Trade and Transport Models

Modelling transport flows

Forecasts on transport flows are a major input and critical element for all planning and investment actions. This study will review and elaborate on the transport flow models used by public and private stakeholders in conjunction with various databases to assist them in their decision making processes.

The study provides:

1.  A description of general principles in forecasting interregional and international flow of goods and an overview of related EU projects
2.  Review modal split models with specific reference to ‘NEAC modal split’

It is concluded that:

  The diversity of trade models and databases create difficulties for users trying to estimate trade flows in order to plan infrastructure investments or design efficiently transport services.  Among the issues of concern: reliability, consistency, timeliness, flexibility in terms of data/updates and interoperability of EU databases.
  Many  projects address specific regional trade flows but results are not used to establish a coherent picture of the key trade corridors in Europe and their potential development.

  The NEAC modal-split model has been used to carry out transport flow analysis for the EU, “Transport forecasting goods and passengers for the year 2020”. If this model is to provide an input to policy, and, in the light of recent world market changes it is recommended that the 2020 study should be re-run with updated economic data, E van der Leest, et al (2006).  According to reviewed literature the NEAC model has a higher probability of accurately forecasting modal split on established trade routes within the EU-15 member states. However, due to the limited data on the use of SSS in the base year the model may not specify modal-shift opportunities, TRANS-TOOLS (2006). In tandem with this limitation, new SSS services can start with a relatively low investment and lead time, unlike road and rail. This allows the SSS market to be more flexible and reactive and hence more difficult to model or predict.
It is also anticipated that there will be a substantial increase in the amount of information available on trade-flows as the adoption of e-Maritime techniques and technology increases. This will bring significant developments in the field of transport modelling, including mode choice modelling.