Attending the 50th European Transport Conference

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In September 2022, I attended the 50th European Transport Conference (ETC) in Milan, organised by the Association for European Transport (AET), the leading European organisation for transport professionals and academics.


The journey started taking the train early in a ‘toon’ rainy morning with my supervisor, Alistair Ford. The plan was to travel to Italy reducing our carbon footprints as much as possible. Stops at London, Paris and finally Milan, our destination. Very pleasant journey, checking how the environment was changing from green to yellow and brown lands.


The conference started the 7th of September. A great diversity of transport topic sessions (i.e., transport economics, local public transport, data, transport models, aviation and freight) were presented after the opening session chaired by Professor Marco Bocciolone, DMEC Politecnico di Milano. Guest speakers were Arianna Censi, the city Councillor for Mobility of Milan; and Rolf Diemer, the Head of the Economic Analysis Unit European Commission DG MOVE.


The second conference day was my turn. I was assigned to the Transport Models session, were talks about Agent-Based Models (ABM) were presented. Briefly, ABMs are stochastic computer simulations of simulated individuals in a simulated space and time, following a set of pre-defined rules. In the transport context, simulated individuals represent the citizens living in the study area (also known as synthetic population), the simulated space and time is the road network used by the citizens to move during their daily routines, and the pre-defined rules are the different activities individuals do in a normal working day (e.g., commuting, shopping, leisure activities). In my talk, I presented my on-going PhD research project, which aims are to identify urban mobility policies that allow reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enabling citizens to use active travel modes (e.g., walking and cycling) instead of private cars, applying ABM techniques. I explained how the required synthetic population and road network input datasets were generated using open source data and software, besides future steps to do in order to achieve the goals of the research project, applied in the Tyne and Wear region (North East of England). I received some interesting feedback from the audience about the types of policies to be applied, techniques used to generate the input datasets and future perspectives for the coming steps in the project.


The third conference day was interesting as well with a great diversity of topics. My interest was in sessions that featured topics such as transport mode choice, cycling, micro mobility and active travel.


To sum up, ETC 2022 was an exciting and excellent experience were I was able to present my on-going PhD research project, receiving feedback from the audience and getting to know what other researchers and industry do.  A great diversity of projects were presented with similar goals, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve mobility in urban and rural areas.


Finally, I would like to thank EPSRC for their support in the development of this PhD project, as well as my supervisory team (Alistair Ford, Phil James and Roberto Palacín) for their help and support