Sustainable Mobility: Much More than Just Speed

Problems in transportation encompass too many aspects of daily life to be reduced to a debate on roads. Los Andes researchers analyze the problem as a whole, exploring aspects such as school transportation, car pooling, simulation of pedestrian and driver behavior, and cycle lanes to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Our environmental, political and economic future is dependent on access to efficient transportation. While the main objectives include faster commutes, lower costs and more comfortable rides, we also need to prioritize environmentally friendly transportation, responsible use of limited resources such as fuel, and social equity. This premise is maintained by Juan Pablo Bocarejo, in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Los Andes, head of the Civil Engineering Transportation Group and coordinator of the University's sustainable mobility team initiated by the of Engineering and the Office of the Vicepresident for Research.

The sustainable mobility team strives to promote multidisciplinary research on transportation by engineers, economists, architects and specialists from other schools , in the hope of becoming a point of reference for sustainable mobility research in Latin America.

The preliminary data is worrying: by 2040, there will be four million cars in Bogota, compared to the current 700,000 , and the number of motorcycles will grow to half a million.

Bocarejo, a Doctor of Transportation from The University of Paris-Est, describes the two ways in which the city can react to these forecasts: build roads and facilitate urban sprawl, or prioritize public transportation in order to discourage the use private cars.

The first scenario would see Bogota adopt the US urban sprawl model, leading to an increase in the number of car journeys per day from 1.8 million to an estimated 8 million by 2040. This scenario would see motorcycle rides per day total 2 million, and public transportation used even less than at present.

The second scenario prioritizes sustainable transport based on the strategies outlined in the District Transportation Master Plan. This option would safeguard public transportation and maintain high urban density in the city. As a result, fuel consumption by 2040 would be 40% less than in the first scenario, and CO2 emissions would be reduced by 55%.

Interplay of Factors

In either scenario, Bocarejo maintains that the problem lies not in cars or roads, but rather in efficiently managing the transportation system, since the scope of our problems transcends the mere speed and cost of journeys, intoself-sustaining transportation comprising different aspects of our daily life.

Lack of access to transportation is synonymous with poverty, generating social inequity and consequently restricting access to other opportunities. Inefficiency is also associated with environmental problems, and raises questions of energy resources and fuel quality. Transportation is also of course a public health issue in terms of the plague of road traffic accidents, the seventh highest cause of mortality in the world, as well as poor air quality.

What Is Being Done?

The concrete projects underway within the team include:

1. Five research projects funded by the University with the participation of 10 departments and five of its Schools Research areas include car pooling, cycle lanes, the simulation of a transportation model, school transportation, clean fuels, and the financing of the Integrated Mass Transportation System. The results of these projects will be available in the second semester of 2010.

2. Events such as the multidisciplinary Sustainable Mobility forum in 2009. The School of Architecture also organized a forum on the subject matter 'Reclaiming the Streets÷ for All of Us'.

3. Publication of the book El transporte como soporte al desarrollo de Colombia (Transportation as a Means to the Development of Colombia). This outlook for 2040 was prepared by the Schoolof Engineering and the School of Economics.

4. Research projects in conjunction with the external sector to investigate topics such as the impact of transportation on air quality, mass transportation in Bogota and logistical improvements in Bogotá and its surrounding area.

CONTACT: Juan Pablo Bocarejo, assistant professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Urban and Regional Sustainability Studies group (SUR).

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https://movilidadsostenible.uniandes.edu.co

Problems in transportation encompass too many aspects of daily life to be reduced to a debate on roads. Los Andes researchers analyze the problem as a whole, exploring aspects such as school transportation, car pooling, simulation of pedestrian and driver behavior, and cycle lanes to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Simulating the City's Drivers and Pedestrians

Development of a simulator for Transmilenio bus drivers is underway in the COLIVRI collaboratory.

Researchers at Universidad de los Andes are using a computer program to simulate the behavior of drivers and pedestrians in the streets of Bogota for every tenth of a second, varying from slow to hurried, careless, respectful or irascible.

The objective is to gain insight into the behavior of these groups as they come to intersections, often a site of mobility conflict as people choose their direction of travel.

