Quintin van Heerden

QvHeerden_Integrated land-use and transportation modelling to determine lowest-cost commute trips

Quintin van Heerden
Van Heerden is an industrial engineer and researcher in urban and regional planning at the CSIR. His research focuses mainly on transport modelling, using the UrbanSim software platform as a tool to evaluate current and future spatial planning policies, and using social media data mining for transport and urban planning insights.

About the talk: Large cities are amongst the most complex production systems ever built. In his presentation, Van Heerden explores the role of land-use transportation interaction models in supporting the equally complex urban planning processes that shape our cities. This is done by simulating spatial growth patterns 30 years into the future to better understand the future demand for infrastructure, facilities and services including water, sanitation, electricity and transportation in our metropolitan regions. Specific reference will be made to developing countries where poverty, income disparities and mounting demands for basic services pose even greater challenges to urban planners.

A case for using the monetary cost of commuting as an acceptable proxy for generalised cost will be made, which includes the value of time, because the majority of households in South Africa, and possibly in other developing countries, tend to be more sensitive to the cost of a trip than the duration.

Since the monetary cost of commuting does not depend on the congested state of the transportation network, the researchers were able to modify their software model to calculate lowest-cost commuting trips by various modes of transport. These costs are then used for calculating measures of accessibility to jobs, which could in turn influence where households choose to live and work. This is contrasted to more conventional approaches using transportation models. Finally, Van Heerden will discuss how the tailored software models were validated by simulating a 10-year period in the past (between the 2001 and 2011 censuses), to compare the forecasts with the actual growth in households according to two reputable sources, which obtained favourable results.

Co-author: Dr Louis Waldeck

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