Forecasting Urban Travel

Forecasting Urban Travel

Past, Present and Future

David E. Boyce and Huw C.W.L. Williams

Forecasting Urban Travel presents in a non-mathematical way the evolution of methods, models and theories underpinning travel forecasts and policy analysis, from the early urban transportation studies of the 1950s to current applications throughout the urbanized world. From original documents, correspondence and interviews, especially from the United States and the United Kingdom, the authors seek to capture the spirit and problems faced in different eras, as changing information requirements, computing technology and planning objectives conditioned the nature of forecasts.

Chapter 7: Transportation network equilibrium

David E. Boyce and Huw C.W.L. Williams

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, environmental sociology, urban and regional studies, transport, urban studies


Building on the experiences of the Detroit, Chicago and Penn Jersey transportation studies, the sequential travel forecasting procedure was adopted by several North American metropolitan areas by 1970 and transferred to large conurbations in the UK (Chapters 2–3). Unrelated to these early studies, major advances in mathematics and mathematical economics occurred during the post-war period, some evolving from wartime applications of mathematics and statistics in the US and UK. Efforts to apply mathematics and economics to solve defence mobilisation problems led the US Department of the Air Force to investigate project planning methods and to establish the RAND Corporation. Fields called ‘operations research’ in the US and ‘operational research’ in the UK emerged from these activities.

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