Much of the transport policy focuses on encouraging people to get out of their cars and onto public transport. Devrim Kara, Director PTV UK, states in his article for “Smart Highways” that this can only work if using public transport is beneficial. A holistic approach is necessary to make different mobility services fit together.
A lot of people are used to the convenience of going wherever they want, whenever they want, due to private car ownership. Thus, it seems over-optimistic that everyone will refrain from owning cars and embrace the shared mobility multi-modal future. However, there are various reasons for optimism. Yes, people enjoy car ownership, but there is great convenience of travelling by train, such as being able to work, read or simply enjoy the view and relax, without having to focus on the road. Hence, public transport can be an attractive option for a large portion of the transport sector. Therefore, different modes must be brought together to make multi-modal journeys as efficient as possible, with a minimum amount of waiting time. To achieve this, planning tools for integrated transport have to be utilized. There are tools covering everything from road junction design to station design, bus timetable optimisation, and rail rolling stock capacity planning. They assist planners to decide how big the network needs to be, how many public transport vehicles should be available and how stops and stations need to be set up. However, Devrim Kara states that in most cases, there’s a lack of collaboration between the experts, as they are in charge of different parts of the transport network.
How can pedestrian modelling software tools improve this situation?
Pedestrian modelling software tools allow simulating how people move through a station. The simulation tells planners how the number of ticket gates shall be improved, where toilets and shops should be located and even helps to plan which train should use which platform, for people to connect between services in the safest, fastest and easiest manner. Microsimulation pedestrian modelling tools like PTV Vissim/Viswalk simulate the movement of pedestrians step by step. Engineers benefit from the measures of density at concourse, platforms, escalators, steps, as well as entries and exits, as they can base their planning accordingly to design safe and comfortable stations for passengers.