommendations and Results


IMPRINT

MODUM IN A NUTSHELL

MODUM – Models for Optimising Dynamic Urban Mobility

MODUM addresses the environmental footprint in the trans-

Final Brochure; December 2014

port sector by developing a new approach for pro-active

Text: Dr. Sven Maerivoet, Transport & Mobility Leuven

demand-responsive management of traffic.

Design & Layout: FGM-AMOR Forschungsgesellschaft Mobiliät -

This approach enables energy-efficient multi-modal transport

Austrian Mobility Research

choices accommodating dynamic variations, minimising the

Pictures: Page 2-3: i-stock; p. 4-8: FGM-AMOR; p.9 left: H.Schiffer, p.9

environmental impact and improving the quality of life in ur-

right: i-stock, p.10 left: Eltis-Plus; p.10 right: i-stock, p.11: FGM-AMOR

ban environments.

MODUM – Models for Optimising Dynamic Urban Mobility Project type: Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) Programme: 7th EU Framework Programme Objective ICT-2011.6.6 Low carbon multi-modal mobility and freight transport Project coordinator: Transport & Mobility Leuven Griet De Ceuster +32 16 317730 griet.deceuster@tmleuven.be The sole responsibility for the content of this document lies with the

Central contact:

authors. It does not represent the opinion of the European Communi-

Transport & Mobility Leuven

ties. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may

Sven Maerivoet

be made of the information contained therein. MODUM is funded by the

+32 16 317733

European Union in the FP7 programme.

sven.maerivoet@tmleuven.be

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 288205.

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BACKGROUND & MOTIVATION Transport congestion problems contribute around 70% of pollutants to urban

Urban transport and related congestion

environments. The transport sector by itself consumes up to some 30% of the

problems contribute to up to 70% of CO2-

total energy in the EU. These figures suggest that if Europe is to reduce its CO2

emissions in urban environment. Addition-

emissions by making an efficient use of energy while improving the quality of life

ally, the transport sector consumes about

in European cities, novel approaches for the optimal management of urban trans-

a third of the total energy need in the EU.

port complexity must be developed and adopted in the transport sector.

These figures suggest that if Europe is to

MODUM addresses the environmental footprint in the transport sector by developing a new approach for traffic management. To that end, it employs the multi-agent system paradigm, which is used in a novel setting, i.e., for distributed coordination and forecasting (of, e.g., travel times) by means of self-organising virtual ants. In addition, multi-modal solutions are provided through a noticeboard and bidding

reduce its CO2 emissions by making an efficient use of energy, new approaches for optimal management of the complex urban transport must be developed and adopted.

approach using real-time data and declared destinations.

MODUM addresses the environmental footprint in the transport sector by developing a new approach for pro-active demand-responsive management of traffic to enable energy-efficient multi-modal transport choices accommodating dynamic variations, minimising the environmental impact and improving the quality of life in urban environments.

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THE MODUM APPROACH In practice, this translates into a tool that commuters can use for their daily

MODUM will consider commuters, in

mobility. Whether or not they use bicycles, private cars, or a combination of

combination with both private and public

public transport, MODUM can provide with the greenest or fastest alternative

transport, facing dynamic conditions such

to reach their destinations. Moreover, the provided routing advice also takes

as unexpected disturbances that are typi-

dynamic conditions into account, such as unexpected disturbances typical of

cal for urban environments.

urban environments. In addition, the MODUM framework provides local administrations with a tool to obtain more insight into the traffic dynamics of their cities. At anytime, the application provides the current state in the network, based on information from available traffic detectors. In addition, MODUM also provides information on transport links where no explicit measurements are

MODUM addresses the environmental

made, by means of cleverly interpolating the traffic conditions using a calibrated

footprint in the transport sector by devel-

microscopic traffic flow model.

opinga new approach for traffic management. To that end, it employs the multiagent system paradigm, which is used in a novel setting, i.e., for distributed coordination and forecasting (of, e.g., travel times) by means of self-organising virtual ants. In addition, multi-modal solutions are provided through a noticeboard and bidding approach using real-time data and declared destinations.

