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Tools for transport forecasting and scenario testing

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A look into the uncertain future of European transport

Predicting the future is difficult but some future trends in transport are more likely than others. To help the European Commission identify them, the Transtools consortium developed a comprehensive model for freight and intermodal transport.

Climate Change and Environment

Up to 2020, transport policies under discussion and emerging trends may remain to some extent important. But it is almost impossible to know how European transport will be in 20 or 30 years. The majority of relevant policies and technologies do not even exist nowadays. Hopefully cars will be cleaner and more intelligent. Maybe on-line pricing and traffic management will widen the gap between scheduled services of mass transport and individual cars for door-to-door trips. To explore these and many other uncertainties, the Transtools project evaluated available forecasting models. Numerous shortcomings were identified. In some European countries, the existing models did not provide enough detail. Mostly proprietary, they were built by consultants to be used by consultants. This meant that different models could not be interoperated, because there was no standard data format and no uniform way of executing calculations. Despite these imperfections, it made good sense to combine their many good qualities into a single model, integrating all scenarios on a common platform. Concurrently, they built new models taking into account that trips usually involve more than one mode of transport. Transtools has successfully completed its project life fulfilling the ambitious aim of developing the largest and most comprehensive transport model at European scale. It covers four main transport modes; road, rail, air and waterways. Although this large-scale model focuses on long-distance travel, local travel is also included to complete the picture. Instead of needing to hire expensive consultants, the European Commission can now define scenarios representing different alternatives to move towards a carbon-free society. Applying the Transtools model, they can see which are more likely than others. It is also freely available to those interested in the many changes occurring across Europe and may well have an impact on the future of European transport.

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