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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Wai Jun Mak

New Urban Mobility Solutions in Megacities

High rates of urbanisation and agglomeration has led to the rise of megacities globally. With
the issue of massive population within a limited area, there are considerable challenges faced
in supplying an equitable, healthy and productive lifestyle to its residents whilst minimising
impacts to the natural environment.

In the context of transportation, existing urban mobility is associated with problems including
safety, pollution and cost, with little literature holistically comparing the sustainability of
transport modes. Fmthermore, recent advances in vehicle teclmologies have provided an
opportunity to solve the mobility crisis from a stand point of sustainability.
The opportunity can be reflected in envisioning a sustainable and effective mode of transport.
In this thesis, aspects of electric vehicles are combined with autonomous technologies and a
shared business model to define an Intelligent Shared Autonomous Vehicle (ISA V).
Key indicators of sustainable transpo1t were first identified, falling under Functional,
Economic, Environmental, and Social categories. Data is sourced and nonnalised from the
urban transport systems of the two cities of Delhi and London, to model its pe1fonnance in a
global context. Comparators tor the !SA V is then developed through analytical models and
estimations on sustainability performance allowing its comparison to existing modes.
Finally, these indicators are put through a multi-decision cnterion model (MCDM), to model
how consumers may choose an ISAV over alternative modes oftranspo1t. The mode choice
analysis allowed for a calculation in the change in transport-related sustainable impact for the
two cities.
Results indicate substantial benefits the on sustainability impact of mobility with the
introduction of the aforementioned ISAV system. Selected outcomes include the annual
reduction of 2.4 million tonnes of C02 in London with both increased affordability for
consumers and profitability to r a transp01t operator. It was also demonstrated that average
door-to-door speeds for consumers will increase by an average of 1.5 km/h and reduce rates
of accidents.
However, the implementation of an ISA V system came at a huge loss of roughly 50,000 job
losses in each city suggesting that adequate preparation is required during a transitionary
phase to an automated economy.
Key limitations were recognised in data consistency and the use of a MCDM over traditional
mode choice modelling methods. Both were a consequence of difficulties in obtaining the
needed data.
The implications of the study provide a first step in quantifying the benefits that an ISA V
system could contribute within large cities. The !SA Vis proven to fit into the nan·ative of a
more sustainable world, but with the recognition of future areas to explore and ban·iers to
overcome.