Urban Transport 2015
21st International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment
2 - 4 June 2015
The 21st International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment was held in Valencia, organised by the Polytechnic University of Valencia, represented by Professor Jose Luis Miralles i Garcia, and the Wessex Institute, UK, represented by Professor Carlos A Brebbia.
The meeting was also sponsored by the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning and the International Journal of Energy Production and Management.
This is the latest of a long and successful series of conferences that started in Southampton, UK in 1995 and have been held every year in different locations, the last two in Kos, Greece (2013) and the Algarve, Portugal (2014).
Papers from all the Urban Transport conferences have been archived in the Wessex Institute digital library at (http://www.witpress.com/elibrary) where they are permanently available to the international community. Some of the work, in an expanded and enhanced way, has also been published in the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning.
The continuous success of the conference rests on the need to improve urban transport systems, as well as reducing their environmental impacts. The development of appropriate urban transport systems is of fundamental importance to achieve sustainable cities, as they represent major consumers of energy and are sources of pollution.
Over the years, a series of innovations has been proposed as represented in the past volumes of this conference series. Some of them have become well-established after their critical evaluation in practice, while the conference continues to generate new approaches and original ideas.
All components of urban transport systems require optimisation and, equally important, integration between different transportation modes. This objective which is pursued in this conference is now becoming more feasible due to the emergence of powerful computer tools which can improve the safety, security and efficiency of transport systems, while helping to reduce pollution by the optimal use of energy resources.
Opening of the Conference
The conference was opened by Prof Jose Luis Miralles i Garcia from the Polytechnic of Valencia, who welcomed the delegates in the name of his Institute, and hoped that they would also have time to see some of the sights of the city.
The Polytechnic – Jose Luis said - had organised an organ concert in the ancient Jesuit Church in the old town and hosted the ceremony to award the Prigogine Medal, in addition to sponsoring the conference.
Carlos A Brebbia spoke then of the importance of the Conference series for the Institute’s activities. Conferences provide a continuous stream of new ideas which give rise to further research and development at WIT and elsewhere.
Carlos described some of the research the Institute is carrying out to support industry, including major companies in the field of energy and aerospace. These activities are based on the software tools developed by WIT over the years, which have resulted in a close contact with industrial users. Research and Development in these tools continues to be carried out in the New Forest campus of WIT.
Another important activity is the publishing of specialised literature, including many books and monographs other than conference volumes. Publishing nowadays is basically a digital activity which gives greater dissemination to the material published by WIT Press. In addition, the Institute has developed an eLibrary containing all conference papers presented at WIT meetings since 1993. This library, which is Open Access, gives wide dissemination to the work presented at this, as well as other, meetings.
Carlos also referred to the series of Journals, either published or in the process of being launched, by WIT Press. The closest related to this conference – Carlos said – is the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, and he invited all presenters to prepare an enhanced version of their paper for submission to the Journal. Soon, however, WIT Press is launching a new International Journal on Transport Development and Integration which will address all types of transportation modes and, in particular, their interaction.
Carlos ended by thanking the delegates again for their support of the Conference and to the authors for the quality of the many papers at the Urban Transport meeting. He hoped that they would continue to support WIT activities, including other related conferences. WIT – Carlos said – carries out training and research activities with many other Institutions around the world and is always happy to expand these activities.
The papers presented at the conference were grouped in a series of sessions, ie
- Urban transport strategies
- Urban transport planning and management
- Environmental aspects
- Mobility and public spaces
- Infrastructure developments
- Transportation modelling and simulation
- Safety and security
- Travel behaviour studies
- Railway systems
In addition, a Special Session was arranged by Prof Francesco Russo from the University of Reggio Calabria in Italy on ‘Innovation in City Logistics’. It consisted of invited papers with the following topics:
- A city logistics system for long distance freight transport provisioning
- An ex-ante evaluation of last-mile freight distribution services for city logistics
- A freight urban distribution center design with micro-simulation support for city logistics
- Urban regeneration and smart city according to EU strategies: an urban distribution center in city logistics
- An experimental investigation into innovative pavements for city logistics
- Pavement life cycle cost analysis for city logistics
There were a series of keynote addresses which helped to enhance the meeting:
“The integration of a high-speed train station in Valencia City” by Jose Luis Miralles i Garcia, Polytechnic University of Valencia.
