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Urban and Transportation Policy: Guiding Urban Transformation from Industrial to Digital Age

Urban and Transportation Policy: Guiding Urban Transformation from Industrial to Digital Age

Research Adviser
Vicente Guallart

Head of the HSE International Laboratory for the Experimental Urban Design, Professor at the Institute for Advance Architecture of Catalonia

Alexei Novikov

Candidate of Sciences in Geography, Professor, Dean of the HSE Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism

Strategic Academic Unit Structure and System

Strategic Academic Unit Urban and Transportation policy: Guiding Urban Transformation from Industrial to Digital Age belongs to the second type of HSE Strategic Academic Units.

Management Committee (Heads of Key Units)


Mikhail Blinkin

Director of the Institute for Transport Economics and Transport Policy Studies

Alexei Novikov

Dean of the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism

Anton Gorodnichev

Expert of the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism

Vera Leonova

Deputy Dean of the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism

Konstantin Trofimenko

Director of the Transport Problems of Megalopolises Research Center, Institute for Transport Economics and Transport Policy Studies

Anton Vorobyev

Research Fellow of the Centre for Transport Economics, Institute for Transport Economics and Transport Policy Studies

International Advisory Council:


To create an internationally recognized hub of urban research and education focused on global market, including Russia and CIS. Strategic Academic Unit becomes one of the global centers for experimental research-based urbanism and transport planning that re-formulates urban planning and governance for the digital age and helps urban governments across Russia and other countries to ensure smooth transformation of their urban planning and governance institutions.

Main Objectives

  • Develop globally recognized unique research and educational center for Experimental Urbanism, promoting new type of research-based urban planning profession that makes economists, architects, developers and urban planners speak to each other in common professional language, no matter who they work for;
  • Develop an international center for Advocacy Planning to design institutions for conflict resolutions caused by urban planning initiatives and various development and transportation projects. Promote concept of adaptable city through state-of-the-art institutional design of flexible governance and lean planning to find a proper link between urban “hard” (built environment) and “soft” (urban society) in the current dynamic of urban landscape;
  • Become a member of international network of centers for experimental urbanism through international Master's programs City and Technologies and Transportation Planning, International Laboratory for Experimental Urban Design, and professional journal 'Urban Studies and Practices';
  • Launch international Master’s programs in City and Technologies and Advanced Urban Design to promote new research approach in urban and transport planning, design and management. These programs will also facilitate research in supporting urban planning, adaptive city and technology-based city environment;
  • Launch a new international Master’s program in Urban Studies, City and Transport Planning in cooperation with the Moscow Institute of Architecture, Moscow School of Architecture and other field-specific international universities in order to set new professional standards for Master’s programs in Urban Planning and Urban Studies;
  • Establishment of an international laboratory of comparative analysis of the urban transport systems development, which will deal with the exploration and description of regularities in the processes of urban transport systems development of different social economic formations, drawing up the realistic forecasts of its development and efficient adaptation of the best practices.

Main Anticipated Deliverables

  • Strategic Academic Unit becomes an internationally recognized hub for urban education, research and prototyping. Russia/Northern Eurasia urban experience (in architecture, urban planning, etc.), transformation and planning technology will become known worldwide through research and activities, and will be used as benchmark for developing and emerging economies;
  • Strategic Academic Unit launches an international journal “Urban Studies and Practices” that becomes an international urban research communication point on experimental urbanism;
  • Strategic Academic Unit will develop a master program on “Citiy and Technologies” (foreign students > 60%) aimed to be one of the leading educational enterprises for urban transformation policies in the digital age. Internationally recognized diploma will be conferred in cooperation with IaaC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia), and potentially with other European Universities;
  • Strategic Academic Unit will be a hub in the global network of experimental urbanism such as MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, USA), ETH (Zurich, Switzerland), IaaC (Barcelona, Spain), City Catapult (London, UK), Institute for Urban Design (Schenschen, China), CUSP (NYU, New York, USA) and the others;
  • Through its Laboratory of Advocacy Planning, Strategic Academic Unit will become a center for Advocacy and Lean Planning expertise and will train transformational urban planners for the Russian and international urban governance professional markets (up to 100 per annum;
  • Strategic Academic Unit will serve as an advisory centre in urban development and transport policy for federal, regional and municipal authorities in Russia;
  • HSE international academic reputation will be confirmed by entering the Top 100 in QS World University Rankings for Social Sciences & Management and the Top 100 in QS World University Rankings for Development Studies.