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MODUM has undertaken a requirements capture for low-carbon and efficient mobility by means of three qualitative studies. They each rely on a different research technique, namely (1) a survey for collecting critical incidents, (2) a two-round Delphi study, and (3) a series of focus group interviews at different locations. The triangulation of these studies has provided an in-depth understanding of current commuting behaviour and practices in addition to the factors that influence such behaviour.

In summary, MODUM provides on the one hand commuters with up-to-date

In MODUM scientific objectives push the

multi-modal travel information, and on the other hand it provides local adminis-

state-of-the-art in the area of pro-active

trations with a means for more efficient traffic management within their cities.

traffic control and deliver new knowledge

All in all, this leads to improvement of the quality of life in urban environments.

in the area in terms of models and requirements (demand and supply side).

In order to accomplish all of this, MODUM is composed of various interrelated core components. As already mentioned, there is a microscopic traffic flow simulator at the heart of the application. In itself, it provides a complete view of traffic conditions on the transport network. Additionally, it is queried by two other services: one of them is responsible for gathering information on the fastest and greenest routes throughout the transportation network, including not

The prototype of the MODUM system

only private road traffic but also public transportation (such as buses, trams,

provides an implementation of an optimi-

metro, and trains). The other service is centred around predicting road traffic

sation approach to traffic management,

travel times for short periods of up to 30 minutes to 1 hour into the future. The

which is capable of dynamically adapting

interaction of these three components makes MODUM truly an innovative player

the overall flows of traffic to unexpected

in the field of personal mobility assistance, as it not only calculates for example

disturbances in order to minimise carbon

the fastest commuting route, but it also takes into account the predicted travel

emissions within an urban complex envi-

time in the future.

ronment.

While the mathematical computation engines are working behind the screens, the entire MODUM system is accessed by a commuting end-user via both a website and a mobile app. Registration of commuters wishing to use the app can be done via a supporting website. It also serves them with a personal dashboard to track their mobility behaviour, CO2 emissions, et cetera. The app itself then equips users with an easy-to-use method to ask routing advice for the fastest and greenest routes, depending on users’ specific preferences for transport modes.

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FINAL RESULTS OF MODUM MODUM not only provided a useful app for commuters and an informative sys-

MODUM supports city councils in their

tem for traffic managers, it is also backed by dedicated server infrastructure

efforts to minimise the harmful effects

that can be deployed anywhere. The software implementation of the synthe-

of urban traffic: MODUM helps traffic op-

sised approach focuses on the telecommunication challenges of a realistic

erators to manage urban traffic more effi-

demonstrator. MODUM’s prototype was validated by staging real-life experi-

ciently, and MODUM helps city councils to

ments, which were evaluated by the relevant traffic management structures

support their citizens with environmentally

within the traffic control centres. In addition, the MODUM project also created a

conscious multi-modal routing informa-

structured evaluation framework which was used in the deployment stages of

tion.

the application. This evaluation framework is novel, in that it is essential to ensure that the right validation methods and assessments will be properly carried out in order to have robust and clearly interpretable results at the end. Further-

The “package” that MODUM offers to city

more, the evaluation methodology is based on the CONVERGE and MAESTRO

councils basically comprises of two parts:

project guidelines for technical assessment, adapted to the specific nature of

the MODUM Integrated Simulation Model, and the MODUM applications for mobile phones and in-car devices.

MODUM’s innovative modelling approach allows traffic operators not only to get an instant overview of the current traffic situation on the city’s whole road network, but it also provides them with a forecast of the traffic development on the city’s streets. MODUM enables traffic operators to better anticipate the effects of interventions and the consequences of incidents, and thus to manage urban traffic more efficiently.

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MODUM helps to support environmentally conscious transport decisions Based on the innovative modelling approach, MODUM offers routing information highlighting the most environmentally friendly routes. Applications developed within the MODUM project allow accessing this information also via mobile and in-car devices. This enables city councils to help their citizens to plan their urban trips more ecology-minded.

the MODUM system. The framework consists of two major evaluation levels:

Software implementation of this synthe-

one dealing with the evaluation of the models used for the MODUM application,

sised approach focuses on the telecom-

and another one that puts the focus on the assessment of the application in

munication challenges of two realistic

terms of technical performance, expected impacts, and user acceptance.

demonstrators: the city of Nottingham (UK) and the city of Sofia (BG). The devel-

