Transport and Travel Demand Modelling

RAND Europe has contributed to the development and testing of new approaches in transport studies for over 25 years. The application of discrete choice models using observations of individual travel behaviour has allowed significant improvements in the quality and range of applicability of urban, regional and national (multi-modal) travel demand forecasting techniques.

RAND Europe’s transport models contain substantial detail about travellers, including detailed segmentation of traveller behaviour by person and household types. Many of these characteristics have a significant influence on travel behaviour and we therefore believe that it is essential that such influences are considered when forecasting future travel demand. Our models also contain multiple modes and purposes, and a wide range of possible behavioural responses, including explicit representation of such responses as:

  • choice of mode
  • choice of access mode, e.g. park-and-ride, and at which station
  • choice of route
  • choice of travel destination
  • choice of departure time
  • car ownership and licence holding
  • trip frequency
  • residential location
  • employer location

Considerable attention is given to the implications of excess demand in the form of congestion, and the resulting feedback to other stages in the demand formation process, e.g. time-of-day of travel, and ultimately the mode, destination and frequency of the trip.

Our model parameters are evidence-based, usually derived from local surveys. We frequently combine a range of different types of data, and are adept at developing procedures to overcome data bias during analysis.

We have extensive experience in developing demand forecasting systems from the estimated models, including development of population forecasting methods to produce the detailed population inputs required for future forecasts, methods for implementing forecast changes (referred to as pivoting), and outputting information required for appraisal using the Department for Transport's Economic Efficiency of the Transport System (TEE) or other approaches.

Current Projects

  • Would the EU Benefit from Common Liability Rules for Autonomous Vehicles?

    Researchers are exploring potential impacts of AVs on European car manufacturers, the insurance industry, connected industries and markets, and those who provide public provision of services and supervise compliance.

  • Developing a New National Transport Model for the UK

    At the request of the Department for Transport, RAND Europe and Atkins are updating the UK's national transport model using current datasets. The project team may also suggest further enhancements to improve the forecasting functionality and/or consistency of the model.

  • Updating the UK National Car Ownership Model

    The current UK car ownership model is known to over-predict car ownership in dense urban areas, particularly London. In re-estimating the UK's current car ownership models using more recent data, researchers aim to make improvements to the model specifications.

  • Developing a New Transport Model for South East Wales

    RAND Europe researchers are developing models capable of predicting levels of transport demand in South East Wales in response to a range of different policy options and in light of demographic changes.

Completed Research

  • Exploring the Future of Driving in Developing Countries

    15 Oct 2015

    The level of automobility, or travel in personal vehicles, varies among countries. By determining the factors besides economic development that have affected automobility in developed countries, researchers can predict how automobility might evolve in developing countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

  • Examining the Feasibility of Time-of-Day Tolls to Reduce Congestion

    19 Jun 2015

    To reduce traffic along a heavily congested Texas toll road, researchers used stated preference surveys and discrete choice models to understand how motorists will respond to alternative time-of-day pricing policies.

  • A Rapid Evidence Assessment of Road Traffic Demand Elasticities in the UK

    15 Jan 2015

    Researchers reviewed the literature for evidence on the key factors influencing road transport demand in the UK. Understanding how projected changes in economic and demographic trends affect future road traffic levels is important for strategic planning by policy makers in the transport sector.

  • Understanding the Factors Influencing Car Traffic Levels in Britain

    15 Jan 2015

    Researchers have undertaken a rapid evidence assessment review of peer-reviewed papers and ‘grey’ literature to provide a better understanding of the recent levelling off in total miles driven in Britain. Understanding factors behind this trend can help policymakers plan for future infrastructure needs.

  • Modelling Long-Distance Travel in Great Britain

    09 Jan 2014

    Trips longer than 50 mi account for less than one-fortieth of all trips but nearly one-third of all distance traveled within Great Britain. Because they account for a substantial proportion of total distance traveled, particularly on motorways and rail, these trips are important for transport policy and have a substantial impact on congestion. RAND Europe developed a model to ensure proper treatment of the specific properties of long-distance travel; such treatment is essential for appraising the impact of transport policy aimed at this market, such as high-speed rail, highway construction and management policies, and policies directed toward domestic air travel.

  • Extending Copenhagen's Traffic Model May Help Reduce Congestion

    20 Nov 2013

    Copenhagen sees a lot of traffic, and congestion charging policies are currently high on the political agenda. The Danish Road Directorate asked RAND Europe, TetraPlan and Significance to extend the city's existing traffic model to predict time-of-day choice for car drivers. Doing so will allow planners to assess the effectiveness of different charging policies aimed at reducing congestion levels at particular times of day.

  • Modelling Transport Demand in Sydney, Australia

    24 Jul 2013

    Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) operates the Sydney Strategic Travel Model (STM) to inform long term transport planning, policy development, and infrastructure assessment in Greater Sydney, Australia. RAND Europe has implemented new travel frequency, mode, and destination model components of the STM, and has recently further improved the commute mode-destination model. Previous work extended the model scope to include toll road choice for car drivers, and park-and-ride and kiss-and-ride access to train, and analysed and enhanced the pivoting component of the STM that helps to predict future travel patterns.

  • Developing Models to Predict Future High-Speed Rail Demand in Britain

    16 May 2013

    Within a consortium of consultancies, RAND Europe has contributed to the development of models to predict future passenger rail demand to assess the benefits of the proposed high-speed rail between London, Birmingham, Manchester and further afield. Our contribution in this work consisted of improving the quality of the travel demand models by using the best available evidence to improve the estimation of key model parameters.

