Using Decision Support Systems to Help Policy Makers Cope with Urban Transport Problems

Using Decision Support Systems to Help Policy Makers Cope with Urban Transport Problems

Francesco M. Rinaldi, Donald Bain, Rinaldo Bain
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-045-5.ch006
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More than 70% of Europe’s population lives in urban areas. Transport pollution contributes significantly to severe health problems in many European cities. The impacts of air pollutants are particularly severe in busy city centres, where congestion creates long queues of stationary traffic pumping fumes onto streets crowded with pedestrians. Although improvements in vehicle technologies have led to steady reductions in pollutant emissions, the decrease has been slower than expected due to the ever-increasing transport demand. Getting urban transport “right” is a challenging task for decision-makers given the number of policy areas affected, the large range of stakeholders and the high political sensitivity of almost any option adopted (including “do nothing”). Ultimately any decision must rest with the skills and informed judgement of the decision-maker or decision college. It remains difficult. The work presented shows the development of a DSS called Navigate Utopia. It is a web-style tool based on Multicriteria Analysis which has been developed to allow policy-makers to explore and evaluate the numerous new transport technology options already available or on the point of entering the market. Navigate Utopia draws on practical experience derived from previous case studies in Europe, giving guidance on how these can best be applied to specific urban situations and providing tools to understand what the effects might be. It considers also the wide range of new and improved propulsion systems currently coming on stream and draws together findings from a wide range of disciplines to address the complex issue of how to ensure successful market entry of new transport technologies.

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