Fundamentally, tackling net zero requires a forensic understanding of what’s causing emissions across every facet of a town or city. Data, whether in the form of energy use patterns or commuter use of the roads or rail, does exist, but needs to be managed and modelled in order to drive decision making.

Arup’s City Modelling Lab creates large scale simulation models, offering unprecedented insight into how people’s behaviour and choices produce complex behaviour and outcomes for our clients. Our simulations can be built at city or regional level, exploring complex decarbonisation questions such as EVs and vehicle fleets, transport modal shift, energy systems and equity. The insights produced can help authorities to prioritise investment for net zero interventions that offer the most return and accelerate progress toward the ultimate goal.

Central to the process is the use of agent-based modelling, in essence the use of data to understand how individuals’ preferences shape macro-level outcomes. Once again, addressing net zero will also likely improve operators understanding of the networks they run, and lead to greater efficiencies in how services are provided.

Agent based modelling illustration
Agent-based modelling brings real human preferences into the decision making process.