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Application Domains
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New Results
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Section: Application Domains

Urban economy and land use and transport modeling

Modern urban regions are highly complex entities. The understanding of the phenomena underlying urban sprawl and peri-urbanization is a key element to control the dynamics structuring urban space. Clearly, urban transport systems are intricately linked to urban structure and the distribution of activities, i.e., to land use. Urbanization generally implies an increase in travel demand. Cities have traditionally met this additional demand by expanding the transportation supply, through new highways and transit lines. In turn, an improvement of the accessibility of ever-farther land leads to an expansion of urban development, resulting in a significant feedback loop between transportation infrastructure and land use, one of the main causes of urban sprawl.

Several models have been developed in the field of urban economics to understand the complex relationship between transportation and land use and to facilitate the urban planning process. They enable the simulation of public policies and the quantification of indicators describing the evolution of urban structure. Key factors such as transport congestion, energy consumption, CO2 emissions etc., can be evaluated or estimated, and different urban development scenarios can be tested in a quantitative manner.

Yet, very few local authorities in charge of planning issues make use of these strategic models, mostly because they are difficult to calibrate and validate, two critical steps where systematic improvement would increase the level of confidence in the obtained results. These limitations prevent dissemination in local agencies. One goal of STEEP is therefore to meet the need of better calibration and validation strategies and algorithms. This research is the core of our projects CITiES (ANR Modèles Numériques) and TRACER (Ecos Nord Venezuela).