Scope of the Model
SimCo allows to model and analyse interaction processes in networked systems which contain agents that interact with a physical infrastructure (nodes and edges of a network). Especially two governance issues can be investigated:
- Risk management: Aims at reducing undesirable external effects (e.g., pollution) or system breakdowns (e.g., congestion).
- System transformation: Political measures promoting a regime change (e.g., towards sustainable mobility).
The model may help to answer two main issues concerning these types of governance, which are the questions of the possibility of a stable base scenario and about the extent to which different modes of governance (self-coordination, soft control, strong control) affect the performance of the system.
Currently implemented actor groups are users, who move through the network (e.g., visiting nodes using different technologies) and operators monitoring and managing the system. SimCo also allows for modeling other identified actor groups which are companies, politicians and producers ultimately leading to a model of the whole system.
As seen in the SimCo class diagram, there is a social subsystem and a technological subsystem. These subsystems show interactions within and among each other and are consequently interdependent.
The social subsystem consists of agents which are the users and operators. Users do not communicate but interact through the technological subsystem, e.g., by producing overloads to which other users react. Users and operators interact only indirectly, because operators use information transmitted by the users to change parameters of the system.
The technological subsystem consists of the network (nodes, edges), technologies (e.g., car, bike) and controls that allow changing parameters. The technological components serve as means for social interaction by, e.g., providing certain information. Neighboring nodes interact through edges which contain information on adjacent nodes. Technologies allowed are determined by the properties, while their use changes the state of nodes/edges by wearing them out. Controls affect the current properties of nodes/edges or technologies (e.g., speed limit, investment in public transport).
Interactions between the subsystems are of a socio-technical nature. Users change the state parameters like occupancy rate or total toll revenue of nodes/edges, whereas the nodes/edges with their physical nature constrain the users decisions but they also provide information and pay off. Pay off can be negative or positive and includes a monetary dimension as well as other dimensions like pollution. Users also choose between technologies which in turn allow them to move faster (car) or environmentally friendly (bike). Finally controls affect users' room to manoeuvre due to interventions on nodes/edges or technologies.