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    Opportunities and challenges for automated vehicles (individual, public and freight transport)

    Since several years many developments regarding self-driving, automated vehicles (AVs) take place. Within the coming years it is expected that automated vehicles are becoming part of our transportation system. Therefore it’s becoming more and more important for policy makers to get insights into the state-of-the-art developments around AVs, in order to foster applications of AVs which are promising from a societal point of view and to take these developments into consideration during the decision-making process.

    Definition and function of automation
    Automation in this study refers to the transport system including all of its components, such as vehicles, drivers, users, infrastructure, information systems and applications. The level in which the driver is still ‘in the loop’ is used in order to discriminate between the different levels of vehicle automation: driver assistance (level 1), partial automation (level 2), conditional automation (level 3) and high/full automation (level 4).
    In this study, our aim is to analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to different applications of automation for autonomous private vehicles, freight transport and handling, and public transport. The potential of different applications of AVs in the Zuidvleugel in this study is strictly considered from a societal perspective (demand driven), in which AVs have a societal contribution to answer challenges the Zuidvleugel will face the upcoming years. Each application of automation is analyzed based on its functional ability to contribute to more agglomeration power of the Randstad Zuidvleugel, which in turn can improve the position of the Randstad Zuidvleugel relative to other European metropolitan areas.

    Conclusions
    We can conclude that a variety of (developments of) applications of automation exist in the Netherlands and worldwide regarding autonomous vehicles, freight and public transportation. We see several opportunities for the Zuidvleugel to benefit from these developments. Some of them are relevant for the short term (4 years), whereas other developments need more time to may be applied.

    Read more: Essay TU Delft and Presentation workshop automated vehicles

    Urban Mobility Lab in Amsterdam

    Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS), het nieuwe instituut voor toegepaste stedelijke technologie en ontwerp start met drie projecten. Deze projecten gaan nog dit jaar van start; Rain Sense, Urban Pulse en Urban Mobility Lab. Deze projecten voldoen aan belangrijke criteria van AMS-projecten: er zijn partners van het instituut én inwoners van de stad betrokken, de onderzoek is nuttig voor de inwoners van Amsterdam en de projecten zijn wereldwijd gezien innovatief.

    Urban Mobility Lab (olv Serge Hoogendoorn, Hans van Lint en Niels van Oort) houdt zich bezig met het begrijpen en kunnen voorspellen van verkeersstromen. In een metropool als Amsterdam is dat complex, omdat verkeer en vervoer het resultaat zijn van miljoenen kleine en grote beslissingen. Neemt u de auto, de tram of gaat u lopen? Waar gaat u wonen en werken? Op welke manier worden bedrijven bevoorraad? Waar moet dat nieuwe station komen? Alles hangt met alles samen. AMS gaat hiervoor een uniek laboratorium bouwen waarmee we dat soort vragen integraal en in samenhang kunnen onderzoeken. Met dit Urban Mobility Lab kunnen gemeente, bedrijven en bewoners straks werken aan nieuwe, schonere en betrouwbaardere mobiliteit voor iedereen.

    Kijk voor meer informatie over UML op: Slides UML

    Renée Hoogendoorn, directeur van AMS, is trots op deze stappen. ‘De impact van deze projecten voor de stad is groot. Wat is er mooier dan te werken aan de kwaliteit van wonen, werken en verblijven in de stad, te werken aan de lééfkwaliteit en dus te zorgen voor minder schade, minder files, minder milieuvervuiling en om te helpen dat essentiële zaken – als energie, water en voedsel – voor iedereen beschikbaar zijn? Komende tijd zullen meer projecten starten en zal ook zichtbaar worden wat AMS qua Onderwijs en Data-Platform te bieden heeft. De feitelijke start van AMS is nu gemaakt. Dat we nu dus ook een eigen locatie hebben in Amsterdam is niet alleen noodzakelijk maar ook een groot genot. Op deze interessante plek in Amsterdam kunnen we komende jaren AMS flink uitbouwen.’

    Over AMS

    AMS is een internationaal instituut dat vanuit een multidisciplinaire aanpak onderzoek doet naar grootstedelijke vraagstukken en hiervoor oplossingen ontwikkelt en implementeert. Bewoners van de stad worden betrokken als testers, gebruikers en co-creators van producten en ideeën die de stad leefbaarder moeten maken. Amsterdam fungeert daarmee als het ‘living lab’ van AMS. AMS is een initiatief van de academische partners TU Delft, MIT en Wageningen UR, samen met de Gemeente Amsterdam. De basis van AMS is een open platform waarbij allerlei partijen kunnen aansluiten. Het instituut werkt nu al samen met partners als Accenture, Alliander, Cisco, IBM, KPN, Shell en Waternet, Amsterdam Smart City, ESA, TNO, Waag Society, het Havenbedrijf Amsterdam en de stad Boston.