Testing and demonstration was done in two cities that served as candidates

oped prototype was validated by staging

for field trials. These cities were Nottingham in the United Kingdom, and So-

real-life experiments in Nottingham and in

fia in Bulgaria. Both cities were specifically chosen as they are at two ends

Sofia, which the relevant traffic manage-

of a spectrum: Nottingham has a rich traffic management infrastructure with

ment structures within the traffic control

real-time video support and active intervention, and is thus characterised as a

centres of these cities evaluated.

mature traffic management environment. Sofia on the other hand, has, in comparison with Nottingham, very little active traffic management. Traffic lights are controlled independently through local controllers and the strategy for dealing with incidents is reactive, rather than proactive. The absence of any significant

Objectives of the MODUM field trials

level of coordinated traffic management infrastructure, coupled with the ef-

The purpose of the MODUM field trials

forts underway to deploy new infrastructure and the availability of GPS logging,

was twofold: On the one hand the aim of

characterises Sofia as a more immature traffic management environment. Both

the field trials was to test the application

cities provide a well-suited range of testgrounds for the MODUM application. In

in a “real-world” scenario and get the as-

addition, the consortium was also in contact with Coventry, leading to another

sessment and feedback of the test users

project in which parts of MODUM are used, such that the flexibility of MODUM’s

and the city councils’ staff. On the other

proposed solution for deployment in other cities is addressed as well.

hand the objective of the field trials was to get an indication of the impact potential

The main results from the MODUM project show that it is feasible for a city to

of the MODUM application with respect to

provide such an app, thereby directly tying into the needs of daily commut-

reduction of carbon emissions and dura-

ers who wish to more efficiently organise their personal mobility. The fact that

tion of journeys in urban centres.

public transport information can be seamlessly integrated within the application framework is a huge bonus for systems that provide routing advice.

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The main results from the MODUM project show that it is feasible for a city to provide a useful app, thereby directly tying into the needs of daily commuters who wish to more efficiently organise their personal mobility.

Furthermore, MODUM allowed commuters to a priori determine the perform-

The MODUM app system is predicting

ance of their trips, by serving them with up-to-date real-time information in one

traffic conditions for the near future and

single view, something that hitherto was not easily possible. Given the number

provides the fastest and greenest routes.

of trips made by the field trial users within the projects, we can state that the app is both stable and userfriendly, two very important characteristics for successful apps, leading to a higher user retention rate. The impact of the MODUM application will only be significant if it is to be implemented on a wider scale. There are two aspects involved here, one is how using the MODUM system by a broader user base within a city will lead to more global effects, and the other one is how the MODUM system can have benefits by expanding it to other European cities. A traveller that has the MODUM system to his avail, will be better informed than

The MODUM system provides a new

some other travellers and has an advantage compared to them. Increasing the

method for nearing a system optimum,

penetration of the MODUM system within the population will naturally lead to

while still remaining based on dedicated

more informed drivers. If everybody uses the MODUM system, then it stands

routing advice to individual travellers. It

to reason that this will lead a system optimum of traffic load on the network.

thus bridges the gap between traffic op-

The main reason is because the app is predicting traffic conditions for the near

erators and individual travellers, by means

future, and it does this for all the MODUM-equipped travellers in the system.

of enabling more optimal routing and traf-

As such, the system will continuously try to generate the best/greenest routes.

fic control.

If all users were (1) to choose the same cost function and (2) always follow the advice of the MODUM app, then the system will settle near an optimum. In this respect, the MODUM system provides a new method for nearing a system optimum, while still remaining based on dedicated routing advice to individual travellers. It thus bridges the gap between traffic operators and individual travellers, by means of enabling more optimal routing and traffic control.

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When an expansion of the MODUM system to other European cities should oc-

The implemention of the MODUM system

cur, we need to be aware of the different legislative, financial, and social frame-

in other European cities is possible since

works in various cities that can lead to possible barriers for the implementation

the MODUM system is scalable and trans-

of typical pilot and demonstration projects in a European context. Nevertheless,

ferable to other contexts.

there is an inherent scalability in the solution that the MODUM system provides. This is because, as already explained, we deployed the system in two cities that are quite different in their characteristics with respect to the environment for traffic management. Because of this, it should be possible to expand the assessment results to most other European cities in a scaling up.

