Meet Dries Bourgeois, our Expert in Mobility Modeling!

01 Jul 2022

Keeping an overview, testing all possible scenarios, reducing the risk of failure and costs. These are the advantages of mobility modelling! Dries will tell us about his work at Tractebel as a mobility modelling expert.

City modelling allows urban planners to test urban mobility scenarios in a very realistic virtual environment.

How can we reduce traffic on this major axis during rush hours? How can we improve public transport? Cities are faced with hundreds of important mobility questions and decisions.
These numerical simulations are used to answer these questions in an ultra-realistic environment by modelling transport infrastructures, evaluating development policies and testing all possible scenarios. This method reduces the risk of real-world failures in making the right decisions, reduces costs and keeps the big picture in view.

Lets meet Dries, our expert in Mobility Modeling.

Dries, what brought you to Tractebel and what exactly do you do?

I first heard about Tractebel thanks to my supervisors at KU Leuven who worked at Tractebel too. For my thesis, I worked with VISSIM, the microsimulation program in which we simulate traffic. My supervisor was satisfied with my work, and informed me there was an open position at Tractebel as modelling consultant: I applied and was accepted! This was 6 years ago.

I am now an expert mobility modelling. In other words, I simulate the traffic and the infrastructure around it to see whether some solutions could be found to improve the traffic flow. These optimizations are then discussed with the architects in terms of feasibility and desirability to arrive with a workable solution. Traffic light control system may also need to be adapted to the new structure of the poles and loops.

In addition, I also take care of all kinds of optimizations and automations of tools and processes to improve the efficiency and speed when performing certain tasks.

What gets you more excited about coming to work?

I like finding solutions to very difficult intersections! Making simulations is quite fun and challenging.
The nice thing about my job is that I am involved in many different projects, often in a multi-disciplinary team. This ensures a lot of variation and sufficient challenges.
Since I have been working here since 6 years, it is very satisfying of seeing several projects being built and to get experience from each of them.

Are there any challenging parts?

Every project is in fact a challenge: Finding solutions with the least amount of infrastructure possible to guarantee a good flow of public transport, no saturation of vehicles, limited waiting time for slow traffic and which is safe for all modes, is a challenge which comes up again and again in every project. Combining this with the spatial vision is not always easy.

Meeting and responding to every objectives of a project is also sometimes a bit challenging since for a single project there can be various partners with who we work. Partners, who have different objectives.  

Is there a specific project you’d like to talk us about? 

One project I am particularly proud of is the Sint-Annalaan we made for Brabantnet's ring tram bus. As the width of the road did not allow a bus lane for both directions, we used a special principle here where bus lines have a different light control traffic than car: they are given a separate green light from the cars in order to get a head start from their bus lane towards the road.

I had to simulate this to see if this principle was possible without creating traffic jams. After that, I had to make up the traffic light controls that are now running on the field with the adjusted infrastructure. This was one of the first projects where we went from simulation to design on site with the corresponding traffic light plan. 

What are your goals for the future?

I really see myself continue working in that field and keeping developing myself, optimize solutions wherever possible, work on challenging projects…
You never stop growing as an engineer: you learn from the projects and your colleagues, you evolve with the new solutions and technologies, it is a fascinating job.

Curious about engineering or other careers at Tractebel? Click here to see our current job openings.

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