Posts

The Void of Urban Experimentation in Athens, Greece

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I have been recently invited by the Greek Newspaper Kathimerini to provide an opinion piece about the controversy surrounding the extensive pedestrianisation 'experiment' in Athens, Greece, known as the " Megalos Peripatos " ( Great Walk ).   In my argument, I contend that if such a pedestrianisation plan is:   1️⃣ implemented merely as a 'traffic' or 'design' experiment, 2️⃣ conducted with a paternalistic, top-down approach incorporating pseudo-participatory processes, 3️⃣ not integrated into a broader strategy aimed at reducing car usage and enhancing both the urban environment and accessibility to degraded urban areas. 4️⃣ promoted solely as a technical project to enhance the 'image' of central Athens to the world, neglecting the social, economic, and environmental conditions of the city in the post-crisis era, 5️⃣ planned outside institutionalised processes, or in an ad-hoc manner, where powerful private and public entities and individuals

Beyond rockets: transport planning for permanent space settlements

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My recently published editorial in Transport Reviews initiates a dialogue on transport planning within permanent space settlements. It is motivated by Phase 3 space exploration (Sustained lunar opportunities) that will follow Phase 1 (Boots to the moon) and Phase 2 (Lunar exploration - expanding and building) of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group ( ISECG , 14 Space Agencies) roadmap for expanding human presence from low Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars. Here are the key takeaways:   1️ Conceptual Model: A conceptual framework that outlines the key elements and contextual factors for the development and operation of transport systems within space habitats has been introduced.   2️⃣ Space constraints: Transport in space settlements will face challenges like cosmic radiation, varied gravity conditions, temperature fluctuations, and more. This requires systems that prioritize safety, efficiency, resilience, accessibility, and well-being far beyond Earth's requir

Automated Vehicles: Changes in expert opinions over time

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In our new paper with Maarten Kroesen and Bert van Wee, we explore the extent to which experts’ views change over time, focusing on the case of AVs. Experts from Europe ( WISE-ACT COST Action ) participated in our panel survey (2018-2021). We conclude that: Expert opinions towards AVs are generally favourable (e.g. about effects on congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and traffic accidents).  Experts become less optimistic about AVs over time (particularly about the effects on traffic capacity). Two clusters of experts with diverging views on AVs (positive vs negative) were identified. Experts are not quite confident in assessing systemic, particularly indirect (land use, economic and public health), societal relevant impacts of AVs. Factors that could explain these outcomes include: Experts, especially those taking a specialist rather than a generalist approach, might not be confident in assessing multiple AV impacts simultaneously that cross the boundaries of their expertise. Experts

The Environmental and Resource Dimensions of Automated Transport: A Nexus for Enabling Vehicle Automation to Support Sustainable Urban Mobility.

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In our new paper we review, conceptualize and suggest future directions for research and policy development on the diverse environmental and energy-related dimensions of automated mobility for road, rail, water, and air passenger transport.   Our conclusions suggest the automation-connectivity-electrification-sharing-multimodality nexus as the only way forward for vehicle automation to reach its pro-environmental and resource-saving potential. Other findings include: The literature tends to narrow down the terms CAVs and AVs to car-equivalents. Simulations and early AV stage experiments have generated conflicting results that do not reach a clear consensus on whether automation can yield genuine benefits for the environment. In all likelihood, the uptake of vehicle automation in isolation, and with an emphasis on autonomous cars, will result in moderate reductions in GHG emissions per mile that would be critically outweighed by a potentially high growth in VMT. The nexus-based transiti

Worthwhile travel time: a conceptual framework of the perceived value of enjoyment, productivity and fitness while travelling

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Assessment of transport investments relies primarily on travel time savings and monetary values. The subjective travel experience of the traveller is rarely accounted for.   Our new paper in Transport Reviews introduces the conceptual framework of worthwhile travel time that is grounded on the traveller’s perception of three forms of value emerging from existing literature: enjoyment, productivity, and health.   Our conceptual framework suggests that experience factors (i.e. travel conditions as experienced by the traveller) can enable travel activities (i.e. the trip itself or activities on-the move), which in turn unlock the values of enjoyment, productivity and fitness that influence the perceived worthwhileness of a trip to a different degree each.   Initial evidence suggests that bicycle, walking, train travellers and car passengers experience the highest levels of travel time worthwhileness. Car drivers, users of other forms of public transport (e.g. subway, local bus) and plane

Expanding our concepts of the quality of everyday travelling with flow theory.

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In our new paper "Have a good trip! Expanding our concepts of the quality of everyday travelling with flow theory", we explore how flow theory could enrich and deepen our understanding of the positive value of travel/being on the move. Flow is an experience that occurs when a person is fully immersed in doing something that provides, level of challenge enough to keep the person concentrated, avoiding boredom or distraction. This experience is profoundly enjoyable, even if mundane, and valuable in its own right.    Here is a nice video by FightMediocrity summarizing flow theory in 5 minutes. And Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talking about flow in a TED Talk.     In our paper, we conclude that:  Most modes offer the potential for experiencing flow in different degrees by triggering mental states of awareness, increased creativity, concentration, disregard for the sense of self, and slowing down on time.  Everyday travelling offers rich challenges and feedback mechanisms that indiv

The societal dimension of the automated vehicles transition: Towards a research agenda

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Automated vehicles (AVs) are often presented by popular media, automotive and technology companies as an inevitable reality of the near future associated with a positive revolution in individual mobility (e.g. increased road safety, reduced congestion, less travel time cost). However, thus far, research has focused predominantly on technical and operational aspects as well as on short-term implications (e.g. traffic flow) of the automated vehicles transition. An introduction of AVs driven solely by the technology and business development might ignore the socio-technical nature of the transport system and thus be in conflict with planning objectives such as the promotion of public and non-motorized transport, the reduction of negative externalities of motorized transport and the development of a healthy and socially inclusive transport system. Our new paper presents a research agenda on the societal dimension of the AVs transition. We identify key research shifts from the mainstream tra