Within the scope of sustainable mobility research at the University, this ‘simulated city ’ will help design decision-making tools to manage mobility and its impact on the environment and on road safety.

According to the lead researcher, Associate Professor José Tiberio Hernández of the Department of Computer & Systems Engineering, rather than reproducing the flow of traffic and pedestrians as is traditionally the case , the new model classifies what may be termed as the behavioral pathologies of the groups, and also accounts for any pathologies in infrastructure. The computer assigns routes to each group and attempts to establish rules while adjusting for the group profile. Consequently, as in real life, slight variations in behavior are observed each time the program is run.

These data allow to build a spatial representation of the functioning of mobility in the city and it can be used to measure the impact of the driver and pedestrian groups in terms of costs, efficiency and safety.

The project, currently in its initial phase, is being carried out with researchers from Computer & Systems Engineering, Architecture and Urbanism & Mobility. The team will shortly be bringing in psychologists to study the behavior of individuals

The research simulated mobility at the downtown traffic roundabout at 19th street and 3rd avenue before it came into operation. Hernández believes the model could be replicated for larger areas and is applicable to similar cities. The results, yet to be validated, are realistic and encouraging. From a computational viewpoint, it would be possible to interconnect the computers and create a simulation of several intersections.

In terms of traffic, many cities resemble Bogotá more than Stockholm, notes Dr. Hernández. The lead researcher is also director of Imagine, one of two groups at Los Andes using a collaboratory named COLIVRI, where a simulator is currently being developed for Transmilenio bus drivers.

GROUP: Imagine (visual computing), in the Department of Computer & Systems Engineering; Urban and Regional Sustainability Studies group (SUR), in the Department of Civil Engineering, and the Power & Energy group, in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

CONTACT: Josá Tiberio Hernández, associate professor, Department of Computer & Systems Engineering, Imagine group. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Development of a simulator for Transmilenio bus drivers is underway in the COLIVRI collaboratory.

Welfare, the Cinderella of School Transportation

The average school student in Bogota spends around two hours every day on a school bus and travels over 30 kilometers each way. Forty percent of these school buses are at least 20 years old, and as such no longer roadworthy.

This data was collected in a survey of 375 public and private schools in Bogota. The data studied related to 169 of these schools, which together transport 37,625 students on 2,214 school routes.

Bogota is home to 3,358 schools catering for just over 1.5 million students, with 36,552 of these commuting to school on one of the 1,241 routes provided by the District Secretary of Education (SED). The survey revealed slight differences between the public and private institutions .

The sample studied is small, and does not meet statistical criteria due to the lack of data from other schools and the lack of information on who would respond first. However, the results corroborate the hypothesis that regulation of school transportation in Colombia is safety-oriented and makes no provision for student welfare.

Working from this premise, a study began during the second half the past year, conducted by a group headed by Ciro Amaya, Professor of the Department of Industrial Engineering and researcher with appointments in the COPA and PyLO groups . Other researchers on the team include Sandra García, assistant professorl in the School of Government at Los Andes, and Nubia Velasco, assistant professorin the Department of Industrial Engineering.

The initiative was presented by researchers with children of their own, who answered the University's call for proposals on sustainable mobility. The data used for research was provided by José Miguel Villarreal, Student Welfare coordinator for the SED, and Moisés Alonso Romero, expert in school transportation. William Pedraza, director of Seguridad Vial, and Juan Pablo Zuluaga, field expert with Seguridad Vial, contributed data on school buses.

To date, the study has focused on public schools, but within the next eighteen months, when this phase is complete, the analysis will be extended to all school transportation in Bogota. The results will be used to propose regulations and prototypes in order to improve the planning of this service.

Disregard for Welfare

Ciro Amaya, systems engineer with a Canadian doctorate in Industrial Engineering, points out that the directives prioritize safety in school transportation. These requirements relate to the characteristics and age of the buses, the mandatory fitting of seatbelts, distictive decals to be displayed, and the permits and insurance which must be held by the service provider.

However, no stipulations exist with regard to operating conditions, maximum journey times, distance between bus stops, or distance between the student's home and the bus stop. These concerns are essential for welfare.

