856323 Applied system dynamics modelling in transport

Lecture and seminar
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Gühnemann, Astrid , Pfaffenbichler, Paul Christian
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


System Dynamics (SD) models can be used to identify leverage points to control and manage complex transport systems. The use of SD models as a tool in strategic planning and decision making is on the rise. Examples are the assessment of the policies of the Austrian Climate Strategy, the assessment of societal effects of automated driving or the assessment of European transport strategies. A focus of operational SD models is the interaction between land use and transport (LUTI – Land Use and Transport Interaction Models). Knowledge about SD in general and operational models in particular enriches the toolbox of students as future transport or landscape planners.
The objective of the course is to enable students to develop and use their own SD models in the context of today’s challenges in transport planning and policy. The lectures start with a brief introduction into system thinking and qualitative SD methods. The focus of the course is the introduction into quantitative SD methods (Stock-Flow-modelling) and validation methods. An overview of existing transport related operational SD model will be given. Interactive elements, e.g. the Fishbanks simulation or Group Model Building, introduce the students into the principle challenges of controlling complex dynamic systems. Students will develop their own quantitative SD model for a specific task in transport planning in form of a group work. Tutorials and computer workshops will support this process. Finally, a report about the process of model building, the resulting model and a critical discussion of simulation results has to be written.

Previous knowledge expected

Attendance of course 856322 "System analysis, strategic planning and policy modelling with system dynamics" or equal knowledge in system analysis and modelling, basic knowledge in transport planning, e.g. course 856320 „Verkehr und Umwelt“, are strongly recommended.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

By the end of the course, students will be able
a) to use qualitative SD methods to analyse and communicate complex systems in the transport context,
b) to develop and validate quantitative SD models in the transport context,
c) to use SD software (Vensim, InsightMaker),
d) to critically discuss and summarise simulation results,
e) to simulate and assess external scenarios and policy scenarios using SD models and
f) have basic knowledge about the integration of SD models into hybrid simulation environments.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.