Key Subdivisions and Associated Units


Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism

    • International Laboratory for Experimental Urban Design (to be opened in 2016)
    • Laboratory for Spatial Data Analysis
    • Laboratory for Urban Anthropology and Sociology
    • Laboratory for Advocacy Planning

Institute for Transportation Economics and Transportation Policy Studies

  • Centre for Transport Economics
  • Centre for Research of Urban Transport Problems
  • Centre for Transport Modelling
  • Centre for Infrastructure Projects

Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism is only 5 years old but it has already demonstrated a number of achievements:

  • It has been selected twice as a Program Directorate for the International Moscow Urban Forum (2015, 2016);
  • It started International Summer School (2015) on Adaptable Cities;
  • It started a series of weekly master classes on Urban Data;
  • It has launched International Laboratory on Experimental Urban Design under the leadership of world famous architect Vicente Guallart;
  • It has developed two Master’s programs in English ready for launching in 2016 and 2017.

ITE&TPS has been working on following flagship projects:

  • “Strategy 2020”: creating the development plan for national transportation system;
  • “The strategy of Moscow socio-economic development to 2025”: prepared the transportation chapter of program;
  • Consulting and development: “Avtodor” company: audit of public private partnership, creation of the strategy;
  • Consulting: The Moscow city government; analytical support of transport policy and activities of the Department of Transportation; ITE&TPS is a member of jury international competition of Moscow metropolitan area concept;
  • Research “Russian Travel Survey”: a joint project ITE&TPS and Institute of Sociology of Russian Academy of Sciences.
  • “Skolkovo”: ITE&TPS is a member of Skolkovo town-planning council.


 Grant proposal (PDF, 801 Kb)

 Roadmap (DOCX, 77 Kb)

Key Educational Programs and Their Development

Master's program «Governance of the urban spatial development» (in Russian)

  • The program is structured for urban planners and urban researchers who potentially can work with modern urban agenda no matter where they are employed (government, development and real estate business, academia). Sixty seven students are currently pursuing this program, and three of them are international. Academic Supervisor: Vitaly Stadnikov, PhD;
  • Key Russian partners: MARCHI (Moscow Architectural Institute), Strelka Institute of Media and Design, MARSH, Institute for the General Plan of the City of Moscow - joint professional activities, exchange of students and professors, joint master programs;
  • Key overseas partners: Institute for Advance Architecture of Catalonia (FabLab network); L’Ecole d’Urbanism de Paris (Student and Professor Exchange); State University of Miami (FabLab network);
  • The program aims to provide fundamental training to professionals in urban planning, urban governance and urban research.

Master's program 'Advanced Urban Design' (in English)

  • The program has been launched in September, 2016;
  • Academic Supervisor: Alexei Novikov, PhD.
  • The program is structured for urban planners, urban design specialists and researchers capable of conducting research-based design practices.
  • Key Russian partners: Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design – joint master program.
  • International professors from European and American universities will deliver some program courses. This is an experimental program for professionals in urban planning and design, and its key objective is to introduce research-based design to the urban planners. Program curriculum includes workshop series featuring international experts in urban planning, which is a new method of teaching in this field. The program will support Strategic Academic Unit’s research projects in experimental urbanism, including post-city studies, development of instruments and institutes in supporting urban planning. Part of the program is focused on critical planning, which is an integral part of advocacy planning (one of the Strategic Academic Unit’s research projects).

New Master’s program 'City and Technologies'

  • The program is scheduled for launching in 2017. The program will be supervised by Vicente Guallart, professor at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and the head of HSE International Laboratory for the Experimental Urban Design. The program is tailored for urban planners and urban researchers. This will be a joint program with the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, and its graduates will receive international degree certificates. The list of key partners also includes the Moscow Institute of Architecture, Strelka Institute of Media and Design, Moscow School of Architecture, Institute for the General Plan of the City of Moscow and Miami University.
  • This fundamental program equips the professionals in urban planning, urban studies and urban management with new planning tools and new research ideology based on up-to-date approaches to city environment and urban society. The program will support the research projects of the HSE International Laboratory for the Experimental Urban Design, which will in its turn serve as the testing ground for new ideas and prototypes.

