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Modelling developments covering the representation of the transport sector

Two key themes emerge from the developments in this section: the need to integrate models of the transport and energy systems and the need to better represent human behaviour in transport models. Two review articles asses the tools used to model human behaviour in mobility systems, one from the USA and another from Denmark. Another study from Denmark examines the long-term decarbonisation of the transport sector in Denmark. And finally, an article from the JRC analyses the policy options for promoting fuel cell electric vehicles in the EU to drive the reduction of CO2 emissions in the transport sector.

date:  03/07/2020

  • In a recent article in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the USA assess the methodological tools used to model future mobility systems and their connections with the energy systems. The authors find that current models of energy and transport systems are not well represented and integrated within each other and that the links between the systems are under-modelled. They find that transport and energy systems models do not sufficiently represent human behaviour (e.g. consumer choice), especially at the household-level. They identify four key areas for future research to improve the modelling for future transport-energy systems: emerging transport trends, the locus of consumer choice, multi-sectoral dynamics, and spatiotemporal resolution.
  • An article from researchers at the Technical University in Lyngby, Denmark, and University College Cork, Ireland, reviews the integrated energy and transport models which contain a detailed description of the passenger transport sectors to identify possible avenues for improvements in the representation of consumer behaviour. The authors find that a high level of integration of the energy and transport sectors is a precondition for incorporating consumer behaviour in the models. The main contribution of the paper is the analysis of the modelling methodologies used to incorporate human behaviour in passenger transport. Although this article dates back to July 2018, it is worth mentioning in this report as it reviews numerous methodologies for incorporating human behaviour related to transportation, in energy–economy–environment (E3) models.
  • Another article in Energy Policy by researchers at the Technical University in Denmark emphasises the importance of representing human behaviour in modelling the energy, economy, environment, engineering nexus. The researchers use the integrated energy system model TIMES-DK to analyse the long-term decarbonisation of the transport sector in Denmark. They extend the representation of transport modes shift by aggregating passenger model travel demands into the demand segments based on the distance range. They find that less strict travel time budget (more flexibility for average daily travel time per individual) and increased speed of public buses lead to a more efficient decarbonisation of the Danish transport sector by 2050.
  • Researchers from the JRC have published an article on the potential policy strategies for promoting fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) by overcoming their initial high capital expenditure. The transport sector is the only sector which continues to increase its CO2 emissions relative to 1990, and emissions reductions in this sector could have a substantial impact on meeting EU climate targets. The authors employ a soft-linking of a behavioural model for the passenger transport sector with energy system cost optimisation applied to hydrogen in the EU. The two models used in the study are the JRC-EU-TIMES model of energy systems and the Powertrain Technology Transition Market Agent Model (PTTMAM) which covers manufactures, users, infrastructure providers and authorities. The key finding is that the policy with the largest net impact to promote FCEV deployment is a vehicle discount by manufacturers of EUR 5,000 per vehicle between 2030-2034 across the EU28.