Research Output
A silk purse from a sow's ear? predicting current urban freight movements.
  The importance of freight activity in urban areas has increased substantially and is predicted to
continue to rise. However, freight data is difficult to secure, and even more difficult to use in
policy, forecasting and analysis. This is a direct consequence of the focus of traditional transport
modelling - and thus data collection - on private travel. Significantly less research and modelling
effort has been directed towards urban freight transport, which is in many ways more complex.
Modelling of urban freight movement improves our understanding of its key drivers, leading to the
development of more responsive infrastructure, policy and pricing solutions. Even gaining a good
picture of what is going on right now is not straightforward to achieve, and this task of ‘predicting
the present’ meets a number of the more urgent needs for fright movement assessment.
This paper outlines work undertaken on behalf of Queensland Transport to address this need. Its
aim was to combine existing traffic counts, roadside interview data and truck trip tables for
Metropolitan Brisbane, to provide Queensland Transport with a current freight matrix and some
measure of the confidence that may be placed in the results. The process itself prioritised and
weighted the various input data in terms of its currency, quality and level of detail, so that the
resulting matrices reflected a balanced combination of new and old, and high and low quality
inputs. This approach ensured that the greatest possible use was made of a limited amount of
freight data, and proved capable of estimating more than a single matrix by handling freight
vehicles of different types.

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HE Transportation and Communications

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    388 Transportation; ground transportation


Pekol, A., Wigan, M. & Hulbert, J. (2004). A silk purse from a sow's ear? predicting current urban freight movements. ISBN 957554036



Urban freight; matrix estimation; transport data;

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