What does the smart mobility transition mean for modelling?


The opening plenary session at Modelling World asks whether rapid change means new models? In advance of my talk there I reflect on this question drawing on the work of the Commission on Travel Demand and the DEMAND Centre.

The first part of the question implies that we are in a world of rapid change. The rise of Uber, increasing autonomy of vehicles, electrification, on-line shopping… the list goes on. Change is happening for sure – but how rapid it is and how much of it is defined by changes to transport technologies seems much more open to question. I argue here that there are a number of trends, many of which our traditional approaches to understanding demand did not anticipate, that have been on-going slowly but for a period of time. Even when we see significant technological change coming to transport this will take some time to happen…

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HumanDrive: human-like attributes of autonomous vehicles

ITS to lead human-centred design and evaluation of automated vehicle behaviour in a new Innovate UK project: HumanDrive

The Institute has been chosen to investigate how an automated vehicle should behave in order to provide its occupants with the right feel and experience, enhancing safe human-like driving strategies, and improving user adoption of these vehicles.

The HumanDrive consortium has recently won a grant, awarded by Innovate UK, under the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV2) programme. The objective of this innovative project is to build an autonomous vehicle with human-like, natural control and path planning, by 2020. It will be fully autonomous and capable of completing a lengthy end-to-end journey in a variety of settings, including country roads, A-roads and motorways. It will also be designed to mimic the style of a proficient human driver, to provide an enhanced experience for the occupants. ITS has been chosen to use its world-leading human-in-the-loop driving simulator facilities to develop the correct models for achieving this goal.

Professor Natasha Merat, Chair in Human Factors of Transport Systems, explains:

“This is an exciting project for members of the human factors and safety group at ITS, who have been working in this area for the past 10 years, building an understanding of the challenges and opportunities offered by automated vehicles.  By enhancing the current vehicle automated controllers, and ensuring that users’ expectations and preferences are considered, we hope to improve the uptake of these vehicles by a larger cross-section of the public, whilst also helping to improve road safety”.

Read more about Government support for driverless vehicle projects and about ITS research on connected and automated vehicles.