Strategic transport models
MoTiON provides a consistent basis against which to assess the impact of different policies, projects and planning decisions, working towards the objectives of the Mayor's Transport Strategy. It is used by TfL, the Greater London Authority, boroughs and developers to inform decision making on the largest transport-related issues facing London.
The MoTiON suite comprises:
- Transport demand (MoTiON)
- Public transport mode split and assignment (Railplan)
- Highways assignment (LoHAM & ONE Model)
- Cycling assignment (Cynemon)
- Land use and transport interaction (LonLUTI)
All models in the MoTiON suite have been developed with close reference to the Department for Transport's (DfT's) Transport analysis guidance (TAG) to ensure the outcomes are as robust as possible.
Borough-level MoTiON Demand model inputs and outputs can be seen on our TfL travel demand dashboard.
Our strategic models are also available to use under licence for a fee and with an accredited consultant. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MoTiON can model how many trips there are likely to be, their origins and destinations and their modes of transport. Inputs include land-use, demographic, economic, transport network and travel behaviour assumptions to forecast how many trips will be made, where they will go, which mode they will use and the ensuing public transport crowding and highway congestion.
MoTiON base year travel patterns have been estimated using aggregated and anonymised mobile phone data.
MoTiON works in four stages:
- Trip generation
- Trip distribution
- Mode choice
- Network assignment
There is a pivoting stage to get from synthetic demand to assignment. All stages are carried out in the demand model and the fourth incorporates the strategic assignment models.
MoTiON can forecast the transport impact of a wide range of variables, such as demographics, London's growth, changes to the transport network and travel behaviour, including new modes such as micro-mobility or connected autonomous vehicles. This capability enables the development of future uncertainty scenarios to inform decision making.
Our mode-specific assignment models can be used to assess network effects in more detail.
LoHAM (London Highway Assignment Model) is a strategic model representing routeing and congestion of motorised highway trips on the road network in London and the surrounding area. The model routes trips through the highway network based on journey times and distance.
LoHAM splits highway users into different vehicle types including car, taxi, private hire vehicles, light goods vehicles and other goods vehicles. It can reflect the separate movement of specific vehicle types, for example vehicles that comply with a policy measure and those that do not.
Buses and cycles are represented to ensure the road space required by these users is taken into account
Model outputs can be compared to assess the impact of a major scheme or development on outcomes such as:
- Distance or time travelled
- Traffic volumes
- Trip origins and destinations
These outputs and others can inform case making and appraisal.
Railplan is a strategic public transport assignment model for trips to, from and through London. It models the likely route and service choices of public transport users to inform outcomes such as route choice, crowding, distance travelled and time taken.
Railplan allocates the public transport trips generated by MoTiON to National Rail as well as these TfL modes:
Railplan has an extensive walk network to represent access to the public transport system and transfer between services. Railplan can predict the rerouteing and crowding effects of changes to services or infrastructure.
Railplan is commonly used to compare the impact of alternative transport provision or land uses on a consistent basis. Examples of the wide range of outcomes available are:
- Public Transport demand to and from different locations
- The number of people using stops and stations
- Crowding within public transport vehicles
- Total passenger travel time and distance travelled by mode
Railplan outputs are frequently used to inform case making and appraisal.
Cynemon is an innovative strategic cycling model that estimates the number of cyclists, their routes and journey times across London. Cynemon has been developed as a tool to model and visualise cyclist route choice, as well as inform cycle connectivity analysis.
Cynemon has been developed to inform decision making related to the cycling investment programme in London - this in turn is aligned to the Mayor's Transport Strategy objective to increase the share of journeys made by cycling.
Specifically, Cynemon vastly improves our capability to estimate the impact of improved cycling infrastructure. Its development was based on TfL count and travel diary data sources combined with mobile phone app data and bespoke research.
Cynemon accounts for factors such as gradient, road type, cycle lanes and other traffic in determining route choice. It can quantify the impacts of cycling investment and help identify locations where cycle infrastructure should be considered.
Cynemon is able to:
- Identify the busiest cycling corridors in London
- Calculate average cycling journey times between locations
- Forecast the distribution of future cycle trips resulting from changes in patterns of future travel behaviour
- Show the origins and destinations of cyclists passing a particular point
- Identify alternative cycle routes between locations
- Identify how cycle trips can be expected to reroute as a result of infrastructure changes
These outputs and others can be used to support the development of scheme business cases and for input into economic appraisal.
The London Land-Use and Transport Interaction model (LonLUTI) forecasts the locational decision making of businesses and people. This enables assessment of impacts - including wider economic impacts - from land-use change that is the result of transport schemes. Additionally, LonLUTI can forecast where the occupiers of new developments would have otherwise been located.
LonLUTI uses Delta software which has been developed over the past 20+ years by carefully following industry guidelines and under the leadership and review of topic experts. In particular, the DfT's TAG has been followed to ensure LonLUTI is robust and reliable.
