Chapter 25: Forecasting choice
Forecasting choice behaviour has always been a strong motivation for choice modelling (Gapper and Rolfe, 1968; Daly et al., 1973; McFadden, 1978; Cattin and Wittink, 1982). But while reports for government and commercial organisations on the likely effects of policy or marketing initiatives are numerous, the focus of methodological work in choice modelling has largely been on the development of models rather than their use in forecasting, as can be seen in the chapters of this book. In this context, this chapter attempts to set out the major issues in choice forecasting methodology. The chapter is limited in specific ways. Much of the reporting of forecasts is contained in client reports and other ‘grey’ literature, or in conference papers. Other important information is available only informally. While referencing where possible, I have felt it better to give as complete coverage of the area as possible rather than restricting coverage to fully referenced points. Moreover, my experience, on which I am drawing quite heavily, is largely in the transport sector and there is therefore a preponderance of examples from that sector; it seems that long-term forecasting is more common in transport than in other sectors. Finally, there are quite a few separate aspects to forecasting with choice models and the chapter is therefore somewhat general in its treatment. Throughout, the focus is on forecasting aggregate choices, particularly demand for products or services, rather than predicting the behaviour of individual consumers.
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