The IEA Mobility Model

A comprehensive transport modelling tool aimed at improving the analysis of all the aspects of mobility

The IEA Mobility Model (MoMo) is a comprehensive transport modelling tool aimed at improving the analysis of all the aspects of mobility, building on:

  • Gathering of accurate data on the current and historical conditions of the transport sector;
  • Coherent use of the information collected;
  • Characterisation and inclusion of a wide range of transportation technologies and practices.

Key outcomes of the modelling activity include a better understanding of the role of different transport modes with respect to energy consumption, emission of greenhouse gases, emission of pollutants, utilisation of materials and their requirements for vehicle production and fuel supply.

The IEA MoMo is the main tool used for the definition of transport scenarios in the IEA. In particular, the IEA MoMo database feeds into the Word Energy Model.

MoMo is also an essential tool for IEA contributions to:

  • the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI), where the IEA is a founding stakeholder;
  • the Electric Vehicle Initiative (EVI) of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), where the IEA acts as the Coordinator of the initiative, and in particular in developing the scenarios of the Global EV Outlook series;
  • the development of specific publication of the Future of series, including the Future of Trucks report released in July 2017, and the Future of Rail report released in January 2019, in cooperation with the International Union of Railways (UIC).

In turn, MoMo benefits largely from the developments made in these areas (e.g. for the benchmarking of fuel economies, from GFEI; from information on the market uptake of electric vehicles, the deployment of electric vehicle supply equipment, and battery cost developments, from EVI; and for the update of its rail transport data, from UITP, ITDP, and UIC).

MoMo also benefits from the links between the IEA Secretariat and the IEA Energy Technology Network, given that all the MoMo developers have a role as Desk Officers for the transport-related IEA Technology Collaboration Partnerships (Bioenergy, Advanced Fuel Cells, Advanced Motor Fuels, Advanced Transport Materials, Emissions reduction in Combustion, and Hybrid and Electric Vehicles).

The IEA MoMo is maintained in an Excel format that can be used with a menu-driven interface or in a more detailed fashion.

The MoMo model has two main components:

  • A model used for the elaboration of future projections (scenarios);
  • A database updated every year to link activity data with energy demand.

The model covers historical data and projections in 5-year increments to 2100, for all world regions (divided into 32 regions and including 20 individual countries: including most G20 countries, plus Chile, Colombia, and Israel). Since 2015, projections for urban and non-urban transport are elaborated separately.

The model allows comparisons of multiple scenarios on the basis of various hypotheses defined by the user. Key drivers include Gross Domestic Product (GDP), population growth, vehicle technology characteristics affecting costs and fuel economies, fuel costs, the evolution of travel per vehicle (or the elasticities of travel with respect to fuel prices and personal income), structural aspects underpinning modal choices for passenger transport (e.g. driven by fuel taxation, vehicle taxation, road pricing/congestion charging access restrictions, investments in public transport services and quality characteristics) vehicle and fuel market shares, and other factors.

It is an ideal tool for back-casting analysis (e.g. to identify how to reach specific targets), and especially to understand the changes required in transport for scenarios aimed at the reduction of GHGs. The model is suitable for handling regional and global issues, but it its use in the Agency is primarily aimed at the development of global results for the IEA scenarios.

The structure of the IEA MoMo is based on the "ASIF" framework, making use of the Activity (passenger or freight travel, including vehicle travel and load factors), Structure (modal split), and energy Intensity (fuel consumption per unit km of vehicles, combined with load factors) to evaluate the total Fuel use and the other modelling outputs.

The model contains a large amount of information (data) on technologies and fuel pathways, including a full evaluation of the life cycle GHG emissions for all major fuel options including Coal-to-Liquids, Gas-to-Liquids, conventional biofuels, advanced biofuels – including Biomass-to-Liquids – and several hydrogen production pathways.

