CE22 - Sociétés urbaines, territoires, constructions et mobilité

Simulating the transition of transport Infrastructures Toward smart and sustainable Cities – SwITCh

Submission summary

Transport infrastructures play a large part in defining the city of the future, which should be smart, sustainable and resilient. Their management will need to deal with the emergence of novel technologies (i.e. autonomous cars, Internet of Things) and the increase of novel modalities and practices (increase of multi-modality, electric bicycles, shared cars). These aspects could favour and accelerate the transition to the city of the future with positive social, environmental and economic impacts, in order to address foreseen trends (climate change and new requirements in terms of pollution, security, and global costs).
The SwITCh project aims at supporting decision-making for urban planning by simulating the gradual introduction of disruptive innovations on technology, usage and behaviour of infrastructure. It requires providing a model that is able to assess the impact of these innovations on several key indicators on mobility, user satisfaction and security, economic costs and air pollution. SwITCh integrates a large variety of urban transport modalities (private car, walk, tramway, etc.) and associated infrastructures (pavement, bicycle path, etc.). Achieving such an objective requires building a model that includes current and future infrastructures and modalities, and considering the transition process between current and future situations. SwITCh uses agent-based modelling (ABM) and participative simulation as a unifying framework that allows coupling different models and taking into account both temporal and spatial scales in order to build a holistic model. It will include a city model based on real geographic data (GIS) and a complex realistic model of population behaviour. The model will be designed as a support tool for helping stakeholders (i.e. decision-makers, managers, technicians and citizens) to enrich their reflection and build a shared project to improve transport infrastructures to meet the challenges of future cities.
The SwITCh project will be centred on the design and on the implementation of an ABM that will result in an interactive simulator and a serious game. The interactive simulator will be used by the city planners to explore the potential impact of innovations in various evolutionary contexts. It will thus support the urban planning team in making relevant decisions regarding the evolution of their transport infrastructures, by letting them test and assess different alternatives and situations. The interactive simulator will also allow the researchers to highlight potential futures or unexpected side effects to the urban planners and other stakeholders, based on a participatory simulation approach. The serious game will be used by students and the larger public in order to enrich their understanding of the issues involved in the city of the future and the transport infrastructures. It will be based on the interactive simulator but will be enhanced by specific work on the game design in order to be a real support for learning and raising awareness. The interactive simulator and the serious game will be developed with the GAMA open-source platform and will be used in a real context for two case studies: Bordeaux Metropole and the Urban Community of Dijon.
The SwITCh project will deliver several main results. Firstly, it will generate and formalize knowledge on future transport infrastructures. Secondly, the project will result in a simulation tool that could have significant socio-economic impacts: by helping infrastructure managers and urban planners, as a reflection support, to adapt infrastructures to future needs, by accelerating the transition to a more sustainable city which should have positive environmental (e.g. air pollution, global warming), economical (e.g. maintenance cost, commercial appeal) and social (e.g. traffic, living environment) impacts. The model will be flexible, easily adaptable to any city, and able to integrate a wide variety of prospective and disruptive scenarios.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LIG Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble
IRIT Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse

Help of the ANR 491,903 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2019 - 48 Months

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