A spatial microsimulation approach for the analysis of commuter patterns: from individual to regional levels

Open access version here

In this paper we contend that new approaches are needed to advance knowledge about the social and geographical factors that relate to the diversity of commuter patterns, if policies targeted to specific individuals or places are to be effective. I co-authored it with Robin Lovelace, and with Dimitris Ballas, and it was published in the Journal of Transport Geography in 2014.

open access | published version | cited by… |

Lovelace, R, D Ballas, M Watson (2014) A spatial microsimulation approach for the analysis of commuter patterns: from individual to regional levels’
Journal of Transport Geography
, 34: 282-296

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2013.07.008 

ABSTRACT  The daily trip to work is ubiquitous, yet its characteristics differ widely from person to person and place to place. This is manifested in statistics on mode and distance of travel, which vary depending on a range of factors that operate at different scales. This heterogeneity is problematic for decision makers tasked with encouraging more sustainable commuter patterns. Numerical models, based on real commuting data, have great potential to aid the decision making process. However, we contend that new approaches are needed to advance knowledge about the social and geographical factors that relate to the diversity of commuter patterns, if policies targeted to specific individuals or places are to be effective. To this end, the paper presents a spatial microsimulation approach, which combines individual-level survey data with geographically aggregated census results to tackle the problem. This method overcomes the limitations imposed by the lack of available geocoded micro-data. Further, it allows a range of scales of analysis to be pursued in parallel and provides insights into both the types of area and individualthat would benefit most from specific interventions.

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Author: Matt Watson

A Human Geographer at the University of Sheffield, interested in how everyday human action and social orders make each other, with implications for sustainability and wellbeing. Currently looking at energy including how to tackle demand for it.

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