Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Passenger Demand for Rail Travel

"…there is the clear prospect of significant future growth in freight and passenger traffic, potentially doubling by 2030." - The McNulty Report (2011), "Realising the Potential of GB Rail"

With over twenty years’ experience with the UK and European rail industries we conduct rail-demand research for

  • Audit Commission
  • Competition Commission
  • OPRAF/SRA
  • RSSB
  • local authorities
  • ATOC
  • Department for Transport (DfT Rail)
  • ORR
  • Transport Scotland
  • individual train companies

Known as the Leeds Model, the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook (PDFH) is based on our pioneering work on the effects of external factors on railway demand. Our studies have contributed to PDFH recommendations including fares and competition between tickets and timetable related service quality.

In 2002 we initiated the PDFH training course, a popular resource for the rail industry.

Our work for transport consultancy companies includes demand forecasting to support franchise bids, strategic planning and analysis of customer preferences and priorities. For example, we developed and updated the DfT’s Strategic Fares Model and our PRAISE model is used in the appraisal of on-track competition.

Novel applications or our research include the valuation of passenger preferences for recovery time and amongst different seating layouts through to the demand impacts of improved security and regular interval timetables.

We analyse the effect of multiple factors that influence railway demand such as rolling stock, station enhancements, punctuality, reliability, external factors, timetable-related service quality, car parking, and personal security.

Our portfolio of research ranges from high speed rail and the value of business travel time savings, through to light rapid transit and new stations. Renowned for our familiarity with rail demand analysis and market research, we conduct the largest syntheses and reviews of empirical evidence on rail fare elasticities, time-related elasticities, rolling stock effects, crowding values and the impacts of reliability.

Recent research outputs:

Wardman, M. and Whelan, G.A. (2013) 20 years of rail crowding valuation studies: evidence and lessons from British experience. Transport Reviews, 31 (3), pp379-398.

Wardman, M. and Wheat, P.E. (2012) The impact of large changes in Generalised Journey Time on rail passenger demand. Prepared for Passenger Demand Forecasting Council.

Batley, R., Dargay, J. and Wardman, M. (2010) The impact of lateness and reliability on passenger rail demand. Transportation Research Part E, 47 (1), pp61-72.

For further information, please contact: Professor Mark Wardman