INTRANCES project update

INTRANCES Project deliverables D.1 and D.2, relating to ethical considerations and data protection regulations have been submitted successfully to the European Commission and are either approved or awaiting approval.    

The semi-structured interview phase of the project is currently ongoing, projected to come to an end in May 2021. This phase aims to collect opinions, perspectives and advice from stakeholders involved in transport, especially with respect to its relationship with air quality, energy and urban planning in the city of Madrid. The interviews were structured around the following questions:

1. What are the key challenges for environmental sustainability related with transport in Madrid?

2. What solutions can be proposed to address these challenges?

3. What sources of data are available for a) integrated modelling of transport, b) land use, c) air quality and d) emissions in Madrid.

4. Who are the most important actors (institutions or groups) in successfully addressing these key challenges, and to which broad sector do they belong (public, private, third sector, hybrid/other (some combination of first three))

5. Can you suggest any key contacts who might be able to assist us with any aspect of the project? (especially: policy makers, regulators or practitioners)  

6. (Policymakers only) What are the policy ambitions regarding environmental sustainability and transport  and how can progress towards set targets be measured? (e.g. national or EU policy targets)

As of 28 April 2021, six semi-structured interviews have so far been conducted by Richard Hewitt and Charlotte Astier with various groups of stakeholders including transport managers and planners, transport consortium representatives, sustainable transport advocates and researchers.

At the same time, we are conducting a review of the literature on experiences and recent cases in the cities of the world with sustainable mobility.

The next part of the project involves spatial model development for visualisation and simulatation of the qualitative scenarios developed from the stakeholder interview phase. Three sub-projects relating to this objective are currently being carried out by UCM master’s degree programme students as part of their Master’s degree dissertations, as follows:

Planificación urbana para reducir exposición a la contaminación del aire: análisis de trade-offs para el caso de Madrid (Urban planning to reduce exposure to air pollution: analysis of trade-offs for the case of Madrid). – Javier Antolín Asenjo

Accesibilidad dinámica en modelos de autómata celular (AC) de usos del suelo urbano. (Dynamic Accessibility in Cellular Automata urban land use models) – Julio-José Pérez-Bello Piñeiro

¿Cómo optimizar la distribución de alimentos locales? Un modelo de decisión multicriterio para productores locales de la bioregión de Madrid.  (How to optimise local food distribution? A multi-criteria decision model for local produces in the Madrid Bioregion). – Javier Valbuena González (Jointly supervised by Verónica Hernández Jiménez, Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio)

INTRANCES project begun

We recently began work on the EU-funded INTRANCES project (Grant agreement ID: 886050). Under INTRANCES, an integrated scenario model including transport, urban land use and air pollution wil be developed based on the SIMLANDER and APoLUS modelling tools.

Developments, publications and links to download open access resources, like datasets and tools used by the project, will be reported on this site on the dedicated project web page.

Package gWidgets2tcltk replaces gWidgetstcltk

I just noticed that I can no longer install the gWidgetstcltk package because it is no longer maintained in the CRAN repository.

Without this package APoLUS will give you an error because quite a few scripts contain the commands:




Fortunanately, this error can be fixed by installing gWidgets2tcltk instead and correcting the scripts that caused the problem to require gWidgets2tcltk instead. Off hand, this includes SWITCH/switchb.R, NHOOD/selectmatlist.R and probably one or two others. You will easily be able to tell, because the script will fail telling you that gWidgetstcltk could not be loaded..

I’ll fix this in the next version of APoLUS..

APoLUS/SIMLANDER updated versions released

APoLUS 9.5.2 is now available, with new scripts for accessibility, suitability and zoning to make calibration easier, and an error in the accessibility calculation corrected. See this post.

The user guide has also been updated. It is included in the download package for the new version and can also be accessed separately here.

A new version of SIMLANDER, version 1.0.6, is now also available.

SIMLANDER/APOLUS course at Deakin University, Melbourne, Feb 3rd-7th 2020

I was recently invited to Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, by Professor Brett Bryan to give a course on land use modelling in R using the SIMLANDER/APoLUS framework to the Land Use Futures modelling group.

Seemed to go down well, students were very engaged and got on well with the model. Fun had by all, including me.

One bright participant noticed a stupid error in the accessibility calculation. This can be summarized as follows:

1. I’d mistyped White’s et al’s (1997) accessibility equation. The correct equation is to be found here on the updated accessibility page of this website.

2. I was entirely wrong about the way to put the coefficient into the equation. It’s a single number, not a reclassified distance map. Of course, if you don’t want to use the accessibility equation, you can of course, reclassify the distance map. But not both!

The correct procedure is described as follows here

Over the coming days I will correct this error in the script in SIMLANDER and APOLUS, and post an update when I do this…..

APoLUS version 9.5 released

Some major revisions and improvements in version 9.5, including:

  • Calculate land use demand using a tendency curve, instead of just inputting final demands
  • Improvements to accessibility and suitability calibration
  • introduction of map comparison, cross tabulation and goodness-of-fit statistics (see MAPCOMPARISON folder) to help model calibration.

To download the new version, go here


New SIMLANDER publication..

Towards automatic calibration of neighbourhood influence in cellular automata land-use models

One of the hardest things to deal with in CA land use models is calibrating the neighbourhood effect. The shape of the distance decay curve (nrules) and the size of the cell neigbourhood (nsize) have a strong influence on the behaviour of land use simulations. In general, steep decay curves lead land use patches to clump together, while shallower curves give more dispersed effects, (see a note on calibrating the neighbourhood effect). The problem is not so much identifying the pattern you want to replicate, but knowing what settings to give to nsize and nrules. Usually, this is done simply by experimenting, i.e. running simulations with one set of rules, comparing the results, and going back to modify the rules.  But not only is this really tedious and time consuming, it’s also not clear how you know when to stop. If you find a rules set that seems to fit, should you just go with it, or carry on experimenting until you find the best one? And is there really a single “best” set of rules our there? or will a range of different combinations of nsize and nrules give you the result you want?

A new paper, entitled “Towards automatic calibration of neighbourhood influence in cellular automata land-use models” published last week in Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, led by Majid Shadman Roodposhti, orginally of the University of Tasmania, now at Swinburne University of Technology (both Australia), presents a way to automate the process by employing a structured procedure to experiment with many different rules combinations and test the results against the reference maps using standard goodness-of-fit testing measures. The results are then ranked so the user can explore the values which give the best results. All of the code is R, and presented in supplementary material together with the paper, which is open access and can be downloaded for free from here.