Linking Transportation Agent-Based Model (ABM) Outputs with Micro-Urban Social Types (MUSTs) via Typology Transfer for Improved Community Relevance

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The human relationship with transportation is shaped by social, economic, demographic, and urban form variables, or socio-spatial factors. The spatial dynamics of these are key to generating and interpreting outputs of transportation models that are most relevant for a community and the diverse mobility needs of its members. Here we present a typology transfer framework, grounded in socio-spatial dynamics shaping people's mobility, to take transportation-themed regional mobility model outcomes, in this case from two agent-based models (ABMs), and extrapolate them to other cities, with less time and resource intensity than new ABM development. The typology transfer process first identifies micro-urban social types (MUSTs) using socio-spatial factors, then defines city types based on spatial patterns of MUSTs to assess across which cities transfer results are likely to best hold. Lastly, a typology transfer multiplier matrix extrapolates a given variable, in our case the Mobility Energy Productivity (MEP) metric, to another city. The full process demonstration uses ABM results from Chicago (POLARIS model) and San Francisco (BEAM model), applying them to New York City. We discuss how MEP or other outputs can be appropriately estimated and used for integrated, human-centered mobility analysis. Key findings include that this MUST framework of user-defined dependent and independent variables allows tailoring ABM results and interpretations to specific community needs and data availability. Findings clarify that positive outcomes can be targeted towards user groups, based on sociospatial characteristics, using a typology approach, such as inclusive access to mobility choices, transportation affordability, and greater efficiency in resource use.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 100748
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-84298


  • Agent-based model
  • Mobility energy productivity (MEP) metric
  • Socio-spatial analysis
  • Spatial transfer


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