166 research outputs found

    The impact of global environmental change on transport in Malta

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    This study addresses the impact of global environmental change, speci fically on transport in the Maltese Islands, with special attention to the economic implications of changes on: (i) employment, (ii) product or service growth/decline, (iii) capital investment, (iv) competitiveness and (v) skills/educational development and upgrade. Geographic and economic data from secondary sources are used to support the study. The paper addresses the concerns of environmental change on the islands of Malta and attempts to map the extent of potential damage to the islands' transport system, namely the impact of sea level rise and extreme weather events. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to build a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the islands and simulate the eff ects on the road network, maritime installations and air transport infrastructures that are critical for Malta's economy and sustainability. The paper also describes the implications of such impacts. Results show that a significant share of the islands' infrastructure could be heavily damaged and the trans- port systems easily disrupted from predicted impacts of global environment change. The paper concludes with a call for the adoption of sustainable transport measures which address not only mitigation but also adaptation to global environmental change.peer-reviewe

    The role of public transport in addressing sustainable mobility for the elderly population in Malta

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    Over the past few years, several countries have continued experiencing a growth in their elderly population. Similarly, a number of towns and villages in Malta registered a high elderly population in the last census (NSO, 2012). The elderly people are one of the dominant ‘transport disadvantaged’ groups in the community. This research aims to analyse whether the current public transport system in Malta is providing effective and efficient mobility for elderly in the town of Luqa. In order to analyse this, the study analysed spatial accessibility, sought to identify barriers encountered by the elderly when using public transport and determine temporal accessibility to medical care. Data was collected using telephone surveys, travel time and bus frequency surveys. Statistical analysis was carried out using IBM SPSS 20 and Geographic Information Systems. The study showed that proximity to bus stops in Luqa does not affect public transport use amongst the elderly. The main barriers that elderly encounter when using public transport are mainly related to long waiting times, lack of comfort on bus stops and inaccessible travel information. Finally, temporal accessibility from Luqa to the State’s general hospital, Mater Dei, still requires improvements as it does not meet the desired time budgets of elderly people. By identifying the main concerns this study seeks to encourage policy makers and planners to target future development in public transport taking into consideration the requirements of the growing elderly population.peer-reviewe

    To drive or to use the bus? An Exploratory Study of Older People in Malta

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    The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.Older adults are becoming a larger portion of the world’s population, and as a result, more attention is being given to their mobility and travel behaviour. Such studies are however lacking in certain contexts like in Malta, an island state in the Mediterranean Sea. Malta is facing a concurrent high population density, high motorisation rate and an ageing population. Nevertheless, older people’s mobility is not adequately considered in transport policy. The aim of this paper is to have an exploratory understanding of mode choice in later life in Malta, and understand the key determinants that affect older people’s decision to drive or to use the bus. Using descriptive statistics and two regression models, this paper shows how in Malta older males drive significantly more than females, and the latter use more public transport. As age increases, the percentage of drivers declines for both genders. On the other hand, whilst for females public transport use also declined with age, the pattern of usage amongst males fluctuated. The data also showed that public transport was mostly used by non-driving older people who could potentially be captive bus users. The determinants that predicted whether older people drove or not were (i) gender, (ii) age, (iii) their occupation status, and (iv) the presence of an assistive device. The significant predictors for older people’s public transport use were (i) the number of cars available in the household, (ii) age, (iii) the district where they lived, (iv) their occupation status, (v) their participation in social activities and (vi) the presence of personal assistance. The two models revealed different predictors for mode choice however there were also several similarities. The paper concludes with a discussion, highlighting the importance and relevance of the results to transport policy-makers. It also provides suggestions for further research to examine older people’s mobility and travel behaviour

    Thematic networks as toolboxes : the case of the HERODOT Network for Geography in Europe

