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Land Use - Transport Models

Land use–transport computer models simulate the working of two inter-related markets: the land market and the transport market using two interactive systems with feedback loops.

Households and firms demand dwellings and floor-space at different locations. The interaction with the available supply will determine the price of buildings. The differences between the demand and supply will change prices which in turn will affect the demand for location by households and firms. The computer model performs several iterations until the prices stabilise. Once the location of households and firms is established, the transport sub-model estimates the number of trips for different purposes (work, shopping, education, etc) and by different modes of travel (car, public transport, and cycling and walking). These trips are assigned to the transport network and the model also calculates any delays likely that occur on the network due to congestion. Again, like in the land use sub-models several iterations are performed, till no further changes arise in the use of modes due to traffic congestion. The resulting generalised transport costs (which incorporate out of pocket expenses and value of time) are fed back to the land use sub-model, to determine the accessibility of the locations, which in turn determines their attractiveness to households and firms. The model represents the interaction between land use and transport. The following diagram schematically shows the simulation process in a land use - transport computer model.

Schematic representation of a land use - transport simulation model

Typically the inputs and outputs of such land use - transport models are:

Inputs to the model

  • Planned number of dwellings and business floorspace projections per model zone
  • Employment forecast by industry sector
  • Total economically active and inactive population, and total number of households by size for the modelled area from Census projections
  • Car ownership at sub-regional level
  • Transport improvements, costs and capacities

Outputs from the model

Land use

  • Location of households per zone by socio-economic group
  • Employment per zone by industry sector
  • Rents per zone
  • Costs of living per socio-economic group
  • Costs of production by industry sector


  • Travel volumes, times, and costs on the transport networks by mode of travel


The Martin Centre, University of Cambridge Faculty of the Built Environment, University of the West of England Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London Transport Operations Research Group, Newcastle University