Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 39–59 | Cite as

Forecasting the impact of transport improvements on commuting and residential choice

  • J. Paul Elhorst
  • Jan Oosterhaven
Original Article


This paper develops a probabilistic, competing-destinations, assignment model that predicts changes in the spatial pattern of the working population as a result of transport improvements. The choice of residence is explained by a new non-parametric model, which represents an alternative to the popular multinominal logit model. Travel times between zones are approximated by a normal distribution function with different mean and variance for each pair of zones, whereas previous models only use average travel times. The model’s forecast error of the spatial distribution of the Dutch working population is 7% when tested on 1998 base-year data. To incorporate endogenous changes in its causal variables, an almost ideal demand system is estimated to explain the choice of transport mode, and a new economic geography inter-industry model (RAEM) is estimated to explain the spatial distribution of employment. In the application, the model is used to forecast the impact of six mutually exclusive Dutch core-periphery railway proposals in the projection year 2020.


Commuting Migration Rail infrastructure The Netherlands 

JEL classification

C25 C53 J61 R23 



The authors thank Ward Romp and Dirk Stelder for helping with the idea, the data and running the model. They furthermore thank several anonymous referees, and the participants of the 43rd European Congress and the 40th North American Meetings of RSAI in 2003, for useful comments on earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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