23 February 2021

Policy Sandbox Tool will help local governments reach mobility and energy transition

A Policy Sandbox Tool – based on two years of research, interviews, surveys and workshops – is being developed to support local governments in achieving milestones related to their local energy and mobility transitions. Moreover, the tool, which will be released in autumn 2021, will help local authorities improve decision making, particularly under conditions of uncertainty, by providing an opportunity to explore local social dynamics and gather insights into what kinds of policies could be implemented to increase citizen acceptance.

The user-friendly tool, based on the qualitative research and modelling of up to ten trailblazers in Europe, will be available to local governments interested in holistic mobility plans, renewable energy, district regeneration, superblocks, and energy efficiency.

The tool delves into what has happened and what could happen with respect to local energy and mobility transitions. The former is based on the surveys and desk research that have been conducted for each modelled case, painting a picture of the actual situation, conditions, and occurrences that have ensued over a period of time, and what this has meant for energy or mobility transition. Attention is given, for example, to key organisations that have been present, how the organisations have interacted with one another and with the wider population, what the local context has been, and what changes have taken place with regards to citizen behaviour. Considering what could happen, on the other hand, is speculative, enabling users of the tool to choose possible scenarios to explore. Users will be able to test possible policy or citizen behaviour outcomes in specific contexts, had predefined variables been different.

While this past year taught us that we cannot predict the future, the tool can nonetheless help make grounded assumptions about what could happen in particular contexts and the likelihood of these outcomes, thereby improving understanding of implications for local energy or mobility transitions. Local authorities interested in a tool that reflects their own city more closely will also have an opportunity to purchase a service package that includes desk research, interviews, surveys, and modelling based on their city.

To learn more about the tool, as well as the agent-based modelling behind it, please check out the recording of the 'Toolbox: SMARTEES - Policy Sandbox Tool for energy and mobility transitions' session, which took place at the 9th European Conference on Cities and Towns.

The tool is being developed by the SMARTEES project. For more information, click here.