The link between vehicular traffic and air pollution is well established and authorities in metropolitan areas throughout the world strive to optimise their traffic management and environmental strategies for a sustainable development.
With the growing emphasis on an integrated approach to environmental and transportation planning, engineers in administrations and independent consultancies need the right toolkit for assessing the impact of planning options and for providing decision support to policy-makers.
The primary objective of SUTRA was to develop a consistent and comprehensive approach and planning methodology for the analysis of urban transportation problems, that helps to design strategies for sustainable cities. From a technical perspective, the objectives were to develop:
An indicator based approach compatible with Agenda 21 and the indicators for urban sustainability used initially in the Dobris Report and by the EEA, for a baseline analysis, ranking and benchmarking (within the participating cities and across all of Europe) that will ultimately support a discrete multi-criteria selection mechanism.
Scenario analysis that uses:
Traffic equilibrium modelling to evaluate alternative transportation policies, including multi-modal systems, technological development, socio-economic development, and spatial and structural urban development in general;
- Air quality modelling to translate transportation scenarios and their resultant emissions into ambient air quality estimates and population exposure;
- Economic analysis and energy systems analysis and modelling using well established modelling approaches such as MARKAL, to identify and evaluate cost effective transportation scenarios, consistent with the larger economic and technological framework;
- The concepts of environmental impact assessment for the comprehensive evaluation of alternative transportation scenarios, using on a rule-based checklist approach to cover all other environmental effects beyond air pollution including public health effects and accidents. The scenarios, defined for each of the cities, will consider the current base line and a donothing alternative (naive projection of current trends) and a set of at least three probable development strategies in terms of demographic, socio-economic, spatial, structural, and technological developments over the next decade and beyond (30 year horizon).
- Comparative multi-criteria assessment. Based on the com
A cascade of simulation models was used to represent the individual scenarios of urban development. The core of the modelling system is a transportation model that describes an equilibrium-based solution to satisfy the transportation demand expressed in an origin-destination matrix given a transportation network and its capacities and constraints, which feeds a set of environmental impact models.
To ensure consistency of the scenario assumption, a techno-economic optimization model is used as the overall framework. A set of common scenarios is defined across all case study cities using the basic framework of indicators to specify consistent change and development scenarios. The four main common scenarios are defined as follows:
- Dynamic and virtuous (technologically and environmentally)
- Dynamic and vicious (emphasis on individual transport)
- Stagnant, aging, but virtuous (virtuous pensioners' city)
- Stagnant, aging, but vicious. The scenarios vary in their assumptions about demographic development, land use development, structural economic development, the availability of new transportation technologies, and citizen's behaviour.
The model system includes:
Over a three year period, the project has developed and successfully tested in the case study cities Gdansk, Geneva, Genoa, Lisbon, Thessaloniki and Tel Aviv an approach to design consistent policies and strategies for sustainable urban transportation and land use, using the cornerstones of sustainability as the guiding principle: economic efficiency, environmental compatibility, and social equity.
The approach developed was based on a broad integration of socio-economic, technological and environmental issues, within the interdisciplinary and integrative spirit of the Key Action. SUTRA successfully used a scenario analysis approach, embedded in a framework of Indicators of sustainable urban transportation. A set of common scenarios has been defined across all case study cities (augmented by city specific scenarios representing local projects) using the basic framework of indicators to specify consistent change and development scenarios.
The four main scenarios have been defined as follows:
1. dynamic and virtuous (technologically and environmentally)
2. dynamic and vicious (emphasis on individual transport)
3. stagnant, aging, but virtuous (virtuous pensioners’ city)
4. stagnant, aging, but vicious, where the vicious scenarios favour individual transportation, i.e., cars. SUTRA then used a cascade of simulation models to represent the individual scenarios of urban development.
The core of the modelling system is a transportation model (VISUM) that describes an equilibrium-based solution to satisfy the transportation demand expressed in an origin-destination matrix given a transportation network and its capacities and constraints.
The scenario, and in particular transportation demand and the market penetr
The wealth of information generated by the scenario analysis has been subjected to a first round of analysis as planned, including the comparison in a benchmarking exercise against a much larger initial set of about 80 cities. These data are available on-line on the continuously operating project web server, as part of the ongoing dissemination and exploitation tasks that transcend the actual project duration.
Basic results of the initial analysis show that no single measure included in the scenario analysis alone can make a major impact within the ranges of plausible rates of change in the driving forces. Clearly, a well-balanced set of integrated measure is necessary to maintain and improve sustainable urban transportation. This set of measures must be defined for each city considering its structural, socio-economic, and technological constraints to find the best, cost-effective solution. For this purpose, the approach and integrated set of tools developed by the SUTRA project is now being made available to potential end users worldwide.
Exploitation activities are exploring EU programs such as INTERREG, ASIA-URBS, but also UN sponsored efforts such as the WHO's Healthy Cities program in addition to direct, commercial offerings to individual city administrations.
The project of SUTRA will be continued in an ongoing eContent project: Env-e-City where SUTRA derived methodology and cases will be further developed and used.