Dr David ReesWhat we’re doing

The purpose of the System Dynamics (SD) modelling is to help understand how the different aspects of a complex system influence each other. For example we are using it to depict the many influences on global transport systems. We are also using it to integrate research findings across different work-stream in the Energy Cultures project.

We are also developing a simulation model that includes key possible areas for intervention to achieve change, as identified in our research. The simulation model will provide a tool for exploring ‘what if’ scenarios for each possible intervention, to test their feasibility.

What we’ve found out so far

We used SD modelling to bring together key themes that emerged during our international “future transport” study. The initial high-level modelling shows many of the dynamics involved in changing to a sustainable transport system. For example, one SD diagram shows the drivers relating to the priority given to private vehicles. This analysis is ongoing.

From our initial work we have identified some ‘double-edged swords’ – innovations which are driving change, but at the same time are reinforcing the status quo. For example, electric vehicles, while providing a way to decrease the use of fossil fuels, reinforce the focus on private transport, making a shift to greater use of public and active transport much more difficult. The modelling has shown a number of these ‘double-edged swords’ that need to be taken into account in developing plans for change.