“Determination and ranking of integration measures for land use and transportation applications”, by Ilse Schoeman, North West University, South Africa.
“Emissions in real urban traffic conditions as a determinant of shaping sustainable urban development”, by Marianna Jacyna and Jerzy Merkisz, Poland.
“Public acceptance in financing urban transportation projects using the Value Capture concept”, by Socrates Basbas, University of Thessaloniki, Greece
“The integration of traction equipment into a vehicle computer network”, by Ioan Strainescu, ICPE, Romania.
“The bicycle: mass urban transportation – a paradigm shift – Case study: the City of Valencia”, by Fernando Gaja i Diaz, Polytechnic University of Valencia.
“The implementation of the electric taxi fleet in the city of Poznan, Poland”, by Agnieszka Merkisz-Guranowska, Poznan University of Technology, Poland.
“Reducing gasoline loss from evaporation by the introduction of a surface-active fuel additive”, by Elena Magaril, Ural Federal University, Russia.
“Economic-financial evaluation and multicriteria analysis of innovative public transport guided systems: an application to ‘Linea della Musica’ in Rome”, by Stefano Ricci, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’, Italy.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee met during the Conference to discuss the reconvening of Urban Transport in 2017 (notice that the meeting in 2016 will take place in Crete from 21-23 June). New topics will be incorporated in the Call for Papers, as well as some new members of the Committee.
The Polytechnic University of Valencia arranged for a special organ concert to take place during one of the evenings. The concert was held in the Jesuit Church located in the old town. The Church dates from the XVIII century, fronting the most important heritage building in Valencia, the famous medieval Lonja.
The organ has 5000 pipes and four keyboards which make a unique instrument, in so far as it can mimic different types of European organs and hence it can play a wide repertoire.
The organist was Arturo Basa Sevillano who completed his studies in many different European institutions. He is a Professor in the Valencia Conservatory, as well as a qualified architect. He has played in numerous locations and has carried out research in the European music of the XVI and XVII centuries.
His recital included pieces by Cabanilles (1644-1712); Bach (1685-1750); Bruna (1611-1679); Zipoli (1688-1726) and ended with music by Boellmann (1862-1897). The high standard of his performance were most appreciated by the audience.
The Conference banquet took place in the unusual setting of the Aquarium restaurant, located under a distinctive hyperbolic paraboloid structure built by Felix Candela. The glass walls of the restaurant are part of the Aquarium itself and a continuous stream of fish swims constantly along. The excellent food was accompanied by good local wines creating a convivial atmosphere.
The restaurant was located near the hotel from where the delegates proceeded, alongside renowned new buildings, including two famous Calatrava buildings, ie the Museum of Science and Technology and the Agora. The pleasant walk added to the attraction of the event.
12th Prigogine Gold Medal
The Conference events included the award of the 12th Prigogine Gold Medal at the Aula Magna of the Polytechnic University of Valencia. The award was presented by the Rector, Prof Francisco Jose Mora Mas and the Dean of Engineering, Prof Vicent Estaban Chapapria, with the participation of the Conference Chairmen, Professor Jose Luis Miralles i Garcia of the same Institute, and Prof Carlos A Brebbia of Wessex Institute, UK.
The delegates were welcomed by Prof Mora Mas who referred to the importance of the award and his University being honoured by the event taking place at the Valencia Polytechnic. He also thanked Prof Carlos A Brebbia for the opportunity to know Prof Larry Li from the University of California, Riverside, USA.
Prof Brebbia then explained the importance of the award.
