Learning about data driven approaches to urban mobility

By Dr. Teresa de la Cruz, ZLC Project Manager.

Leer versión en español


The European Commission’s flagship CIVITAS programme has over the past ten years promoted a range of projects in partnership with European cities and urban areas to develop, test and roll out initiatives that support sustainable urban mobility, working towards the EU’s ambitious goals for mobility and transport in urban areas, as well as promoting the ‘Green Deal’ agenda,

ZLC has been engaged with a number of these projects, in particular SPROUT, (which stands for Sustainable Policy RespOnse to Urban mobility Transition), and we are delighted to have been given responsibility for delivering a new on-line training course which will induct students into the findings of SPROUT and two other CIVITAS work initiatives : HARMONY and MOMENTUM.

This e-learning course itself goes under the name of Data-driven approach to SUMP – (SUMP  stands for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning), and in particular the approaches that projects such SPROUT, working on data-driven policy making, have adopted. The aim is to give urban transport professionals the knowledge and capacity to implement in their cities new mobility solutions in a more effective and sustainable way. This will span the environmental, socio-cultural and spatial impacts of planning for mobility in large metropolitan areas, but always stressing the individuality of urban areas and thus the need for initiatives to be city-led (as indeed has all the underlying research).

Students will learn about these approaches and the results that have been obtained in different cities and urban areas, and discover the relevance of different types of traffic modelling and the application of new approaches to data. They will be shown how to apply the lessons to their own work, and examine the scope for further practical applications. There will be particular emphasis on how simulations and scenarios can be developed to reveal the likely impacts of future policy decisions.

Students will be accepted onto the course through an initial assessment process. They will be able to pursue the course as individuals and at their own pace (there are no group assignments or live elements), and progress through the course will be monitored by regular quizzes (so much friendlier than ‘exams’). It can be accessed through the CIVITAS e-learning centre.

This e-learning course is delivered in five blocks. The first block looks at the challenges of planning for smart mobility. Recent developments both in smart mobility and in the decision support methods available, and introduces the three project areas.

Block two covers the HARMONY initiative, which involved the development of a next-generation transport planning platform. There is particular focus on the use of a ‘tactical freight simulator’ to plan city and urban logistics, and a use case looks at the experience of Rotterdam in introducing Zero Emission Zones.

MOMENTUM is the topic for the third block. Here we look at emerging mobility solutions, and the ways in which the three-level framework of decision support tools developed under this initiative can assist. Use cases will be drawn from a number of cities.

Block four considers the work of SPROUT, and particularly how to implement  a data-driven approach for a sustainable policy response.

It covers a sustainability impact analyses specific to individual cities and urban areas, with use cases. Particularly featured are two tools developed within SPROUT – a System Dynamics tool to explore and assess the financial outcomes of policies, and the Innovation Self-Assessment tool which enables cities to assess how advanced they are in deploying or enabling the deployment of innovative mobility solutions.

A fifth, wrap up, block draws together the conclusions and learnings and culminates in a final test.

ZLC is excited to be offering this course which we believe will make a real contribution to enabling conurbations plan effective solutions to their mobility issues for both, passengers and freight.


For more information please contact Dr. Teresa de la Cruz at [email protected]