Methodological Framework for Defining the Sustainability Management Process for Urban Mobility Systems Based on System Engineering

Methodological Framework for Defining the Sustainability Management Process for Urban Mobility Systems Based on System Engineering

Justin Moskolai Ngossaha (Faculty of Science, University of Douala, Cameroon), Raymond Houé Ngouna (Université Fédérale de Toulouse, France), Bernard Archimède (Université Fédérale de Toulouse, France), Radu Gabriel Patrascu (Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Romania), Alexandru-Ionut Petrisor (Doctoral School of Urban Planning, Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania) and Marcel Fouda Ndjodo (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Université de Yaoundé 1, Cameroon)
DOI: 10.4018/IJDIBE.2020010101


Current urban mobility trends go beyond infrastructure investments and integrating new technologies, reflecting new user requirements and regulations, and the increasingly rigorous and sustainable governance. Designing an urban mobility system and assessing its sustainability require a flexible holistic approach considering the complete life cycle of the system and interdependencies between its components. This paper proposes a novel methodological framework based on system engineering tools, aimed at helping public authorities designing and deploying new urban projects, accounting for the entire life cycle of the mobility system, evolving requirements of users, and sustainability. The main goal is to validate the proposed framework by simulations. A realistic case study employing the new framework showed its advantages, consisting of solving problems in a manner comparable to other methodologies, but adding flexibility in managing different data inaccessible to urban managers before allowing for defining effective urban mobility policies.
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1. Introduction: Context And Problem

In a context marked by the explosive increase of population, cities are under pressure. According to the projections of the United Nations’ report on the outlook for urbanization in 2014, 66% of the world's population will become urban by 2050, while passenger demand will double (UN-DESA 2014). Mobility behaviors and expectations also evolve, generating needs for more speed, reliability, convenience, connectivity, customization etc. Thanks to innovation, especially clean energies, new communication technologies, possibility of processing massive data (e.g., Artificial Intelligence), or availability of the Internet of Things etc. - new mobility solutions are gradually introduced (Cohen-Blankshtain & Rotem-Mindali 2016) e.g.: carpooling, car-sharing, bike-sharing, autonomous vehicles, intelligent transportation systems etc. While the need for public funds is increasingly pressing, the endowment of cities seems to decline, probably due to the difficulty of countries to invest in expensive long-term projects, against immediate local needs. Moreover, traditional mobility systems continue to expand, sometimes without meeting the sustainability requirements and having sufficient effectiveness in the long run.

For many years associated with transport, the concept of mobility has acquired today, due to the evolution of metropolises, a more general meaning that sets the city and new technologies at the core of the organization of urban systems. Urban mobility is seen more as a system that satisfies requirements or needs than a simply shift from one point to another (of people or commodities). Throughout the years, mobility has undergone different mutations linked to the stages of industrial revolution. It has moved from the first industrial revolution in the 19th century (marked by the development of the first railways and public transport) to the 21st century digital age. This recent revolution has opened the door for new opportunities making existing transport networks more efficient and user-friendly. They have gradually adapted more and more precisely to what users want, when they want, and how they want it, due to a wide range of mobility services. Fostering people's autonomy and connectivity, this century has created new expectations and behaviors lying at the core of current and future urban mobility challenges.

Due to the emergence of Internet technologies in households, a new phenomenon has changed the trajectory of urban dynamics. Mobility service providers seem to have grasped, through new behaviors (focused on the use of these technologies), real opportunities to develop a new mobility economy. This poses major challenges for urban managers. According to Banister (2008), the development of technologically innovative projects will gain the trust of users who already use certain technologies (especially for communicating with each other), thus offering new business opportunities. However, Lyons (2016) has pinpointed the risk that the importance of promoting technological sophistication could be overlooked before considering how urban mobility systems and their use can evolve, compromising the support that needs to be provided. The type of future urban environments that cities could look for is still unknown. The ultimate goal is to reconcile two complementary approaches, i.e., intelligent mobility and sustainable mobility. Confirming the trends of contemporary urban mobility, in the recent studies, Klecha and Gianni (2017) have shown how technology can play a mediating role in the process of behavioral change of urban dwellers, especially in the context of smart cities. They have also presented three main areas of interest for the design of sustainable urban mobility systems: technology, behavior change strategies, and participation of citizens in the development process.

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