The model also assesses developments on road vehicle technologies and fuels. Cost estimates are designed to account for the effect of technology learning, which is fully incorporated in the modules dealing with light duty road vehicles, medium and heavy trucks.

Each region is characterised on the basis of information that includes, for each road transport mode, the vehicle stock, the average vehicle travel, average load factors and fuel efficiency.

The database allows linking historical data on several interconnected variables, trying to assure internal consistency across indicators, according to the ASIF framework. The parameters monitored include including sales/new registrations of vehicles, second hand imports, survival ages, stock, mileages, vehicle activity (vkm), loads/occupancy rates, passenger and freight activity (pkm and tkm), fuel economies and energy use (based on the IEA data on energy demand by country).

Details vary across modes: light-duty vehicles, medium- and heavy-duty trucks are addressed with more accuracy, integrating information on new vehicles registered and imported used vehicles, including their contribution to the evolution of all the parameters associated with the vehicle stock characterisation over time.

Urban and non-urban indicators are developed from country level databases, allocating historical data on the basis of urbanization rates and mode-specific considerations on vehicle speed, usage times, and performance characteristics in urban vs. non-urban environments, extracted from city-level datasets (e.g. the UITP Mobility in Cities databases, the ITDP rapid transit database) and other sources of information.

The MoMo stakeholders have access to regular updates and developments of the Mobility Model and the databases that the Agency has developed to feed it. To date, the collaboration developed around the Mobility Model worked effectively to foster a dialogue on matters relevant for transport (e.g. vehicle technologies), energy (e.g. fuel characteristics), the environment and climate change (e.g. well-to-wheel GHG emission factors), favouring the exchange of ideas and information and allowing the IEA to strengthen its knowledge base for its analysis and research.

The participation in the Mobility Model has also been instrumental to involve MoMo stakeholders in other activities of the IEA Secretariat.

Access to MoMo

An update of the Mobility Model is delivered in correspondence of key data updates or key model developments, typically related to major transport-related publications to a password-protected IEA webpage, where it can be downloaded by each of the MoMo stakeholders.

MoMo includes:

  • Historical data files: For road transport, annual time series of sales, stock, fuel economy, mileage for road modes by vehicle type is available for 33 countries and as 8 regional files for the remaining countries.
  • Modules to perform long term projections: All modules that have been used to perform long-term projections are shared with the MoMo stakeholders. Modal, infrastructure, modal shift, fuel, costs modules are all part of the biannual delivery. 
  • IEA scenarios: Detailed information behind the scenarios developed for the IEA publications such as the Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) series are available as base cases. The main scenarios are also often calibrated to key projections of the World Energy Outlook (WEO).

Participation in MoMo meetings

MoMo stakeholders are invited to an annual MoMo stakeholder/steering meeting, usually held in December at the IEA headquarters in Paris. Two other virtual meetings are also held in March and September via webinars.

During the annual meeting in Paris, the MoMo team presents the latest model improvements achieved during the year and plans for the coming years. Presentations of recent transport-related IEA publications are also given to trigger exchanges with the MoMo stakeholders on the IEA work dissemination and messages.

MoMo stakeholders are invited to debate about the work done and the publications released, and to provide input for the work plan in coming years. For MoMo stakeholders unable to attend the December meeting in person, attendance through webinar is also possible.

Support for using MoMo is also provided by the IEA. MoMo-training sessions by IEA staff can be organized at convenient location and times for new members. On-line requests via email are also addressed rapidly by the IEA MoMo team, and can lead to a webinar to better explain how to use and fully exploit the model capabilities.

Review of IEA work

MoMo stakeholders have a privileged relationship with the IEA Secretariat. Interested MoMo stakeholders can review and comment on IEA transport publications (past examples include the Global EV Outlook series and the reports on The Future of Trucks and The Future of Rail). The reports developed as part of the Tracking Clean Energy Progress framework are also part of the publications to which a MoMo stakeholder’s input is highly appreciated.