The Prigogine Medal was established in 2004 by the University of Siena and the Wessex Institute to honour the memory of Prof Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize winner for chemistry.
Ilya Prigogine was born in Moscow in 1917, and obtained his undergraduate and graduate education in Chemistry at the Free University in Brussels.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures. The main theme of his scientific work was the role of time in the physical sciences and biology. He contributed significantly to the understanding of irreversible processes, particularly in systems far from equilibrium.
The results of his work have had profound consequences for understanding biological and ecological systems. Prigogine’s ideas established the basis of ecological systems research. The Prigogine medal to honour his memory is awarded annually to a leading scientist in the field of ecological systems. All recipients have been deeply influenced by the work of Prigogine.
Previous Prigogine Laureates were:
- 2004 Sven Jorgensen, Denmark
- 2005 Enzo Tiezzi, Italy
- 2006 Bernard Patten, USA
- 2007 Robert Ulanowicz, USA
- 2008 Ioannis Antoniou, Greece
- 2009 Emilio Del Giudice, Italy
- 2010 Felix Müller, Germany
- 2011 Larissa Brizhik, Ukraine
- 2012 Gerald Pollack, USA
- 2013 Vladimir Voeikov, Russia
- 2014 Mae-Wan Ho, UK
The 2015 Medal was awarded to Bai-Lian Larry Li, Professor at the University of California, USA.
B Larry Li is Professor of Ecology and Director of three research centres at the University of California, Riverside, ie the International Centre for Ecology and Sustainability, the International Centre for Arid Land Ecology, and the US Department of Agriculture – China Joint Research Centre for Agroecology and Sustainability.
Professor Li has a broad inter-disciplinary background and experience in mathematical, statistical and computational modelling applications in ecological studies. Professor Li is a Fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology, USA; Chair Professor of the Chinese Academy of Science, Honorary Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among other important recognitions.
He currently presides over the Eco-Summit Foundation and is a member of NSF Scientific Panels. He has been the founder and editor of the prestigious International Journal on Ecological Complexity and the Journal of Arid Land. He organised many symposia and courses with other institutions, including the Max-Planck and Santa Fe institutes.
Prof Li has worked on a wide variety of ecological projects including recent involvement in energetic and thermodynamic ecological systems and restoration of ecological patterns for formations and long-term ecological research in the USA and internationally.
He has published more than 200 refereed journal articles, and numerous conference papers, in addition to 30 book chapters and eight books or edited special issues.
Following these introductory remarks, Professor Mora Mas awarded the Medal to Professor Li and invited him to give his Prigogine lecture entitled “Towards an energetically and thermodynamically-sounded approach to ecological complexity, modelling and sustainability”.
B Larry Li started his inaugural address with the following introduction:
“Life is based on cycling of matter and consumption of energy. The spatial and temporal scales of these processes transcend from the micro-world, where living cells meet their energetic demand with nutrients diffusing through the cell wall, to the planetary scale, where continental vegetation cover and oceanic biota profoundly impact the global cycles of life essentials like water and carbon. On the basis of a holistic systems view and Prigogine and Haken’s theories, my research has been focusing on addressing the following key questions: How do biological and ecological systems self-organize? What are the origins and mechanisms of emergence of scaling from individual to landscape levels (especially on emergence of dynamic scaling)? And what are the physical bases of non-equilibrium biological and ecological systems? I use mathematical, statistical, and computational modelling approaches as a way of exploring and answering these questions. These modelling approaches help identify general principles and basic mechanisms governing emerging properties of biological and ecological systems at multiple temporal and spatial scales based on energetic, thermodynamic and information considerations and allow us to have better understanding and modelling of ecological complexity, services and sustainability.
“One of my earliest English papers entitled ‘Pansystems analysis: a new approach to ecosystem modelling’ was published in Ecological Modelling in 1986. In that paper, I proposed a new pansystems approach to study complex and strongly interacting dynamic processes in ecological system, ie the social-economic-natural complex ecosystems, and a rough framework of ecological complexity – modelling complex or large-scale ecosystems. This work, to large extent, reflected in part of my earlier views to apply Prigogine’s far-from equilibrium thoughts to ecological systems.
