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Cityndex - Soft Accessibility City Index

Title: Cityndex - Soft Accessibility City Index

Principal investigator: Eduardo Natividade

Research team: Luis Alçada, Arminda Almeida, John Current

Dates start/end: 10-2016 / 03-2018

Synopsis

Sustainability worries related to the intensive use of energy by automobiles and traffic congestion issues have encouraged decision makers to look for alternative solutions, leading to an emerging shift towards soft/active transport modes. In tandem with this, recent years have witnessed a tendency of the younger generations to search for housing in city centers, aiming at a lifestyle where they can move around without the need for motorized transport.

This emergence of a New Urban Age calls for the development of new tools to assess a city’s response to the shift in transport demand patterns. Clearly soft modes travel modes, like walking and cycling, will play a major role in this changing context. Walking is the most basic and most often used urban mode of transport, not only per se, but also because practically every motorized trip begins or ends with pedestrian travel. The pedestrian mode of transport has well-known benefits at multiple levels: energy/emissions, sustainability, health, etc. The bicycle is a means of transport that can be adopted in most cities, which combines the readiness to use of the automobile with high efficiency, low congestion, health and quickness of travel for short distances (it is competitive with automobiles up to 5 km).

It is the goal of this project to construct and evaluate a city accessibility index for soft travel modes, namely walking and cycling, including the possibility of pedelec-type bicycles usage. Given the multiple aspects of reality that are involved in this problematic, a multicriteria approach is necessary (see e.g. for an example of the use of multicriteria methods in connection to urban problems).