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A behavioural analysis and examination of environmental implications of multimodal transportation choice



A behavioural analysis and examination of environmental implications of multimodal transportation choice

Background & policy context: 

Rising concerns over the continuous growth in car use and the increasingly intolerable externalities have generated particular interest in how transport planning policies might at least moderate the pressures in growth in personal mobility and support the principles of sustainable development. For more sustainable travel behaviour to occur, transport planning policies might rely upon other forms of motorized transport which may act as a substitute for car-travel. Public transport is then an obvious choice, but it is important to have this type of transport clearly integrated in a well-coordinated multimodal transport chain. The goal of this project is to pay attention to the three pillars of the concept of sustainability within a context of multimodal transport chains: (i) to fulfil a social development role, (ii) to support economic growth and development and (iii) to have environmental benefits.


The overall objective of this research project is to obtain insight into the activity and related travel behaviour of individuals in a multimodal transportation context.

In order to achieve this insight, a detailed and extensive data collection has been carried out. The data collection effort is based on observed and stated data. This was the first objective of this project.

The data have been collected in a context of activity-based research, which did not adequately capture the impact of multimodal transport make-up on activity and travel behaviour until this project was executed. The model building related to activity-based research (and its extension towards multimodal transport) is the second objective in this project.

The third objective in this project is to evaluate the impact of policy scenario’s using the adapted activity-based transportation model as a starting basis.

Finally, it is a fourth objective in this project to carry out an analysis of the energy and environmental impact of multimodal passenger traffic and comparison of the different transport modes (train, car, walk, bicycle, bus, tram, etc.) on a well-to-wheel basis.


The project methodology was based on the following key steps:

  • Specification and selection of policy measures to be investigated;
  • Data collection;
  • Adaptation of activity-based and emission models in order to evaluate different policy scenarios;
  • Assessment of environmental impacts.

The project also described a cost-benefit analysis methodology which can be associated to a multimodal transport chain.

Institution Type:
Institution Name: 
Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (Politique scientifique fédérale  / Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid)
Type of funding:
Key Results: 

The Estimate project carried out a high number of tasks which resulted in significant outputs that can be used for policy support.

Project results can be classified according to the following areas:

  • Data collection of observed data;
  • Data collection of stated data;
  • Policy scenarios for the activity-based transportation model;
  • Application of the adapted emission model and its assessment of multimodal transport;
  • Illustration of methodology about costs and benefits.

Universiteit Hasselt (Uhasselt)Instituut voor Mobiliteit (IMOB)

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)Vakgroep MOS (Mathematics, Operational research, Statistics and Information systems, applied in human sciences)

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)Vakgroep ETEC(Elektrotechniek en Energietechniek)

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)Centre de Recherche UrbaineInstitut de Sociologie

Contact Name: 
Geert Wets
Contact Email: 
Universiteit Hasselt (Uhasselt) Instituut voor Mobiliteit (IMOB)
Wetenschapspark 5 - Bus 6
Contact country:
+32 (0)11 26 91 58
Fax Number: 
+32 (0)11 26 91 11