New Master’s program 'Transportation planning'

  • The Master program “Transportation planning” is the first in Russia, fully compliant with the modern world concepts and practices in this field. The main target audience of the program are the state and municipal employees of federal and regional executive authorities, local self-government bodies responsible for the development of regional and urban transport systems, staff of specialized research and design institutes, developers, consulting companies and public organizations.
  • The program incldes a series of traditional courses digests, updated with the latest world practices (transport economics, road design and engineering structures, design of urban electric transport systems, maintenance of road and urban transport, exploitation of private and public passenger transport, traffic management and etc.) This assumes the systemic linkage of these elements with a focus on such points as the analysis of transport tbehaviour, the use of instruments of traffic modelling, demand management, road pricing, sustainable mobility and etc.

Key Research Projects and Their Development

With regards to its project activities, Strategic Academic Unit is aiming to create an international educational and research hub on urban studies, experimental urbanism, advocacy planning and adaptable urban governance, institutional economy, transportation & traffic engineering, road pricing, math modelling of urban movements and traffic flows, big data analyses for the development of urban planning and transportation systems compatible with the ideology of “Digital Age Urbanism and Transportation» or “Mobility 4.0”.

Key research projects:

Experimental Urban Design

The project is carried out by the International Laboratory for the Experimental Urban Design under the leadership of Guallart Vicente.

Strategic plans for cities and sites related to Self-sufficient Cities, Ecological Urbanism, Mobility and overall Urban Transformation will be developed. All these studies should be oriented to define a long-term plan, a strategic one, structured in order to facilitate the short-term small projects and concrete urban transformations. In this case, Strategic Academic Unit could operate to help urban governments in the organization of competitions and other types of engagement into city development.

The other areas of research include technological plans for the development of information communication technologies (ICT) in cities; general plans for cities and regions, in collaboration with local and international organizations. In this case the studies will aim to define a long term strategic vision for the implementation of information technologies in the different fields of urban transformation and their regional impact. The latter represents a crucial factor in the extensive territory of Russia and other emerging markets.

Prototype projects, concentrated around the borderline between research and urban transformation policies, will be implemented. The prototypes will serve as testbed for a broader implementation of such projects in the cities world-wide. Prototype projects could stem from the work developed both by students and researchers. From this point of view, the ability of the Strategic Academic Unit to produce real short-term outcome in Moscow, Russia and other countries will be crucial.

Advocacy planning

The project has been developed by the Laboratory for Advocacy Planning and will be continued in collaboration with the Center for Adoptable Urban Governance. Project head - Pavel Akimov.

The project’s goal is to create a public advocacy planning practice, which could support urban conflicts resolution and represent various stakeholders in the urban planning process.

For the moment advocacy planning is not a common practice yet. Some elements of it such as fairness and equality evaluation of urban projects do exist in some countries, but still need to be reinforced by reputable professional practice institutionalized in a way similar to regular civil advocacy.

Strategic Academic Unit has been developing a framework of advocacy planning with the idea to create a competitive environment for planning expertise and decision-making that supports public planning debates.

Along with advocacy planning ideology, Strategic Academic Unit is developing a system of adoptable urban governance practices that are based on multi-jurisdictional conventions among those urban jurisdictions that aim to resolve some common issues (planning, garbage collection and disposal, tariff setting, social protection of population, etc.)

Modelling Transportation Flows

Project head: Pavel Kozlov, chief expert of Centre for Transport Modelling.

Project focus: Implementation of a research programme “Creating New Generation of Transport Models, Capable of Working with New Data Formats”.

Summary: Software registration - an integrated computer transport modelling system, capable of working with new data formats such as mobile network operators, “Smart City” systems, etc.

