Using agent based modeling to assess the effect of increased Bus Rapid Transit system infrastructure on walking for transportation
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The effect of transport infrastructure on walking is of interest to researchers because it provides an opportunity, from the public policy point of view, to increase physical activity (PA). We use an agent based model (ABM) to examine the effect of transport infrastructure on walking. Particular relevance is given to assess the effect of the growth of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Bogotá on walking. In the ABM agents are assigned a home, work location, and socioeconomic status (SES) based on which they are assigned income for transportation. Individuals must decide between the available modes of transport (i.e., car, taxi, bus, BRT, and walking) as the means of reaching their destination, based on resources and needed travel time. We calibrated the model based on Bogota's 2011 mobility survey. The ABM results are consistent with previous empirical findings, increasing BRT access does indeed increase the number of minutes that individuals walk for transportation, although this effect also depends on the availability of other transport modes. The model indicates a saturation process: as more BRT lanes are added, the increment in minutes walking becomes smaller, and eventually the walking time decreases. Our findings on the potential contribution of the expansion of the BRT system to walking for transportation suggest that ABMs may prove helpful in designing policies to continue promoting walking.