Towards Human Scale Cities - Open and Happy. 15th biennial NECTAR conference. 5-7 June 2019
Urban population is growing worldwide. Our societies are facing grand challenges like climate change and growing inequalities between people. There is an increasing need to develop cities that are environmentally and socially sustainable, functional and supporting well-being of their inhabitants. When striving towards these goals, transportation and mobility play a crucial role. Easy and environmentally sustainable mobility options are called for in most cities. For these to attract users, they need to be safe and pleasant, providing positive experiences and well-being in addition to efficiency in time or cost.
NECTAR conference is organized with a title “Towards Human Scale Cities – Open and Happy” to reflect the new requirements of urban transportation. This 15th NECTAR conference, organized in Helsinki 5th - 7th June 2019, provides presentations by world-class keynotes Mikael Colville-Andersen and Professor Tim Schwanen, who approach human scale mobility from the viewpoints of a designer and a researcher. More than 140 scientific presentations explore advancements in the field of transport, communication and mobility, with a particular focus on good quality mobility options for people. The focus of the conference is urban transportation and the new possibilities that open data and digital technologies provide for mobility solutions and their research. Presentations provide food for thought concerning mobility choices and quality, new mobility solutions like MaaS, and policies that are implemented to support them.
Helsinki offers an interesting environment for the 2019 NECTAR conference. It is the home of the busiest passenger harbor in Europe with a twin-city development with Tallinn across the bay, and a major air transportation hub between Europe and Asia. It is one of the fastest growing capital regions in Europe, with large densification developments taking place in old logistic centers: harbor areas of Jätkäsaari and Kalasatama and a train depot in Pasila. Public transportation is valued high by citizens, as well as politicians and planners making investment decisions for the future. First robotized buses are in operation and MaaS solutions are emerging. New bike sharing system is one of the most used in the world and has expanded to cover most of the city region. As everywhere in Europe, new forms of micromobility from electronic scooters to electric longboards are appearing on the streets making planners and police puzzled. The city has profiled itself as an open city: large amounts of open data about the region have been made available and the region of Helsinki is committed to open and transparent decision
and policy making. This supports also research in the major universities: University of Helsinki and Aalto University, the local organizers of the conference.
We anticipate that the conference days will forward our thinking on how to make cities more sustainable, functional and pleasant for people, and how to study them scientifically in a meaningful and transparent manner.
In 2016 passenger service on the Moscow Central Circle (MCC, a circular urban rail line in Moscow) was reintroduced after its closure in 1934. The launch of this line allowed us to study the effects of a transport infrastructure project using observed rather than model-forecasted data.
We collected empirical data on changes in real estate values, land use, transportation flows and travel behaviour as consequences of integration of the new rail line into existing urban transit system.
The research project consists of several parts. First, we studied residential rent rates. The rent growth effect was most substantial in the residential areas around Moscow Central Circle stations without access to existing metro stations.
Second, we used the Node-Place model to evaluate the magnitude of the potential (and officially planned) land use changes in the long-run, i.e. the increase in the place value. We revealed that the long-term MCC impact is modest, because the opportunities for land use change around the MCC stations are currently limited and therefore the increased node value is not accompanied by the proportional change of the place value.
Third, we used Moscow Metro origin-destination matrices for typical working days in March 2016 and March 2017 to evaluate the impact of the MCC on the redistribution of passenger traffic volumes. We observed an insignificant decline in load level of Metro Circle line and radial lines and interchanges in the city centre.
Finally, we studied changes in travel behaviour. The majority of respondents do not use the MCC to reach locations near new stations but use it mostly to optimise their existing routes, which also supports the findings of the relatively low place value of the territories around the new stations.
Repeating the same measurements regularly will allow us to monitor the changes in the use of the MCC and track its performance and its effects over time. This paper covers the short-term effects that occurred in the first 12 months of the MCC operation.