Forecasting demand for high speed rail

Publisher's full text
Maria Börjesson

It is sometimes argued that standard state-of-practice logit-based models cannot forecast the demand for substantially reduced travel times, for instance due to High Speed Rail (HSR). The present paper investigates this issue by reviewing the literature on travel time elasticities for long distance rail travel and comparing these with elasticities observed when new HSR lines have opened. This paper also validates the Swedish long distance model, Sampers, and its forecast demand for a proposed new HSR, using aggregate data revealing how the air-rail modal split varies with the difference in generalized travel time between rail and air. The Sampers long distance model is also compared to a newly developed model applying Box-Cox transformations. The paper contributes to the empirical literature on long distance travel, long distance elasticities and HSR passenger demand forecasts. Results indicate that the Sampers model is indeed able to predict the demand for HSR reasonably well. The new non-linear model has even better model fit and also slightly higher elasticities.

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