    EMTA Report: Light rail explained

    The need for viable, cost effective and attractive public transport in high-density areas is immanent. Transport Authorities have a responsibility to foster innovations in urban transport and look at smart replies to match the growth of demand for quality mass transit. A good living climate, economic efficiency, social inclusion, sustainability and competitiveness depend on the capacities of a city to invest in high quality transport services. The authors of this paper explain what especially in urbanised areas should be main reasons to persuade cities to improve accessibility and liveability by engage and develop a light rail solution. It comes down to a very basic question: “why light rail?” or more in general “why chose for high quality public transport?”.

    In a thorough evidence-based description Rob van der Bijl and Niels van Oort demonstrate how it has been overlooked that light right rail does not only provide benefits that are obvious to all, like speed and comfort,
    but that in cost-benefit terms also reliability of service should be valued in money. Efficiency benefits
    thereby are incomplete and therefore impeded chances on smart light rail realisation. If taken into
    account the social context of projects and awareness of the influence of the difference in types of
    legal context, governance and institutional legacy a transformation of urban networks by light rail
    can be an asset to spatial urban revival. The Light Rail can be an impetus to the urban quality of
    life and more importantly provide a sustainable way of accommodating mobility needs of city
    denizens and visitors.

    Read the full report: EMTA Report

    Success and failure aspects of light rail planning

    The report ‘Light Rail in Nederland, een studie naar de succes- en faalfactoren over de ontwikkeling van light rail-projecten in Nederland’, was performed by twelve students from the Technichal University of Delft, supervised by Rob vd Bijl and Niels van Oort. They investigated which factors could make or break a light rail project. During the last decades, the term light rail became a very known concept. As a hybrid mode with the best characteristics of train, tram and metro combined, light rail became an important and desired mode of transportation.

    Nonetheless, several important light rail-projects failed. Some of these project were in a preliminary stage, whilst others were already quite advanced. One project so advanced, operation trials were already performed. Five cases on light rail projects in the Netherlands
    and France (reference project) were extensively investigated. Not only the internal parts of the project were investigated (plan and development stages), but in particular the external context is set out. Political context and sustainability and urban development are
    important external factors.

    The investigation of five cases- Uithoflijn (Utrecht), RandstadRail (Rotterdam and The Hague), Regiotram (Groningen), RijnGouweLijn (Gouda and Leiden) and Straatsburg (France) – led to an overview of factors that will make or break a light rail-project. Important success factors can be found in the project organization, the political context and (external communication). Dangerous fail factors are found in the political domain, the project organizations and the decision-making process. Often, the success and risk factors which are involved in a light rail-project are a truism. It seems quite obvious that these factors are taken into account. Nevertheless, the failure of several important light rail-projects proves that –unfortunately- these factors are underestimated.

    Read the summary here: Light rail research

    Robust public transport from a passenger perspective

    MSc.Thesis by Menno Yap (full report: HERE )

    Summary:

    Disturbances in public transport are an important issue for passengers, public transport operators and infrastructure managers. After the occurrence of large disturbances, there is often a strong call from passengers and society to make the public transport network less vulnerable – and therefore more robust – against these types of events. Despite the mentioned importance of considering robustness, the next limitations can be formulated regarding the way robustness of public transport networks is currently considered:
    When evaluating and improving robustness of public transport networks against large non-recurrent disturbances, a passenger perspective is not included to its full extent. There is a strong focus on independent network levels operated by a single public transport operator, instead of considering the integral, multi-level public transport network available for passengers.

    In general, limited quantitative data is available about disturbances which occur on multi-level public transport networks and about the effects of these disturbances on passengers. Also there is limited knowledge about the robustness performances of different network levels relative to each other. Given these limitations, the following main research question is formulated:
    What methodology can be developed to evaluate the robustness of multi-level public transport networks and to evaluate robustness effects of measures for the case study network between Rotterdam and The Hague?

    In this study, robustness is related only to major discrete events: large, non-recurrent events which affect infrastructure availability. In line with this, the next definition of robustness is used in this study:
    ‘Robustness is the extent to which the network is able to maintain the function it was originally designed for under circumstances which strongly deviate from plan’.
    In this study, a methodology is developed which enables the evaluation of the current robustness of multi-level public transport networks, as well as the evaluation of proposed robustness measures. The case study shows that it is worth to consider another network level as back-up in case a certain network level is blocked. The result of the case study indicates that from a societal point of view, there is still room to improve the robustness of multi-level public transport networks.
    The developed methodology can especially be developed further by incorporating en-route route choice possibilities in the transit assignment model. Further research is recommended especially to gain more knowledge about the behaviour of passengers in case they are confronted with major discrete events and in case they are confronted with crowded vehicles.

    © 2011 TU Delft