Optimization of the Location and Capacity of Shared Multimodal Mobility Hubs to Maximize Social Welfare

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Nowadays, urban areas are exposed to various challenges such as climate change, social inequalities, and congestion. Mobility hubs present the opportunity to reshape our cities and mitigate the previously mentioned problems by contributing to a more sustainable and equitable transport system. This thesis defines mobility hubs as places where shared cars, mopeds, and e-bikes are offered to improve connectivity and ameliorate mobility options. Given a limited budget, cities would like to optimize the locations of mobility hubs to maximize benefits. This problem is solved in this thesis by presenting an optimization model that allows the distribution of mobility hubs and allocation of shared cars, mopeds, and e-bikes to maximize social welfare. The algorithm can provide the optimal locations for the hubs and their respective capacity in terms of vehicles, while accounting for multimodal trips. It focuses on maximizing the utility of the population rather than the operators’ profits. The model is divided into several modules: computational modules that calculate the number of people that would like to use a mobility hub; a mathematical optimization module to optimize the capacity, availability, and relocation of shared vehicles; and finally, a genetic algorithm that performs several iterations to find the optimal distribution of hubs. The model developed is applied in a case study for the city of Amsterdam. Several scenarios are performed to assess how the distribution of hubs varies depending on the budget provided to construct them. The results show that having more hubs with a lower number of shared vehicles is more beneficial than having fewer with more vehicles. Areas with higher population density are prioritized when lower budgets are invested in building the hubs. Additionally, the shift towards shared modes and the travel time savings are minimal. The benefits increase considerably when investments lead to complete coverage of the area by the network of mobility hubs. A modal split of 5% for the shared modes is expected when Amsterdam is fully covered by 288 hubs. From an environmental point of view, only 32 % of the shared trips replace trips previously made by car, leading to a limited CO2 emissions reduction of 1.27%. To conclude, the model developed is one of the first models that optimizes the location and capacity of multimodal hubs to maximize social welfare by considering multimodal trips. It has the ability to quantify the benefits of introducing mobility hubs depending on the investments made.