Sustainability of multimodal intercity transportation using a hybrid system dynamics and agent-based modeling approach

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Hivin, Ludovic F.
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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Demand for intercity transportation has increased significantly in the past decades and is expected to continue to follow this trend in the future. In the meantime, concern about the environmental impact and potential climate change associated with this demand has grown, resulting in an increasing importance of climate impact considerations in the overarching issue of sustainability. This results in discussions on new regulations, policies and technologies to reduce transportation's climate impact. Policies may affect the demand for the different transportation modes through increased travel costs, increased market share of more fuel efficient vehicles, or even the introduction of new modes of transportation. However, the effect of policies and technologies on mobility, demand, fleet composition and the resulting climate impact remains highly uncertain due to the many interdependencies. This motivates the creation of a parametric modeling and simulation environment to explore a wide variety of policy and technology scenarios and assess the sustainability of transportation. In order to capture total transportation demand and the potential mode shifts, a multimodal approach is necessary. The complexity of the intercity transportation System-of-Systems calls for a hybrid Agent-Based Modeling and System Dynamics paradigm to better represent both micro-level and macro-level behaviors. Various techniques for combining these paradigms are explored and classified to serve as a hybrid modeling guide. A System Dynamics approach is developed, that integrates socio-economic factors, mode performance, aggregated demand and climate impact. It is used to explore different policy and technology scenarios, and better understand the dynamic behavior of the intercity transportation System-of-Systems. In order to generate the necessary data to create and validate the System Dynamics model, an Agent-Based model is used due to its capability to better capture the behavior of a collection of sentient entities. Equivalency of both models is ensured through a rigorous cross-calibration process. Through the use of fleet models, the fuel burn and life cycle emissions from different modes of transportation are quantified. The radiative forcing from the main gaseous and aerosol species is then obtained through radiative transfer calculations and regional variations are discussed. This new simulation environment called the environmental Ground and Air Mode Explorer (eGAME) is then used to explore different policy and technology scenarios and assess their effect on transportation demand, fleet efficiencies and the resulting climate impact. The results obtained with this integrated assessment tool aim to support a scenario-based decision making approach and provide insight into the future of the U.S. transportation system in a climate constrained environment.
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