Thursday, December 15, 2011

World City Modal Split Database: An invitation

This open project from EPOMM -- the European Platform on Mobility Management -- is an absolutely brilliant idea. It does not require much explanation to get started; you can be off and going if you simply to click here and dig into their Google map. That said, a few words of introduction may not be altogether without their use to help you take full advantage of their good work.

Ahem! If this looks familiar to you, it is probably because you caught the initial announcement on the EPOMM project and their invitation at the end of October in these pages. But we are coming back to you again  on this, because apparently the message and the importance and potential usefulness of this collaborative database does not seem to have gotten through. Surely a matter of insufficient clarity here. So let's take another whack and see if we can really start to load up the international component of this fine conceptual planing tool.

Just below is what you see when you click to the site. A slight caveat though: one thing that I completely missed the first time around was the menu offering several alternatives, which you will find just to the left of the welcoming line and toward the top of the screen. You will see that the menu offers a handful of options including a capacity to select cities, compare cities and also a form at which will allow you to enter data on your city to further enhance the usefulness of this collaborative tool.

Welcome to the Euro-city modal split database

This database was made with the support of Intelligent Energy Europe in the project EPOMM-PLUS. It has started in May 2011, so not too many data are online yet.Please select a city in the map below or compare a group of cities using the menu on the left.

At the present time (and I think it is a good idea to ensure the integrity and comparability of the data) the uploaded data are being examined and processed by the EPOMM team before they are put online. (It also needs to be noted for now that their processing capacity is somewhat limited, so in the first stage they decided to limit the data entries to Europe.)

Here is a sample of from a set of Italian cities as an example:

It is altogether fair to ask how "solid" is the reported data. As a necessary caution, one does have to give at least some thought to the actual integrity of the data and its basic comparability, always a major problem on these inter-city comparisons -- and all the more so when they stretch across statistical and other borders. The EPOMM team is aware of this problem but decided that discussions on solving this problem will be much easier if the current, far from perfect data are easily available..

Beyond Europe
However in answer to our request, the EPOMM team leaders have generously agreed to accept and process date on up to twenty non-European cities in a first instance to demonstrate the possibility and usefulness of a worldwide database on modal split at the city level. EPOMM is open for supporting a more universal system in the near future– if the processing costs for this can be covered

Here are their guidelines for data entry, in case you are interested in the possibility of adding your city to this open international database.

Some methodological guidelines for entering your modal split date

No decimal values
It is very popular among traffic planners to provide seemingly very exact numbers - like "we have 3.44 percent bicycle share - which is an increase of 37.52% from last year". TEMS intentionally does not provide such numbers, as this is always an exactness that in reality does not exist. Moreover, such multiple digit numbers make reading, comparability and memorization more difficult: for example 3.42 looks quite different from 2.98 - while in reality it is the same - around 3%. And it is hard to compare 3.42% with 11.96% - while to compare 3% and 12% is much easier.

Cities above 100.000 inhabitants
TEMS aims to show the modal split of all cities in the EU with more than 100.000 inhabitants (there are well over 600 such cities). Smaller cities are also in the database, but might be suppressed in the future if there are too many cities on the map.

Check by the administrator
All uploaded cities are checked and located on the map by the administrator after the upload process. If the numbers do not add up to 100% or if the data for any reason seem not to be OK, the authors are contacted. Until this is clarified, the city data are not made public.

Only 20 cities at a time - deeper analysis only by request
You can only look at the city data of 20 cities at a time. If you are interested to make a deeper analysis you can ask the administrator by sending a mail with the form below. You will receive a reply within a week. However, requests from EPOMM member states are treated preferentially.

Cities should upload and control data themselves
Ultimately, EPOMM would prefer that each city takes responsibility for their modal split data and uploads and controls the data themselves. However, TEMS has only started in May 2011 and is not yet well known. Therefore EPOMM-PLUS and its partners in most European countries have taken the initiative to collect the city data - and therefore also show up as contact persons.

Next stages: Expanding the database

We find that this tool gives considerable food for thought, as well as valuable information for planners and policy makers, and we hope you will have a close look and communicate your reactions either to our readers and directly to the EPOMM team.

1. Within Europe

This process is ongoing and well in hand by the EPOMM team and their European partners. Since new data is being entered regularly, we propose that you drop in from time to time to the project homepage at to check out their progress.

2. World Wide coverage:

Everything is in place to get started with this now. So one you have made your decision to get both the latest and some of the historical data of the last years on line for the purposes on international comparison, all you need to do is take contact as below. (With please copies to so that we can follow progress. Thank you.)

Reader Comments:

You will find them just below this article and we recommend that you give them at least a quick read. They bring up some ideas and cautions that are definitely worth keeping in your sites.


EPOMM Coordinator: Karl-Heinz Posch
c/o Eurocities Square de Meeûs 1 B-1000 Brussels Belgium
Tel: +43 316 81 04 51-26 email: posch(at)fgm(dot)at EPOMM

Web administrator for TEMS: Glen Turner, glen(dot)turner(at)lept-eu(dot)org

Country administrators: You can also contact the country administrators on the EPOMM country pages

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We very much hope that this information (and inspiration) will be useful to you. If you have ideas, suggestions, corrections or observations on the date, the process, the use, this is the place to share them. Either in the Comment box here or to

Team work! Sharing! Victory!

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Eric,
    thanks again for your support.
    To readers: if you enter TEMS, you will see by how much TEMS has grown since the last announcement in October: for example cities from Spain, France, Belgium, Hungary have been added. We now have 5 non-European cities, however, the data for these came from European organisations (mostly from Sozialdata).
    As Eric said: addtions very welcome!
    Karl-Heinz Posch


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