Mott MacDonald helping Transport for London further develop its cycling forecasting tool

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UK-based engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald is working with Transport for London (TfL) on Cynemon, a recently developed cycling demand model, which uses innovative forecasting tools to assist the agency in understanding future patterns of bicycle usage in the UK’s capital city.

Cynemon (Cycle Network Model London) forms part of the healthy streets approach of the London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Transport Strategy, which aims to improve air quality, reduce congestion, and help make London’s diverse communities greener, healthier and more attractive places to live, work, play and do business.

It is the first time the city has developed a cycle forecasting tool of this nature, and the tool can be used by public and private sector clients to study cycling demand and help develop the case for future cycling infrastructure investments in London.

There has been significant investment in cycling in London in recent years, and with more planned, there is a need to justify this investment with robust appraisal. This calls for better tools to estimate the impact of new cycling schemes and so Cynemon was developed to meet this need. Its development was based on TfL count and travel diary data sources combined with mobile phone app data and bespoke research. Cynemon is designed to address the questions related to the routes that cyclists choose as they travel around London, taking into account aspects such as gradient, road type, cycle lanes and other traffic, as well as provide the inputs for cycle connectivity mapping.

Cynemon has been developed as a mechanism to model and visualize cyclist route choice, and is able to:

• Show where the busiest cycling corridors are in London;

• Output average cycling journey times between places of interest;

• Show the impact of the expected growth in cycling in the future;

• Show the origins and destinations of cyclists on particular routes;

• Indicate the choice of routes available between places of interest;

• Show the re-routing effects of new infrastructure.

It also has a feature that calculates the potential for new cycle-related schemes to encourage people to switch their trips from car or public transport to cycling.

Mott MacDonald will assist TfL in the development and refinement of the existing model for project applications, including updating it to reflect the latest demand driver assumptions on population and employment, as well as future cycling infrastructure plans. The consultancy will also support TfL in applying the model to provide evidence and narrative for cycling studies and infrastructure investment proposals. This evidence could include patterns of cycling trips and how these would change with the implementation of new cycling schemes.

“Utilizing Cube transport modeling software, Cynemon will be used to help present the case for cycling investment. We’re well placed to deliver this project due to our strong understanding of transport issues in London, as well as expertise in strategic modeling and the analysis and presentation of data,” explained David Winkworth, Mott MacDonald’s project director.

“This tool is helping us become part of a global emerging market in cycling demand models. We’re also exploring avenues of new work by collaborating with our Transport Planning colleagues to support existing commissions with London Boroughs including Croydon, Richmond and Islington.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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