New rail station demand forecasting methodologies - a South Wales case study


Geoff Smith

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - rail, infrastructure - station, ridership - modelling, ridership - demand


United Kingdom, rail station demand, new patronage generation, demand


Recent experience of new patronage generation by new stations revealed a wide margin of error compared to forecasts across the UK, resulting in a study by Transport Scotland and DfT. However, our involvement with one particular line reopening over 13 years, provided a unique opportunity to review different forecasting model approaches and to answer the question 'compared to which forecasting model anyway?' This paper will aim to define best practice in forecasting the demand for new rail stations and present a practical and efficient approach for the audience to consider. The paper will: - Set the context in terms of the Transport Scotland/DfT study and recommendations; - Present the background to the Case Study - the Ebbw Vale Line in South Wales; - Present the case study modelling background and development history; - Present the patronage outcomes compared to the alternative forecasts for the line and individual stations; - Draw conclusions relating to the case study line; - Compare the recommended forecasting approach with the Transport Scotland/DfT recommendations, and; - Provide practical experience from the model calibration and application in South Wales. The Study will compare the alternatives of Regionally Calibrated Trip Rate Models, Assignment/Mode Choice Models and Shadow Station Trip Rate Models. The study will be of interest to a wide audience including, Government Departments, Train Operating Companies, Rail Infrastructure Providers, Strategic Transport Planners of Local Authorities, Transport Modellers, Transport Stakeholders and Consultants. This Paper will assess new rail station demand forecasting best practice drawing on post scheme evaluation of the introduction of Ebbw Vale Line service in 2008. It will draw on the results of 4 phases of transport modelling which used different techniques and highlights the recommended approaches for the future. The paper will inform on the methodology employed and draw on experience in the development and application of the models in South Wales.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by AET, copyright remains with them.