The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


CASA Working Paper 163

Image from Working Paper 163

1 March 2011

Visually-Intelligible Land Use Transportation Models for the Rapid Assessment of Urban Futures

We are building a series of fast, visually accessible cross-sectional, hence static urban models for large metropolitan areas that will enable us to rapidly test many different scenarios pertaining to both short and long term urban futures. We call this framework SIMULACRA which is a forum for developing many different model variants which can be finely tuned to different problem contexts and future scenarios. The models are multi-sector, dealing with residential, retail/service and employment location, are highly disaggregate and subject to constraints on land availability and transport capacities. They have an explicit urban economic focus around transport costs, incomes and house prices and thus encapsulate simple market clearing mechanisms.

Here we will briefly outline this class of models, paying particular their structure and the way physical flows and locations are mirrored by economic flows in terms of costs and prices. Two versions of the model exist so far. First, a 'one window' desktop pilot version with the simplest imaginable graphical interface, and second a much more elaborated framework developed for web access, extensible to web service architectures and other services. To demonstrate its flexibility and intelligibility, we define the various interfaces and demonstrate how the aggregate model can be calibrated to the wider London region to which it is applied. During the presentation, we will demo the model with respect to the rapid assessment of different urban future based on 'What If' scenarios. The key feature of this entire project is that the model and its variants can be run in a matter of seconds, thus entirely changing the traditional dialogue associated with its use and experimentation.

This working paper is available as a PDF. The file size is 434KB.

Authors: Michael Batty, Duncan Smith, Jon Reades, Anders Johansson, Joan Serras, Camilo Vargas-Ruiz

Publication Date: 1/3/2011

Download working paper No. 163.