In June of this year, we had the privilege of attending the AGILE 2023 conference organized by The Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe. The conference took place at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands and revolved around the overarching theme of “Spatial Data for Design”. The presentations covered a wide range of topics, including urban planning, mobility, health, and disaster mapping among others. Various methods of data collection and utilization were showcased to support the design and implementation of measures at both city-wide and building-specific scales.

One particularly popular area of discussion was transport modeling and the calculation of traffic counts. Dana presented a methodology for simulating mobility behaviour and generating traffic flows for cyclists and pedestrians at a regional level (see paper). The model employed an agent-based modeling approach and utilized probabilistic rules to define mobility behavior. The accuracy of the results was evaluated by comparing the simulated counts with observational data from 14 counting stations in Salzburg. The models have been published and are openly available in the CoMSES Net library here.

As it was the first time participating in this conference, we were delighted to observe that the conference attracted a significant number of young researchers and PhD candidates, including ourselves. This provided an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and delve into important topics within the realm of mobility. We explored discussions on inclusivity and diversity in the context-dependent design of physical infrastructure and digital solutions. In addition to the conference sessions, we had a pleasure of engaging with local students and researchers from the Netherlands, where city and transport planning strongly favor active mobility. When asked about the secret to the Dutch success in cycling culture, we received a comment that attributed it to one or several charismatic individuals within the decision-making chain who championed the cause of sustainable transportation, which resonated with everyone.

Dana and Christian