Review of Rail Forecasting Model

Transport consultancy Steer Davies Gleave has been commissioned by the UK Association of Train Operating Companies to undertake a review of the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook.

The Passenger Demand Forecasting Council (PDFC), which includes representatives from train operating companies, the Department for Transport, Network Rail, the Office of Rail Regulation, Transport for London, Transport Scotland, the Passenger Transport Executive Group and transport consultancies, believes that the time is right for a new version of the PDFH to be produced.

"There is some anecdotal evidence that the PDFH does not sufficiently reflect the needs of all current stakeholders, a matter which this piece of work should address," ATOC's passenger demand forecasting scheme manager Billy Denyer said. "The review will ensure the new handbook contains the most accurate and robust research available across the UK rail industry."

The review precedes the actual update of the handbook, which is subject to a separate contract. When completed, the handbook will replace the existing version (4.1), which was released in June 2005.

SDG will identify inconsistencies in demand forecasting approaches and "apparent paradoxes" in the existing values, so the new guidelines will be as consistent as possible. The consultancy will also draw on major research projects recently undertaken by the PDFC to help with the review.

The project will be headed by SDG's David Shilton – an expert on forecasting the impact of variables on the demand for rail services. He edited the second edition of the PDFH in 1989. "PDFH is used by a wide range of stakeholders with varying needs. It is vitally important that these needs are understood before the update of the PDFH commences," Shilton said.

The review is expected to be complete by April 2008