“In this lecture, I will start with re-examination of the classic logistic equation in population ecology, from the energy conservation law. We found that there exists a conservation of energy relationship comprising the terms of available resource and population density, jointly interpreted here as total available vital energy in a confined environment. We showed that this relationship determines a density-dependent functional form of relative population growth rate and consequently the parametric equations are in the form depending upon the population density, resource concentration, and time. Thus, the derived form of relative population growth rate is essentially a feedback type, ie updating parametric values for the corresponding population density. This resource dynamics-based feedback approach has been implemented for formulating variable carrying capacity in a confined environment. Particularly, at a constant resource replenishment rate, a density-dependent population growth equation similar to the classic logistic equation is derived, while one of the regulating factors of the underlying resource dynamics is that the resource consumption rate is directly proportional to the resource concentration.
“Secondly, I will talk about energetic and thermodynamic foundation of ecological systems. A fundamental but unanswered biological question asks how much energy, on average, Earth’s different life forms spend per unit mass per unit time to remain alive. Here, using the largest database to date, for 3006 species that includes most of the range of biological diversity on the planet – from bacteria to elephants, and algae to sapling trees – we show that metabolism displays a striking degree of homeostasis across all of life. We demonstrate that, despite the enormous biochemical, physiological, and ecological differences between the surveyed species that vary over 1020-fold in body mass, mean metabolic rates of major taxonomic groups displayed at physiological rest converge on a narrow range from 0.3 to 9 W kg-1. This 30-fold variation among life’s disparate forms represents a remarkably small range compared with the 4000 to 65000-fold difference between the mean metabolic rates of the smallest and largest organisms that would be observed if life as a whole conformed to universal quarter power or third-power allometric scaling laws. The observed broad convergence on a narrow range of basal metabolic rates suggests that organismal designs that fit in this physiological window have been favoured by natural selection across all of life’s major kingdoms, and that this range might therefore be considered as optimal for living matter as a whole.
“Thirdly, I will show how we can use this foundation to scaling up, from primary producers to primary consumers, to second consumers, and so on in ecological networks. This approach opens a new view to re-examine species diversity-stability-productivity relationships in ecological systems.
“Fourthly, I will examine the emergence of scaling properties and self-organisations in ecological systems, such as species-area curve, self-thinning law, etc. My talk will also include applications of this framework to study ecotone phase transitions, biological invasion, scaling from genomes to ecosystems and global change biology.
“Based on my own study and near 35 years working experience in this field, I have been so much inspired by Prof Ilya Prigogine’s works and his thoughts. I met him in person only once, in 1992 Chaos Conference at Texas A&M University, College Station, USA; I showed him how I used his theory: nonlinear Markov non-equilibrium thermodynamic stability theory to study ecological phase transitions and predict the tree-grass dynamics of savannah in southern Texas landscapes. I believe that his work and view will continue to inspire new generations of ecologists to study not only fundamental issues of ecology but also applied ecological problems in conservation biology, biological invasion, restoration ecology, ecological monitoring and assessment, global change, and sustainable development.”
Prof Li’s excellent presentation was followed with great interest by all participants. He demonstrates a command of many disciplines, such as mathematics, statistics, computational mechanics, in addition to biology and ecosystems. His address gave a comprehensive picture of the diverse ecosystems behaviour and the importance of understanding them to achieve sustainability.
Closing of the Conference
Prof Mora Mas closed the event and invited all participants to drinks and tapas as refreshment before the participants went back to the conference venue.
The Conference was closed by Carlos who thanked the participants for attending the meeting and explained the way in which the work presented at the conference is being distributed around the world. He also hoped that the delegates would consider visiting the WIT Campus next time they are in the region.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary in Volume 146 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498 Digital ISSN: 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://witpress.com/elibrary