The latest version of LonLUTI links directly to MoTiON - this means it benefits from detailed representation of the generalised cost of travel by different transport modes and London's demographic change over time.
LonLUTI covers London in detail, as well as east and southeast England. The model consists of four components: the economic, urban and migration models form LonLUM (the land-use model), which is linked to MoTiON (the transport model).
- MoTiON forecasts travel costs (including congestion and crowding effects) by various highway, public transport, and active modes, based on demand inputs from the economic and urban models
- The economic model predicts the growth (or decline) of economic sectors in each of the areas modelled. The predictions by sector and area are influenced by transport costs from MoTiON and consumer demand for goods and services
- The urban model predicts the location of households and jobs - this is influenced by the supply of floorspace (cost), accessibility and environmental variables. The attractiveness of accessibility is influenced by access to workplaces and services for households and access to labour supply and customers for businesses
- The migration model predicts migration between regions in the model (movement within each region is predicted in the urban model). The inputs to this model include job opportunities and housing costs from the urban model
LonLUTI can be used to assess dynamic land-use and locational impacts of both transport schemes and/or development proposals. For appraisal purposes this is typically wider economic impacts.
LonLUTI can also offer insight on where occupiers of a new development would have otherwise been located, the local demographic impact of a transport or land-use change and the property market impact of a transport scheme and/or development proposal.
The Operational Network Evaluator (ONE) Model is a tactical highway assignment model built in the PTV VISUM software environment. The model is built as a virtual simplified representation of peak Monday to Friday traffic conditions.
The ONE Model covers Greater London (M25) and can inform micro-simulation and network optimisation models of route choice changes when a new traffic scheme is implemented. For example, when a junction is changed or when existing signal timings are reviewed. ONE uses a short-term (up to 5 years) forecast that considers demand growth and network/supply changes during this period.
ONE can help identify any potential congestion impact of changes before they're introduced. This means appropriate mitigation actions can be planned and implemented in advance, including traffic reassignment.
The ONE Model allocates highway trips generated by MoTiON to the highway network to assess operational decisions in response to planned events in the network. These include long-term road works, road closures or state events.
Using LoHAM and ONE
LoHAM and ONE are both used inform business cases and appraise schemes.
The ONE model is mainly used for schemes and assessments that need a closer relation with micro-simulation and for operational decisions on the network. It considers interventions in the short term using a single Forecast year and fixed-demand.
LoHAM is able to provide both short- and long-term forecasts, for multiple future years and variable demand inputs. It assesses the impact of major developments on congestion, vehicle kilometres and economic benefits - these are required for policy development and economic appraisal of multi-modal schemes that are expected to have a large impact.
Both models look at the AM and PM peak hours (08:00-09:00 and 17:00-18:00) - LoHAM also includes the inter-peak period.
Data extracted from a number of modelled scenarios can be used to assess the impact of a scheme or development. ONE can provide outputs such as:
- Congestion hotspots, node saturation and link speed plots
- Total distance or time travelled in the area of interest
- Number of vehicles using a road of interest
- Origins and destinations of vehicles using a road of interest
- Average speeds and network delay statistics, for example, the change in delay per km across different spatial areas
These outputs and others are used to inform scheme design, scheme appraisal and network management tactics.
Accreditation and licensing
All models are available under licence to inform relevant studies commissioned by third parties and TfL internal projects.
An accreditation and licensing scheme controls the use of the models outside TfL. The accreditation scheme ensures users have the appropriate expertise to use the models and interpret the results. The licensing scheme protects TfL's intellectual property and obligates model users to feedback enhancements for inclusion in the master versions of the model. The roles and responsibilities related to model accreditation and licensing are explained below.
Any individual or organisation wishing to obtain access to the models to undertake modelling for their own purposes or on behalf of another party must be accredited. Accreditation is open to anyone with the experience and expertise required to use the models and relevant software. The accreditation, which is subject to a fee, is renewed at the start of each financial year.
A list of all consultants accredited to use the models is available from StrategicModelling@tfl.gov.uk. Accredited consultants are required to attend and contribute to regular accredited consultant forum meetings and follow best practice guidance.
When a strategic model is required for a project, both the study sponsor (the business or organisation that commissions the work) and the appointed accredited consultant need to be licensed to use the model.
There is a fee to use our strategic models, which contributes towards model maintenance and development costs. The fee is only for access to the model and does not include advice or model enhancement costs. Details of our current model access fees are available from StrategicModelling@tfl.gov.uk.
The study sponsor will be provided with a licence agreement that must be completed and signed by the study sponsor and the accredited consultant. The agreement will also need to be signed by TfL after which a copy will be returned to the study sponsor. The accredited user will then have access to the requested models.
We have taken data from our strategic transport model MoTiON, to provide an overall forecast of travel demand to, from and within London.
The forecasts are available in a PowerBI dashboard and reflect our most up to date position on forecast demand for travel in London based on a range of data sources.