Transport Issues website

UK Transport Policy And Planning

Traffic Forecasts

Traffic forecasts are used to plan the operation, maintenance and improvement of the UK transport network by estimating how many people will be travelling by each mode at any time in the future. As such, they are an important factor to be considered when creating transport policy which will support future travel demands. The main document that you will need to be aware of, and have some knowledge of its production, is the National Road Traffic Forecasts (Great Britain) 1997, published by the Department for Transport (DfT). For air travel, the DfT also publishes UK air traffic forecasts.

Channel Tunnel Traffic Forecasting

The growth in UK trade over the last ten to twenty years has resulted in increased levels of exports and imports to Europe, particularly in the European Union (EU).The UK has one of the largest economies in the world, yet has a peripheral location in Europe. Economists and geographers argue that the south east of England does lie in the so-called 'hot banana' of Europe, encompassing London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Berlin and Brussels.

As trade develops, so do traffic levels between the UK and continental Europe. Rapid expansion of the ports at Dover, Harwich and Felixstowe bears testimony to this fact. Roll-on roll-off ferries were introduced and these further facilitated transport links with continental Europe, particularly for heavy and bulk goods transportation. Additionally, road links from the east coast ports to the capital have been modernised. However, this is not in line with government policy of the last 10 years or so. Movement of freight by rail is the preferred method. Therefore the Channel Tunnel and CTRL would aim to push some freight onto the railways, and also encourage commuting [gloss.] by rail rather than by car. However the city-city journey time would be the deciding factor for many commuters.

Before the channel tunnel was to be built, it was therefore essential to estimate the approximate traffic levels that would exist in the transport corridor as a whole.

 Question...?

Would CTRL generate further traffic and could its capacity meet demand?

What, therefore, are the main reasons for forecasting passenger and freight levels on the Tunnel and its associated project CTRL?

Eurostar

Factors affecting Channel Tunnel forecasts

As an aside, consider the effect of the M25 London Orbital Motorway in inducing traffic: provision of a new transport route makes journeys easier, and therefore may encourage people to make journeys they would otherwise not have made. This is a very important concept in transport studies, and is one reason why road building is often an unpopular way of fighting congestion.

How do we forecast growth?

There is no easy answer to this question. Traditionally it was done by extrapolation of figures for previous years, but when a major new piece of infrastructure is provided the picture becomes somewhat cloudier. However, the principles used for roads generally still apply here to railways.

 Question...?

Compare Eurotunnel's actual recorded traffic levels with the following pre-opening 1993 traffic forecasts. Are the two figures similar?

Passenger traffic (million passengers)

 

1994

1995

1996

2003

2013

Et

TRC

Et

TRC

Et

TRC

TRC

TRC

Projections of total

 

  cross-Channel market (ferries, air, CT)

70.92

70.80

74.14

74.23

77.82

77.32

101.12

136.28

Projected CT traffic (1)

 

  - Le Shuttle (cars, coaches etc)

0.33

0.25

7.14

7.69

11.06

12.36

18.65

23.55

  - Rail (Eurostar)(2)

2.52

2.52

9.17

9.17

10.72

10.72

17.12

22.18

  - Total

2.85

2.77

16.31

16.86

21.78

23.08

35.77

45.73

CT's Market share of cross-channel travel
  (excluding created traffic)

 

  - Le Shuttle

0.5%

0.4%

9.6%

10.4%

14.2%

16.0%

18.5%

17.3%

  - Rail (2)

3.5%

3.5%

12.4%

12.3%

13.8%

13.9%

16.9%

16.3%

  - Total

4.0%

3.9%

22.0%

22.7%

28.0%

29.9%

35.4%

33.6%

Traffic created by

 

  existence of the System (induced traffic)

0.74

0.62

3.58

4.01

4.66

5.56

6.41

8.90

Total passenger market

71.66

71.42

77.72

78.24

82.48

82.88

107.53

145.18

TRC = Traffic and Revenue Consultant: an independent forecasting body who prepare forecasts on behalf of Eurotunnel and the financial institutions
Et = Eurotunnel

Notes: (1) Projected System traffic excludes created traffic
          (2) Eurotunnel adopts the TRC's forecasts

 

In this topic...

  topic overview  topic overview
  introduction  introduction
  history of uk transport policy  history of uk transport policy
  traffic forecasts  traffic forecasts
  planning  planning
  useful links  useful links
  exam-style questions  exam-style questions





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