  • Examining High-Speed Rail Options in Norway

    10 Dec 2012

    RAND Europe completed the third phase of a study of high-speed rail options in Norway. Analysis done as part of the earlier phases provided initial insight in to the likely levels of demand, and the new phase provided a fuller analysis of the demand on different strategic routes to inform the decisions to be taken by the Norwegian government about high-speed rail options in the country.

  • What Factors Affect the Wider Adoption of Electric Vehicles?

    22 Feb 2012

    To understand the factors affecting the wider adoption of electric vehicles, RAND Europe has sponsored a project to evaluate the barriers, as well as relevant government and public-private interventions that have been used in other countries to facilitate adoption. The project team will also conduct a survey to determine the potential uptake of electric vehicles within a municipality, using Cambridge, UK, as a case study.

  • Developing a Vision for Qatar's School Transportation System

    21 Feb 2012

    Considering the challenges associated with continued growth and demographic changes, the government of Qatar is interested in updating its school transportation system (STS). RAND Europe helped to assess the perspectives of parents and school administrators, identify a vision for the STS, and discuss strategies to achieve it. The four elements of the vision: providing safe, efficient, and high-quality transportation; enabling mobility and access; supporting Qatari values and culture; and minimizing the impact on traffic congestion and the environment.

  • How Will Migration Impact UK Transport and Congestion?

    10 Jan 2012

    The UK Migration Advisory Committee commissioned RAND Europe to collate evidence on how migration is likely to impact transport networks. Our analysis finds that migrants tend to live in metropolitan areas and make transport choices strongly in favour of public transport, walking, cycling, and car-sharing when they first arrive in the UK; over time, however, their behaviour becomes more similar to the native population. The report also provides monetised estimates of migrants’ transport impacts.

  • Modelling Demand for Long Distance Passenger Travel in Great Britain

    23 Jun 2011

    RAND Europe, in collaboration with URS/Scott Wilson, has developed models to predict demand for long-distance passenger travel in Great Britain to appraise the impact of new transport infrastructure and operation policies aimed at this market, such as high-speed rail, highway management, and policies directed towards domestic air travel. Stated preference surveys were conducted with rail, air and car travellers to enable better representation of high-speed rail in the models.

  • Do New Roads Increase Traffic?

    15 Apr 2010

    It has long been known that new roads have a more complex impact on behaviour than drivers merely changing routes. Travellers may reschedule trips, make additional trips, switch from public transport to car, visit new destinations or even move home. To understand and measure the 'induced traffic' effects resulting from the completion of the Manchester Motorway Box, the Department for Transport commissioned RAND Europe to develop a robust predictive choice model whose results were broadly in line with measured changes.

  • Recommendations for the Use of Cost Damping in Travel Demand Models

    22 Mar 2010

    Cost damping is a feature in some travel demand models by which the marginal disutility of cost (and, possibly, of time) declines as journey lengths increase. As cost damping is present in many models in practical use in the UK, the Department for Transport sought recommendations for the advice it issues to local planners in its WebTAG system.

  • Recalibrating the UK National Transport Model

    21 Dec 2009

    The UK National Transport Model (NTM) provides a systematic means of comparing the national consequences of alternative national transport policies or widely-applied local transport policies, against a range of background scenarios which take into account the major factors affecting future patterns of travel. RAND Europe helped to ensure the accuracy of the model.

  • Modelling Ferry Service Demand to the Isles of Scilly

    21 Nov 2007

    Local authorities requesting capital funding to improve transport infrastructure need to estimate the cost benefits that travellers will receive from these improvements. RAND Europe developed a travel demand model for Cornwall County, using locally collected data, to predict travellers’ responses and quantify their benefits from different ferry service options to the Isles of Scilly. The model predicts changes in modal shift and in total travel demand as a result of changes in ferry services.

  • Park and Ride Schemes Can Effectively Reduce Urban Congestion

    02 Nov 2007

    Park-and-ride schemes can be effective as a means to reduce car travel within congested city centres. Olympic organisers for London 2012 Games have recently announced plans to ban all car travel, making consideration of using Park-and-ride sites more critical. In this Research Brief, RAND Europe describes findings from research related to the feasibility and growth in demand of P&R sites.

  • The PRISM Model: Evidence on Model Hierarchy and Parameter Values

    16 Jul 2007

    RAND Europe developed the Policy Responsive Integrated Strategy Model in order to forecast future transport demands in the West Midlands in response to a range of different policy interventions. RAND Europe recently used innovative methods to extend the model to assess the impact of road user charging policies.

  • Value of Reliability of Travellers on the Paris Suburban Railway Network

    19 May 2006

    The development of a robust method to appraise the monetary benefits of different possible ways to improve regularity of the Paris suburban train network required values for its level of reliability. These values-of-reliability were obtained from a large-scale Stated Preference (SP) data set that was collected specifically for this project. This technical report presents the estimation results of models developed using this data set.

  • EXPEDITE: EXpert-system based PrEdictions of Demand for Internal Transport in Europe

    13 Sep 2003

    Carried out for the European Commission, the EXPEDITE project produced a transport model for application in forecasting and policy simulation for passenger and freight transport.

  • FORWARD: Freight Options for Road, Water, and Rail for the Dutch

    05 May 1996

    FORWARD (Freight Options for Road, Water, and Rail for the Dutch) is a major transportation research study that examined the benefits and costs of a broad range of policy options for mitigating the negative impacts of the expected growth in Dutch road freight transport while retaining the economic benefits. A Decision Support System was developed and used to estimate the effects of numerous policy options and can be used to re-evaluate policy options as projections change and/or more data become available.