I WANT TO GO FROM A TO B

THE MODUM SYSTEM

1 USER REQUEST

TRAFFIC UPDATES

ROUTE & MODE SUGGESTION

4 OPTIMISED TRAVEL TIME FORECAST

3

TRAVEL TIME FORECAST (PEROIDIC)

MULTI-MODE DECISION SUPPORT TOOL FOR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT

2 USER REQUEST AND ROUTE SOLUTION

TRAFFIC CONGESTION DATA SIMULATOR

ROADSIDE SENSORS FLOATING CARS

0

REAL TIME TRAFFIC PREDICTION TOOL

TRAFFIC UPDATES

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THE FUTURE OF MODUM For starters, MODUM provides two distinct products: an Integrated Simulation

MODUM provides 2 products: (1) an In-

Model (including an interface for traffic operators) that provides software that

tegrated Simulation Model and (2) appli-

models the current and near-future traffic situation on the city’s road network

cations for mobile phones and for mobile

based on sensor data and floating car information, and calculates routing infor-

(in-car) devices.

mation based on this modelled traffic situation. In addition, MODUM provides applications for mobile phones and for mobile (in-car) devices. The primary target group for MODUM’s products are city councils. Although

The primary target group for MODUM’s

road users are not a direct target group for MODUM, they are in itself the target

products are city councils. They have sev-

group for the city councils. These latter may buy the “MODUM package” (i.e.,

eral options how to implement the “MO-

the aforementioned products). It is then up to them to see how they will make

DUM package” in thier city and make it

the outcomes of the implementation of this “MODUM package” accessible to

accessible to their citizens. The MODUM

their citizens. For example, city councils may provide their citizens with access

implementation in the test cities of Sofia and Nottingham can be transferrred to other European cities.

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The MODUM system can help to reduce CO2-emissions in urban environment. The transport sector still consumes about a third of the total energy need in the European Union. MODUM can help to decrease the negative effects of individual mobility for cleaner and better cities.

to MODUM via a website and/or by offering the MODUM apps. This has already

The MODUM system provides various

proven to work partially in the case of Sofia, where the MODUM consortium

benefits for each of its users. It helps to

coordinated together with Vivacom – Bulgaria’s largest telephone company – to

reduce travel times, pollution, and to avoid

mass-distribute the MODUM app and attract potential commuters to use the

traffic jams. Furtehermore it allows better

app.

traffic control in real time.

In general, the MODUM system provides various benefits for each of its users. It helps to reduce travel times, pollution, and traffic jams. In addition it also allows better traffic control in real time by giving traffic information for the whole

The lessons learned from the MODUM

city road network. Without MODUM, information is limited to sensor data and

project can help cities to implement such

covers not the whole road network. Note that the involved mobility and transport

a system. Nothing can be more convinc-

operators (in Nottingham and Sofia) have a great deal of experience in terms of

ing to other stakeholders than systems

investigating professional applications, pilots in the industry, and internal fine-

already implemented in the real world,

tuning of operations at the forefront. Nothing can be more convincing to other

together with key individuals speaking the

stakeholders than systems already implemented in the real world, together with

voice of the traffic and transport opera-

key individuals speaking the voice of the traffic and transport operators and

tors and having experienced impacts from

having experienced impacts from research. This combination is the overlooked

research.

element for convincing marketing in many technology-driven seller push approaches.

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MODUM – Models for Optimising Dynamic Urban Mobility MODUM supports city councils in their efforts to minimise the harmful effects of urban traffic: MODUM helps traffic operators to manage urban traffic more efficiently, and MODUM helps city councils to support their citizens with environmentally conscious multi-modal routing information.

Project partners: Austrian Mobility Research FGM-AMOR, AT KU Leuven, BE MUSAT Sofia, BG Nottingham City Council, UK Nottingham Trent University, UK Sofia Centre for Mobility, BG Technolution B.V., NL University of Manchester, UK

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 288205.

The sole responsibility for the content of this document lies with the authors. It does not represent the opinion of the European Communities. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. MODUM is funded by the European Union in the FP7 programme.

For additional information about MODUM, please visit: http://modum-project.eu/

Modum final brochure  

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