Strategic Academic Unit is one of the world leaders in transportation flow modelling. The unique set of simulation instruments allowing to cope with multi-modal effects and other non-trivial side factors caused by growth and dissipation of traffic jams in critical nodes of the traffic system has been created here on the basis of standard programming complex AIMSUN.

It has been tested in such large-scale project as transportation flow plan for 2018 International Football Cup.

The project is supported by our applied mathematics and computer science colleagues who are helping with the development of new design concepts for “large” transportation models for megacities.

The ideology of the simulation software such as (CUBE, EMME/3, PTV VISSUM, AIMSUN, TRANSCAD, TRANSNET) becomes outdated in the current environment that is now filled with valuable real-time high-precision data. The purpose of the project is to create a new generation of transportation models capable to work with new types of datasets. This will allow to reduce the scope of over-simplified assumptions down to minimal level, and increase the precision of the models output.

The comparative analysis of urban transport systems development

Project head: Konstantin Trofimenko, Director of the Centre for Research of Urban Transport Problems.

Project focus: Identifying the patterns of development of urban transport systems coupled with related socio-economic changes.

Summary: the project is based on the hypothesis that there are objective laws of development for urban transportation systems and those laws are directly related to socio-economic conditions of the people who live there. If the laws and patterns are sufficiently studied, then it is possible to project the development of transportation systems in the cities based on related socio-economic forecasts. The project consists of several components (sub-programmes).

The aim of the project is to create the preconditions to discover the regularities of urban transport systems development and further use of these regularities in planning and forecasting activity.

The first project in this series is planned the complimentary research of transport systems development in post-communist cities on the basis of a comparison of cities of the former GDR, the former Czechoslovakia and the former Soviet Union in 1990-2020. The project involves the collection and reconstruction of transport statistics, its comparison with the simultaneously changed socio-economic processes (and their characteristics), political and institutional processes, the evolution of citizen behavior, transport planning and urban planning practices, new technologies, including IT and data collection methods.

In future it is expected to expand the scope of research to the cities, developing in other socio-economic conditions for more comprehensive data on regularities of urban transport systems development in order to improve the efficiency of their planning.

Strategic Academic Unit is a Russian leader in generating the road pricing ideas, including electronic road pricing.

One of the practical implementations was the introduction of toll parking regime in Moscow, preparatory work for congestion charge policy in Kazan, and others.

Strategic Academic Unit is also developing a new road pricing system, known as “Pay-as-You-Go Tax”. This trendy system is expected to be implemented in many countries of the world as it allows introduction of road pricing per 1 km no matter where cars are going. It also assumes differentiation of tariffs across categories of cars, roads, users, etc., making the whole system agile and adaptable.

The academic challenge of the project is to find a balanced tariff network compatible with so called “Wardrop's Second Principle”,  assuming a system (social) optimum. Further update of the legal framework is also required.

Under this project two sub-programmes are functioning:

1. "Analysis of the Stability of Urban Transportation Systems at Full Capacity through Stress Tests Induced by “Mega-Sporting Events”".

Summary: projection (a plan for transport management) and an a posteriori analysis of that projection, including the results of transformation of the urban environment and transportation systems with FIFA 2018 World Cup events in Volgograd and Kaliningrad in mind . 

In 2016, as part of the implementation of existing contracts on execution of works on the development of operational transport master plan for FIFA 2018 World Cup in host cities - Kaliningrad and Volgograd - the STRA-U team has made updated of transportation management plans in these cities.


2. “Modelling the citizen's transport behaviour”:

Summary: defining the laws of the population’s transport behaviour based on socio-economic and planning factors; investigating how this behaviour responds to transportation policies and measures aimed at developing transportation infrastructure.

In 2016 Muleev E., research fellow of the Centre for Infrastructure projects has carried out an individual research project "Organization of public transport in Russian cities: a sociologial view" (project number 116-02-0004).

In 2016 the Institute for Transport Economics and Transport Policy Studies team has finished the work on the book "Transport Systems of Russian Cities. Ongoing Transformations" which has been published at Springer AG.

In 2017 the Research Team Project group "The study of urban transport and the effects of Moscow Central Ring launch" led by M.Blinkin started the work on the project entitled "Moscow central ring: an assessment of transport and city-planning effects".


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