Virtual reality simulation game approach to investigate transport adaptive capacity for peak oil planning

Montira Watcharasukarn, Shannon Page, Susan Krumdieck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The peak and decline of world oil production is an emerging issue for transportation and urban planners. Peak oil from an energy perspective means that there will be progressively less fuel. Our work treats changes in oil supply as a risk to transport activity systems. A virtual reality survey method, based on the sim game concept, has been developed to audit the participant's normal weekly travel activity, and to explore participant's travel adaptive capacity. The travel adaptive capacity assessment (TACA) Sim survey uses avatars, Google Map™, 2D scenes, interactive screens and feedback scores. Travel adaptive capacity is proposed as a measure of long-range resilience of activity systems to fuel supply decline. Mode adaptive potential is proposed as an indicator of the future demand growth for less energy intensive travel. Both adaptation indicators can be used for peak oil vulnerability assessment. A case study was conducted involving 90 participants in Christchurch New Zealand. All of the participants were students, general staff or academics at the University of Canterbury. The adaptive capacity was assessed by both simulated extreme fuel price shock and by asking, " do you have an alternative mode?" without price pressure. The travel adaptive capacity in number of kilometers was 75% under a 5-fold fuel price increase. The mode adaptive potential was 33% cycling, 21% walking and 22% bus. Academics had adaptive capacity of only 1-5% of trips by canceling or carrying out their activity from home compared to 10-18% for students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-367
Number of pages20
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Peak oil
  • Risk
  • Travel adaptive capacity
  • Travel survey
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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