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Freight and Tourism Modelling

Truck movements are typically included in traffic modelling. The size and number of trucks impacts the overall behaviour of the traffic flows.

Freight modelling and analyses of commercial vehicles differs from other transport modelling in three aspects:

  • freight modelling is about the movement of commodities
  • not all the links in a city-wide road network are able to be used by all truck types, for example many local roads have weight limits and therefore cannot be used by the heavy commercial vehicles, and
  • not all the origins and destinations in a city wide network are used in the heavy vehicle trip matrix. Typically for the heavy commercial vehicles only the origins and destinations which correspond to the distribution/warehousing/intermodal zones or centres of a city are used.

Transport Modelling has extensive experience in freight modelling. Examples of the range of our work are given below. The studies include rail operations, greenhouse gas abatement measures for urban freight as well as analyses of commercial vehicles at the city wide level and more localised study areas.

Figure 1: Comparison Dynameq plots between future with the Bomen industrial park Wagga Wagga on the right and no Bomen industrial park on the left. Intersections are seen to be affected a long way from the location of the park. The slider at the bottom of the plots can be moved in the model to view the other time slices.


Image used with permission from Wagga Wagga Council.

Examples of Transport Modellings studies on Freight :

Assessing Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Abatement Measures on Urban Freight

This study was undertaken for the Australia Greenhouse Office, and was carried out by the CSIRO, Kilsby Australia and the University of South Australia.

Transport Modelling supported Kilsby Australia by undertaking all the Sydney Strategic Travel Model (STM) runs for this study. The modelling required the multi-class assignment process and extracting all the traffic flow details for the passenger vehicle and each of the commercial vehicle classes. The modelled outputs were post-processed for greenhouse gas emissions at the University of South Australia.

A significant component of the work involved translating policy measures into scenarios which could be modelled in a meaningful way. This required the full understanding and limitations of the STM. The Policy instruments included infrastructure and land use measures, vehicle movement measures and vehicle measures.

The study showed objectively that that policy instruments such as:

  • General reduced congestion
  • Better traffic management
  • Higher load factors
  • Real time traffic information
  • Sydney orbital road
  • Orbital with land use change

reduce VHT, trip length as well as emissions. It is stated in the report that this is contrary to industry trends towards lower load factors and ‘just in time’ deliveries, which are likely to increase emissions.

This newly developed method of assessing greenhouse gases was expected to be generally applicable to all Australian cities and potentially applicable to cities elsewhere. Refer to the paper ‘Assessing Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Abatement Measures on Urban Freight’. paper and its variations were published many times in different forums.

Enhancing Future Freight Demand

Transport Modelling was asked to assist with the enhancing of the future freight demand for an Australian Capital City.

Figure 2: This figure shows the screen lines used in the study.


This work involved the manipulation of the freight demand matrix in a manner to reflect the differential growth and growth capacities of the existing and future freight centres in the city, as well as incorporating the distances between the centres. In addition the future growth at the screen lines was also used in the matrix estimation. This results in a very complex demand adjustment exercise.

The work was incorporated into the city’s strategic model.

SIMTA Intermodal

Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA) is proposing to build a freight intermodal at Moorebank. Transport Modelling reviewed the publically available documentation and found that the modelled numbers were vastly different from our expected numbers.

Figure 3: Predicted traffic from the Proposed Moorebank Intermodal


Transport Modelling have presented their finding to the NSW government and these findings were well received, and much appreciated.

Implementation of the Heavy Vehicle Matrix into the Wagga Wagga Traffic Model and Bomen Industrial Study

Transport Modelling enhanced the Wagga Wagga Traffic Model with the heavy vehicle matrix, and then used the enhanced model to study the proposed Bomen Industrial Estate.

The study examined the access to and from the Bomen Industrial Estate, as well as the impacts on intersections throughout the City of Wagga Wagga. The outcome of the study was that the NSW Department of Planning approved the development of the Bomen Industrial Estate.

Figure 4: Heavy vehicle trips for Wagga Wagga.


Figure 5 Olympic Highway / Kincaid St + Sturt Hway (Left = No Bomen Right = + Bomen)




Modelling tourist traffic also has its unique features. Similarly to freight modelling, tourist traffic is part of a ‘normal’ traffic model. Tourist traffic tends to vary seasonally and generally its peaks are ‘off peak’ relative to the traditional transport models. Also the tourist destinations vary greatly in each model. Some of the studies undertaken by Transport Modelling that included tourism traffic are:

Tourist Model for the Wide Bay Burnett Region

Transport Modelling built a transport sketch model to model the alternative land use patterns in the Wide Bay Burnett Region (Qld). This model included both freight and tourist modules.

Harvey Bay with its whale watching tours and its many other tourist destinations along the coast and inland have a huge impact on traffic at varying times of the year making a tourist model very worthwhile.

This transport sketch model was used as part of a more complete assessment of all the impacts of the alternative land use patterns including employment and economics of each of the alternative land use patterns.

Tourist traffic in the Wyong Shire Council Traffic models

Transport Modelling recognised that the coastal townships of The Entrance and Toukley, an hour’s drive north of Sydney, are strong tourist destinations and this greatly impacts the traffic patterns for the local residents. Therefore Transport Modelling built traffic models for Wyong Shire Council in such a way that the traffic patterns under the peak holiday season could be modelled in house. This is possible as the land use data is held in a MS Excel workbook. The traffic engineers have been trained to use the models.

Best Location for Manly Hospital

The basic purpose of the study was to assist the Northern Health in determining the best location if the Manly Hospital were to be relocated. Three potential sites were short listed, and the modelling task was to rank the three sites based on traffic related measures such as

  • shortest travel times important for ambulance access
  • number of people inside travel roses
  • public transport to the existing and potential hospital sites.

Which hour should be studied?

Permanent traffic counting stations had counts for 24 hours a day 365 days a year. All the counts for each hour were added for the study area. Then the travel demand was based on the 50th highest hour (this gave the upper limit of traffic conditions). This 50th peak hour happened to be the traffic conditions on a mid-day Saturday during the peak holiday season. Clearly the traffic patterns for the Northern Beaches were very different from the normal peak hour conditions.

Figure 6: Estimated times it would take an ambulance to travel to Manly Hospital.


Tourist traffic in the Illawarra area

The Illawarra is the region south of Sydney and is a popular weekend destination for many of Sydney’s inhabitants. Transport Modelling was asked to model the weekend tourist traffic conditions because the RMS was receiving community concerns relating to weekend traffic.

The main challenge was to derive a suitable travel demand that could be used for this purpose with the limited weekend counts available. Transport Modelling used a publicly available script to determine the optimum traffic count location to maximise the trips captured from the matrix. These best count locations were compared with available count data. These best count locations were used however for some locations the counts had to be interpolated.

Using the well-chosen counts and interpolation the results surprised many people, the original traffic issues (hot spots) which were not known to Transport Modelling and lead to this study, were highlighted, and other potential traffic issues (hot spots) were flagged.

Since the optimum traffic survey locations were identified, traffic counts could be undertaken and then re-run however sufficient information was obtained from this study and so as not to do the second stage of the study.

Tourist traffic in the Wagga Wagga Traffic Model

Wagga Wagga is a regional centre in the middle of NSW. It has a population of 65,000 people. Each year the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Show is held, and it attracts many people from the region.

During the training program users were shown how to model such an event.

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