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    In some countries, Geography is struggling to survive as a subject as other disciplines develop and absorb geographical thoughts and methods into them. The survival of Geography in schools and higher education institutions is critical to the understanding of world phenomena, particularly in view of the problems with climate change, global warming and globalisation among others. There is very little understanding of the importance and role of geography in modern societies. This paper looks at the role of the HERODOT thematic network as a toolbox for the promotion of geography. By analysing the current state of geography promotion across higher education institutions, the Network aims to provide a toolbox of materials to support teachers and academics, but also parents, students and the general public to understand the role of geography in society. This is achieved through a number of initiatives, particularly the development of the GEOCUBE. This paper concludes by arguing the importance of such Networks in providing tools for the promotion and awareness of geography.En alguns països, la geografia està lluitant per sobreviure com a matèria, atès que hi ha unes altres disciplines que en desenvolupen els continguts i els mètodes i els absorbeixen. La supervivència de la geografia a les escoles i a les institucions d'educació superior és primordial per comprendre els fenòmens mundials, particularment els relacionats amb el canvi climàtic, l'escalfament global i la globalització, entre altres. Hi ha molt poc coneixement de la importància i del rol de la geografia a les societats modernes. Aquest article tracta el rol de la xarxa temàtica HERODOT com a font de recursos per promocionar la geografia. Amb l'anàlisi de l'estat actual de la promoció d'aquesta disciplina a les institucions d'ensenyament superior, la xarxa té per objectiu proveir un conjunt de materials per ajudar el professorat i els acadèmics i les acadèmiques, però també els pares i les mares, l'alumnat i el públic en general, a fi de fer-los comprendre el rol de la geografia a la societat. Això s'ha aconseguit mitjançant un bon nombre d'iniciatives, particularment el desenvolupament de GEOCUBE. El present article conclou amb l'argumentació del valor d'aquestes xarxes en el proveïment d'eines per promoure la geografia i conscienciar-se de la importància que té.En algunos países, la geografía está luchando por sobrevivir como materia, dado que otras disciplinas desarrollan y absorben sus contenidos y sus métodos. La supervivencia de la geografía en las escuelas y en las instituciones de educación superior es crítica para la comprensión de los fenómenos mundiales, particularmente los relacionados con el cambio climático, el calentamiento global y la globalización, entre otros. Hay muy poco conocimiento de la importancia y del rol de la geografía en las sociedades modernas. Este artículo trata el rol de la red temática HERODOT como fuente de recursos para la promoción de la geografía. Con el análisis del estado actual de la promoción de dicha disciplina en las instituciones de enseñanza superior, la red tiene por objetivo dotar un conjunto de materiales para ayudar al profesorado y a los académicos y a las académicas, pero también a los padres y a las madres, al alumnado y al público en general, con el fin de comprender el rol de la geografía en la sociedad. Esto se ha conseguido a través de un buen número de iniciativas, particularmente el desarrollo de GEOCUBE. El presente artículo concluye con la argumentación del valor de estas redes en la dotación de herramientas para la promoción de la geografía y la concienciación sobre su importancia.Dans quelques pays, la Géographie lutte pour survivre comme matière maintenant que d'autres disciplines développent et absorbent ses contenus et méthodes. La survie de la Géographie dans les écoles et dans les institutions d'éducation supérieure est critique pour la compréhension des phénomènes mondiaux, particulièrement les reliés avec le changement climatique, le réchauffement de la terre et la globalisation, entre d'autres. Il y a très peu de connaissance de l'importance et du rôle de la géographie dans les sociétés modernes. Cet article traite le rôle du réseau thématique HERODOT comme source de recours pour la promotion de la géographie. Avec l'analyse de l'état actuel de la promotion de la géographie dans les institutions d'enseignement supérieur, le réseau a pour objectif doter un ensemble de matériels pour aider le professorat et les académiciens, mais aussi les parents, les étudiants et le public en général afin de comprendre le rôle de la géographie dans la société. Ceci a été obtenu à travers un bon nombre d'initiatives, particulièrement le développement de GEOCUBE. Cet article conclut avec l'argumentation de l'importance de ces réseaux dans la dotation d'outils pour la promotion et la conscientiation de la géographie

    Computationally efficient estimation of high-dimension autoregressive models : with application to air pollution in Malta

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    The modelling and analysis of spatiotemporal behaviour is receiving wide-spread attention due to its applicability to various scientific fields such as the mapping of the electrical activity in the human brain, the spatial spread of pandemics and the diffusion of hazardous pollutants. Nevertheless, due to the complexity of the dynamics describing these systems and the vast datasets of the measurements involved, efficient computational methods are required to obtain representative mathematical descriptions of such behaviour. In this work, a computationally efficient method for the estimation of heterogeneous spatio-temporal autoregressive models is proposed and tested on a dataset of air pollutants measured over the Maltese islands. Results will highlight the computation advantages of the proposed methodology and the accuracy of the predictions obtained through the estimated model.peer-reviewe

