Traffic Forecasts Under Uncertainty and Capacity Constraints
33 Pages Posted: 3 May 2011
Date Written: November 1, 2009
Traffic forecasts provide essential input for the appraisal of transport investment projects. However, according to recent empirical evidence, long-term predictions are subject to high levels of uncertainty. This paper quantifies uncertainty in traffic forecasts for the tolled motorway network in Spain. Uncertainty is quantified in the form of a confidence interval for the traffic forecast that includes both model uncertainty and input uncertainty. We apply a stochastic simulation process based on bootstrapping techniques. Furthermore, the paper proposes a new methodology to account for capacity constraints in long-term traffic forecasts. Specifically, we suggest a dynamic model in which the speed of adjustment is related to the ratio between the actual traffic flow and the maximum capacity of the motorway. This methodology is applied to a specific public policy that consists of suppressing the toll on a certain motorway section before the concession expires.
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