Integrated Regional Economic and Freight Logistics Modelling: Results from a Model for the Trans-Pennine Corridor, UK

Integrated Regional Economic and Freight Logistics Modelling: Results from a Model for the Trans-Pennine Corridor, UK


Y Jin, I Williams, WSP, UK; M Shahkarami, Department for Transport, UK


The paper reports results of EUNET2.0, a new, integrated regional economic and freight logistic model. The basic design of this model was reported at ETC 2004. Model responsiveness to economic and logistics inputs is assessed for 2001 and 2016.


This paper presents the results from EUNET2.0, which is an integrated regional economic and freight logistic model for the Trans-Pennine Corridor in the north of England. The basic model design and the use of data sources of this model were reported by the same authors in European Transport Conference 2004, under the title ¡®Anchoring Logistics in a Spatial Input-Output Model¡¯.

The original EUNET Trans-Pennine Corridor model was created in 2000, as part of research jointly funded by the European Commission and UK Department for Transport. It was a sophisticated model that derived its freight and passenger demand from Spatial Input-Output modelling, but it did not represent logistic operations.

The economic transactions between suppliers and consumers, and the logistics operations that actually deliver the goods, are the two main drivers behind the rapidly evolving patterns of freight movements. Logically, it is difficult to model future freight demand satisfactorily without due regard to the supply chains of the distribution system.

In 2002 a major technical review in the UK identified the need to represent logistics transparently within freight transport models. EUNET2.0 has been developed from early 2003 in a research project funded by UK Department for Transport as a pilot model at the regional scale to integrate the current research and understanding of the logistic operations with spatial input-output modelling. New data sources, such as the analytical UK I-O table, Census 2001, and Valuation Office commercial floorspace data, have also been used to update and enhance the EUNET model.

EUNET2.0 divides the economic trade from the initial producer to the ultimate consumer into a number of logistic stages, as appropriate for each category of commodity. The model thus estimates a set of O-D matrices that are segmented by commodity type and type of distribution stage, including those handled by product consolidation centres, national/regional distribution centres, and major ports. In doing so, it is capable of simulating influences on freight demand that come from logistical operations as well as from the wider regional and national economy.

The explicit representation of logistical stages distinguishes large, regular movements between producers and distribution centres (for which rail could potentially compete) from dispersed, time-sensitive movements to individual final consumers (for which road has clear advantage). Furthermore, it improves the simulation of the split between road goods vehicles of different sizes. Primary shipments are typically single drop, large consignments moved on large vehicles, whereas the tertiary shipments are spread as part loads across the smaller vehicle sizes, depending on the particular combination of the size and urgency of the consignment and on the access conditions for the pick up and drop. In line with observed data, only the primary shipments has rail as an option for modal split.

Compared with the original model, EUNET2.0 has also improved in the spatial detail of the zoning system (to better identify trade patterns) and in the categorisation of commodity types (to improve the representation of patterns of trip lengths, modal split, loading characteristics, logistics behaviour and road vehicle mix).

Results from EUNET2.0 (which will have been completed by Spring 2005) are assessed for both its Calibration Year (2001) and its Future Policy Year (2016). The sensitivity tests include changes in road and rail haulage costs and in the operation of regional distribution centres for the main categories of general freight. The performance of the model is discussed, particularly in relation to its responsiveness to changes in inputs that represent regional economic and freight logistics variables.


Association for European Transport