    The Valletta travel information service

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    This is an invited summary of the Valletta Travel Information Service (VaTIS) position paper (DINGLI & ATTARD 2016). In this paper, we highlight the main concepts behind the Travel Information Service currently being deployed in Valletta, the Capital City of Malta. The VaTIS system is capable of harvesting data from an existing road pricing system using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology and beacons installed in all the streets of the city, thus creating a digital landscape of the City in which to process travel related information. The data is harvested from the various sensors via user smart phones and fed into modelling and simulation software, which is capable of predicting movement of cars around the city’s road network. The information is then used to calculate the free parking spaces around the city thus helping commuters reduce the cruising time spent searching for parking. Furthermore, users approaching the city can receive information in real-time thus providing them with invaluable information about the real state of traffic within the city which can be used to take informed decisions. They can opt to park outside the city if the parking spaces within the city walls are saturated or they can choose the entry point to the city, which will give them the highest probability of finding a parking space. The Geodesign and architecture at the heart of VaTIS is low cost thus making the same model easily replicable in other cities with minimal changes. In this paper, we will describe how the different components of VaTIS work and integrate together. We will also report on the first phase which has been running successfully for a number of years and which will be integrated with our system. Overall, the project aims to create a sustainable mobility model throughout the entire city by providing effective travel information with the help of crowd sourcing initiatives.peer-reviewe

    The Smeed Report and road pricing : the case of Valletta, Malta

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    In 1964 the Ministry of Transport in the UK published a seminal paper on Road Pricing, namely „Road Pricing: The Economic and Technical Possibilities‟ which became known as the Smeed Report, named after Reuben Smeed the Chair of the Panel on Road Pricing and who, at the time, was Head of Traffic and Safety Division within the UK Road Research Laboratory. The Report detailed seventeen requirements for a road pricing system, which were seen as either important or desirable. These requirements are as relevant today as they which have failed to advance beyond the drawing board. One scheme that has been successfully implemented recently in Malta is the Valletta road pricing scheme, referred to as the Controlled Vehicular Access (CVA) system. The aim of this paper is to compare the Valletta scheme against the requirements for a road pricing system outlined in the Smeed Report (hereinafter referred to as the Smeed Requirements), with the intention of ascertaining whether there are any lessons that can be learnt which are of benefit to those, world-wide, considering the introduction of a road pricing scheme.peer-reviewe

    The effects of road user charges in the context of weak parking policies : the case of Malta

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    Road user charging is often thought of as a first best travel demand management solution for dealing with the issue of congestion, when compared to the use of parking charges. The case for this is that parking charges are more likely to result in improvements in the situation rather than an optimal outcome. One of the reasons is that parking can be seen as a complement to vehicle travel impacting on the termination point of a journey as opposed to charging directly for the use of road space as in the case of road user charging. In saying this parking charges are used extensively as a demand management measure and there are still only a few road user charging schemes worldwide. One scheme that has moved from a parking charge to a road user charge is the Controlled Vehicular Access system in Valletta, Malta where a fixed annual charge (V-licence) for access and parking into the city was replaced by a time-based road user charge implemented in May 2007. The aim of this paper is to assess the effects of road user charging in the context of ineffective parking policies, using the case of Valletta. The paper is based on scheme documentation, semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, supplemented by personal observations of one of the authors directly involved in the process of developing and implementing the road user charging system. The research concludes that the overall impacts of the road user charge in the City were positive but more effort will have to be made to strengthen the road charging scheme and parking policy to effectively manage the travel demands of the islands’ population.peer-reviewe

    The potential of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in future transport systems

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    As transport systems are pushed to the limits in many cities, governments have tried to resolve problems of traffic and congestion by increasing capacity. Miller (2013) contends the need to identify new capabilities (instead of capacity) of the transport infrastructure in order to increase efficiency without extending the physical infrastructure. Kenyon and Lyons (2003) identified integrated traveller information as a facilitator for better transport decisions. Today, with further developments in the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and a greater disposition by the public to provide volunteered geographic information (VGI), the potential of information is not only integrated across modes but also user-generated, real-time and available on smartphones anywhere. This geographic information plays today an important role in sectors such as politics, businesses and entertainment, and presumably this would extend to transport in revealing people’s preferences for mobility and therefore be useful for decision-making. The widespread availability of networks and smartphones offer new opportunities supported by apps and crowdsourcing through social media such as the successful traffic and navigation app Waze, car sharing programmes such as Zipcar, and ride sharing systems such as Uber. This study aims to develop insights into the potential of governments to use voluntary (crowdsourced) geographic information effectively to achieve sustainable mobility. A review of the literature and existing technology informs this article. Further research into this area is identified and presented at the end of the paper.peer-reviewe
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