From Macro to Micro: Two Approaches to Study Urban Mobility in a Brazilian Municipality

From Macro to Micro: Two Approaches to Study Urban Mobility in a Brazilian Municipality

Lívia Rodrigues Tomás, Maria Carolina Barbosa Jurema, Janaina Cassiano dos Santos, Luciana de Resende Londe, Regina Tortorella Reani, Claudia de Albuquerque Linhares, Leonardo B. L. Santos
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2249-3.ch005
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This chapter discusses urban mobility considering two main analyses approaches. Based on the relationship between mobility and vulnerability, the first approach analyzed commuter's vulnerability using basin as unit of analysis. The second one analyzes variables related to land use such as population density and its relation with job offer in the city and people's income using traffic zones as unit of analysis. The two scales dialogue and can be used concurrently. The municipality of São José dos Campos (Brazil) was used as a case study. Origin-destination research was the main database used in the analyses. Authors used geospatial tools, like spatial join operation and thematic maps, which enable the in-depth analysis of important data for urban studies or transport planning and can be replicated in any study area. The analysis of mobility data aggregated by basin contributed to an understanding of the implications of the urban configuration, with its displacement patterns related to water courses if any flooding or landslide occurs and interrupts people's flow.
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Urban mobility, “the whole of trips generated daily by the inhabitants of a city, and the methods and conditions associated with such trips (modes of transport selected, length of trip, time spent in transport, etc.)” (Shang, Doulet, & Keane, 2009), is directly related to the city habitant’s lifestyle.

A range of studies have been conducted on the relationship between urban density, automobile dependence, and energy consumption (McLoughlin, 1991; Kenworthy & Laube, 1999; Newman, & Kenworthy, 1999; Mees, 2010a; Mees, 2010b). Studies on the relationship between urban structures and transport energy consumption are mostly based on private car travel, but the level of service (LOS) of public transport is also a considerable factor. Urban compactness will increase travel demand density, allowing a higher LOS and modal share of public transport. Modal shift from private to public transport is expected as a mitigation measure for the problem of global warming, but depends on travel density and the efficiency of public transport. Except in very large cities, private cars are the dominant transport mode in most developed cities. This reflects the lower profitability and LOS of public transport that comes with lower travel density. If an administration forces increased public transport service in a region with low travel demand density, it could increase CO2 emissions due to the higher energy intensity of public transport at lower occupancy ratios (Doi & Kii, 2012; Kii, Hirota, & Minato, 2005; Kii & Hanaoka, 2003).

According to Brazilian Public Transport Association (ANTP, 2011) the choice of a mode of transport has a direct impact on energy consumption, the emission of particulate pollutants, the figures of traffic accidents, and the track area consumed. According to the ANTP’s Environmental Impacts Simulator, if 20% of the transfers by automobiles were walking in São José dos Campos (Brazil), there would be a reduction of 16% of track space consumption, 17% of energy consumption, 14% of local pollutants emission, and 15% of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emission, beside an increase of 38% on the travel time.

As to the environmental impact, urban expansions on environmentally fragile areas, either with edifications or road mesh, associated with changes in land use increase the exposure of the population that lives, works or moves along the boundaries of those areas, consequently increasing the risk of social and environmental disasters. Damage caused by floods and landslides impairs the mobility and accessibility of people that use the route to travel.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Traffic: Is the use of roads by motor vehicles, non-motorized vehicles, and pedestrians for purposes of movement, temporary stop or parking.

Transport: A system or means of conveying people or goods from place to place by means of a vehicle, aircraft, or ship.

Accessibility: The quality of places that are easily reached or entered by any person, even if the person has reduced mobility.

Urbanization: Is the process of occupation of an area of the city with implantation of some urban infrastructure.

Hydrographic Basin: It is any surface area from which runoff resulting from rainfall is collected and drained through a common point. It is synonymous with a watershed or catchment area.

Land Use: The way the geographic space is being occupied by the human being and its activities in it.

Sustainable Urban Mobility: The result of a set of transport and circulation policies aimed at providing broad and democratic access to urban space, through the prioritization of non-motorized and collective modes of transport, in an effective, socially inclusive and ecologically sustainable way, based on people and not in vehicles.

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