NISMOD for long-term infrastructure planning in the UK
Integrating models of infrastructure systems (transport, energy, water, waste and telecommunications) allows us to run the same assumptions through each system as scenarios, and to test policies and strategies for how they might perform into the future.
Changes in one system affects others. For example, as electric vehicles are adopted, there would be changing demand for electricity and an effect on the electricity supply network. All this happens in the context of further assumptions about how changing population, behaviour and economy would affect wider patterns of travel and energy use. In the end we measure performance according to specific metrics: carbon emissions, congestion, reliability, system costs and so on.
Find out more about the development of NISMOD 1 and the current version, NISMOD 2, below.
NISMOD 1, the first major version of NISMOD, was developed between 2010-2015. It simulates interdependent infrastructure systems in Great Britain and allows the assessment of national cross-sectoral strategies for infrastructure provision based upon a multi-dimensional performance metrics, including costs of service, carbon intensity and security of supply.
It was used to assess Infrastructure UK’s National Infrastructure Pipeline in 2015, and in testing scenarios for the UK National Infrastructure Commission’s National Infrastructure Assessment in 2017. The two core components are NISMOD-LP (NISMOD for Long-term Planning) and NISMOD-DB (NISMOD Database).
NISMOD for Long-term Planning
NISMOD-LP consists of engineering-based simulation models of energy, transport, water, waste water and waste. Links between the sectors are included through cross-sectoral demand for services, for example energy generation requires water, waste water treatment requires energy.
NISMOD-DB stores all model inputs and outputs and enables model communication, post-processing and reporting of results. NISMOD-DB combines hundreds of data layers on Great Britain’s infrastructure systems within a spatial database framework. It is a scenario and output repository for the NISMOD 1 models, and includes innovative algorithms for the identification and synthesis of national scale infrastructure networks from incomplete and unstructured maps.
NISMOD 2, the second major version of NISMOD, has been in development since 2016, increasing the spatial and temporal resolution of the simulation models, enabling analysis to cut across local to national scales. It simulates infrastructure systems under future scenarios of change, testing the effects of future strategies, at a level of detail that explicitly represents infrastructure networks (water supply, electricity transmission, major roads, railways, fixed and mobile telecoms) and local variation in built environment, demographics and the economy.
It was used to assess the sustainability of infrastructure and housing development in the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Arc in 2019, and in 2020 to inform pathways to decarbonisation for England’s Economic Heartland, the sub-national transport body for the region between Swindon, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire.
The core components are smif (the Python Simulation Modelling Integration Framework), and the independently-released infrastructure systems simulation and scenario-generation models: HIRE energy demand model, CGEN+ energy supply model, NISMOD Transport model, WREW water supply model, CDCAM telecommunications model, SIMIM population migration model, UDM urban development model and Natural Capital Mapping analytical tools.
University of Oxford
University of Southampton
University of Newcastle
University of Leeds
University of Cambridge
England’s Economic Heartland
Northamptonshire Strategic Infrastructure Plan
Arc Leaders’ Group
Oxfordshire County Council
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