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National Workshop on Urban Transport Modelling

In order to maximise the value of urban transport modelling as a tool for improving urban congestion interventions, a National Workshop on Urban Transport Modelling was held in Canberra on 5 March 2008. It was co-convened by the Urban Congestion Management Working Group and the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. The workshop brought together nearly 60 participants, including urban transport modellers, decision-makers, research bodies and transport and planning agencies.

The initiative to organise a national workshop on urban transport modelling derives from COAG's consideration of the Urban Congestion Review in April 2007. COAG tasked the Australian Transport Council of Ministers (ATC) with establishing arrangements to improve urban congestion data, modelling and performance information for decision-making and to report back to COAG by June 2008. ATC subsequently asked the Standing Committee on Transport (SCOT), through the SCOT Urban Congestion Management Working Group, to progress this agenda. The proposal for a national urban transport modelling workshop was one of a small number of actions endorsed by SCOT to assist in developing improving information for urban congestion decision-making.


The morning consisted of a series of papers presented by experts in six key urban congestion management intervention areas. Keynote papers were also given by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Secretary, Michael Taylor AO, and Professor David Hensher. The afternoon consisted of a series of small group workshops to propose a number of possible future action areas.

Presentations in the morning sessions were as follows:

  • Professor David Hensher, Keynote Address, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies, Faculty of Economics and Business, The University of Sydney PPT: 1646 KB
  • Rod Tudge, Traffic Management and Microsimulation, Traffic and Transport Modelling, Roads and Traffic Authority, New South Wales PPT: 650 KB
  • Lindsay Oxlad, Road Pricing, Road Transport Policy and Investment, Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, South Australia
  • Professor Graham Currie, Public Transport, Public Transport, Civil Engineering, Monash University PPT: 3938 KB
  • Associate Professor Geoff Rose, Passenger Travel Demand Management, Institute of Transport Studies, Civil Engineering, Monash University PPT: 362 KB
  • Fotios Spiridonos, Freight and Business Sector Transport and Victoria's Freight Movement Model (VicFMM), Transport Modelling and Analysis Policy, Intergovernmental Relations Division, Department of Infrastructure, Victoria PPT: 2505 KB
  • Frank Milthorpe, Integrated Transport and Land Use, Transport Model Development, Transport Data Centre, Ministry of Transport, New South Wales PPT: 16179 KB


The workshop recognised that modelling is capable of informing urban congestion management interventions but that currently policy and modelling are not well coordinated. Improvements need to be made for policy makers and modellers to work collaboratively in framing appropriate urban congestion management questions. The socio-economic impact of urban congestion interventions, for example, is an area which needs to be better modelled and understood.

The following five key areas summarise the proposed areas which received most support for further action:

  1. Time of travel and behaviour shifts (i.e. how people make travel decisions) are not adequately modelled: New models need to be developed for peak spreading/time of day choice. Current models often exaggerate modal shift, compared to changing time of travel.
  2. Socio-economic impacts of various interventions are not modelled to an adequate level:

    For example the distributional impacts of road pricing on different socio-economic groups; willingness to pay; ability to pay and access to alternatives, need to be captured.
  3. Freight/Light Commercial Vehicles: A cost-effective way of getting data for freight and business sector transport modelling needs to be found. The establishment of a Freight Movement Working Group to develop and implement a better data framework for freight and business sector transport was recommended.
  4. Reliability modelling: Better modelling is needed to assess the role reliability plays in mode choice and how reliability affects patronage, compared to other aspects of travel choice.
  5. Collaboration to improve methodologies: There has been a lack of communication and collaboration between agencies, academics and decision makers and this makes maximising the uses of modelling for national urban congestion strategy difficult. Informal networks need to be strengthened and ‘best Australian practice’ needs to be documented. A clearing house for modelling resources needs to be established.

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