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Travel Demand Forecasting for Infrastructure Projects
Connecting Scandinavia to the European Continent With GIS
Travel demand forecasting is a much used form of analysis, the purpose of which is to predict the consequences and to evaluate the economic feasibility of one or more proposed changes to the transportation infrastructure of a region. It involves building a model of the region's transportation system using a range of mathematical models. When the model has been built, it can be used to predict the impact of various changes to the transportation system.
Examples of consequences, which are usually predicted, are changes in flows on streets, load factors for public transportation, average driving times for commuters, number of accidents on streets, pollution, and traffic noise.
In the summer of 2000, the combined bridge and tunnel connection between Denmark and Sweden was established, directly connecting the cities of Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmö in Sweden. In spite of the technical challenges when railway infrastructure crosses borders, the travel demand--quantities of passengers and cargo using the line--exceeded the expectations.
Various studies of initiatives to generate an increase in travel demand through Denmark to and from the European continent have been undertaken on several occasions. A travel demand forecasting study on the possible upgrade of the main railway lines in Denmark has shown a possibility of an increase in travel demand of one billion kilometers traveled by passengers per year. Another forecast in connection with a possible bridge or tunnel crossing the Femer Belt (between Denmark and Germany) has also shown a possible travel demand growth of one billion kilometers traveled by passengers per year. Now, the Europe line through Sweden combined with a second bridge across the Oresund region could possibly influence these forecasts in an even more positive direction.
The second bridge across the Oresund region would be most efficiently placed between the cities of Elsinore in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden, north of Copenhagen and Malmö. Today, traveling between the two cities is done by ferry.
A consortium has been formed consisting of the cities and counties of Elsinore and Helsingborg and the development council for the greater Copenhagen area. The main task for the consortium is to forecast the travel demand and to lay sound preliminary groundwork for the establishment of a bridge between the two cities.
A bridge north of Copenhagen calls for severe upgrading of the infrastructure leading to and from the bridge, so forecasting the future travel demand is needed to support a new bridge.
The forecast is conducted by using a combination of two existing travel demand forecasting modeling systems--one that covers eastern Denmark (Atkins Transportation Scandinavia's KRM) and one that covers southwestern Sweden (SAMPERS, maintained by the Swedish company Transek). Atkins Transportation Scandinavia's Transport Planning Division, which is situated in Copenhagen, Denmark, has been hired by the consortium to produce forecasts with the KRM system. (The KRM system is appropriate as it covers all of the area in Denmark that will be influenced by a new bridge across the Oresund region).
The KRM travel demand forecasting system consists of a number of different applications. All the data, which is needed to describe a traffic model scenario (e.g., street network; railroad network; routes and timetables for buses, railroads, and metrorail; traffic analysis zones) is maintained with Transportation Object Platform (TOP)--an ArcGIS extension from Atkins Transportation Scandinavia's Software Division. Travel patterns are modeled by using a combination of custom applications and the EMME/2 software package from Canadian INRO for both public and individual transport modes. The TOP product includes translators for exporting networks, routes, and timetables from a geodatabase to EMME/2 and for importing results from EMME/2 to a geodatabase. ArcGIS is also used for creating visualizations of the modeling results.
In previous projects Atkins Transportation Scandinavia's Transport Planning Division used custom applications for maintaining networks, routes, and timetables. The replacement of these custom applications with a system based on ArcGIS with TOP has dramatically raised efficiency of working with the KRM travel demand forecasting system. In particular, consistency and work flow have been improved significantly when editing scenario data by being able to work much more intuitively with both the infrastructure networks and the public transportation system (e.g., stops, routes, timetables) within one ArcGIS geodatabase data model.
This has the effect of enabling the Transportation Consultancy Division to deliver modeling results to the client within a significantly reduced time frame.
For more information, contact Thomas Israelsen, project manager, Atkins Transportation Scandinavia (tel.: 45-8233-9150, e-mail: email@example.com).