The shortcomings extend to the competence of the drivers. A fiscal inspection warning issued by the District Comptroller in April 2007 reported that 358 (45%) of 779 bus drivers contracted by the SED for public school transportation services were repeat offenders.

The data also indicates that a number of students have to travel to long distances to schools within their localities or in other localities. Furthermore, adds José Miguel Villarreal from the SED, 85% to 90% of schools in Bogota have no parking lots for the school buses used.

Much work remains to be done in analyzing school transportation. However, it is certain that the current emphasis on safety, although necessary, is not sufficient. More attention must be paid to the welfare of the students riding school buses.

GROUP: Center for Applied Probability and Optimization (Copa) and Production and Logistics group (Pylo), both part of the Department of Industrial Engineering.

CONTACT: Ciro Alberto Amaya. Assistant professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Pylo and Copa groups. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Years of Service of School Buses

Age of bus (years)0-5 6-10 11-15 16 a 20 21or more
Public schools 3% 19% 30% 19% 29%
Private schools 2% 11% 27% 18% 43%
Source: Survey conducted by the Secretary of Mobility in 2009, with responses from 169 public and private schools

The impetus given to public transportation will determine the success of a future sustainable mobility system.

Student, Faculty and Staff on Board for Car Pooling

The Viaje (or 'Ride') project led by Professor Andrés Medaglia is designed to develop a car pooling strategy using private vehicles for students, professors and staff at Los Andes. Car pooling reduces emissions of toxic gases, improves safety, generates savings on fuel and parking costs, reduces congestion and fosters integration.

Drivers and passengers will be matched on the car pooling portal, which should begin to operate this semester. The portal can be used to plan rideshares according to times, routes and specific days, based on the geographical data entered by each participant. This data will be used to analyze geographical dispersion and individual choices on mobility in a brand new mobility analysis laboratory at Universidad de los Andes.

A preliminary survey conducted in the University indicates that 85% of students would be willing to give a ride to people they don't know, including professors and staff. Among professors and staff, 88% would be willing to give a ride.

GROUP: Center for Applied Probability and Optimization (Copa), Department of Industrial Engineering; Urban and Regional Sustainability Studies group (SUR), Department of Civil Engineering, and Center for Economic Development Studies (Cede), Faculty of Economics.

CONTACT: Andrés Medaglia, associate professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Copa group. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cycle Lanes for a Healthy Lifestyle

For every peso invested in cycle lanes by District administration and tax payers, 4.41 pesos are saved in potential costs of treating illnesses related to sedentary lifestyles, based on a total one million participants every time this program is carried out in Bogota. This gives total savings of 19,173,945 dollars a year.

Such is the main conclusion of the project underway at Universidad de los Andes to measure the impact that cycle lanes have as a complex system on public health. The project is conducted by the Center for Basic and Applied Interdisciplinary Studies in Complexity (Ceiba), the Department of Industrial Engineering and the School of Medicine; the Pan-American Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, US) and the District Institute for Sports and Recreation.

The study, conducted within the scope of sustainable mobility research underway at the University, is led by mathematician and Doctor in Social Sciences Roberto Zarama, Head of the Department of Industrial Engineering, with the support of Olga LucÍa Sarmiento M.D., associate professor at the School of Medicine, and industrial engineer Felipe Montes.

The goal is to analyze how users of cycle lanes interact with each other and with the city environment, and to measure the economic impact of physical activity on the prevention of non-transmittable chronic diseases. Dr Sarmiento notes that physical activity is a factor in the prevention of heart disease, strokes, diabetes mellitus, cancer of the colon, breast cancer, and high blood pressure.

The team of researchers also focuses on cycle lanes, and is currently consolidating results on this work.

GROUP: Center for Basic and Applied Interdisciplinary Studies in Complexity (Ceiba) and Epiandes epidemiology group in the of Medicine.

CONTACT: Roberto Zarama, director of the Departament of Industrial Engineering, Associate Professor, Ceiba Group; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cycle Lane Users

Pedestrians 47,9%
Cyclists 46,2%
Skaters and others 5,9 %

Source: IDRD

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 14:43