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Error Propagation in Transport Models (SVI2004/015)

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project website
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The project approach is based on the following literature:

1) Multiple applications of error propagation in weapon simulation systems for the Swiss defense sector (GRD 1978-1990)
2) Die Fehlerfortpflanzung in Verkehrs- und Emissionsmodellen (Sem' Arbeit C. Luz, ETHZ 1994)
3) (Dienstabteilung Verkehr, Stadt Zürich)
4) Project TMP-CH with Robert-Grandpierre+Rapp AG (ASTRA)
5) Project Traffic Online CH with B+S AG (ASTRA)
6) Project Qualitron with Büro B+S AG (ASTRA)
7) Intelligent VMS Setting for the motorway junction Darmstadt (Verkehrszentrale Hessen, Frankfurt/Rödelheim)


The goal of the project is to answer the question: "How precise is a transport model?". The rules of error propagation are well known to physicists. They are applied to the 4 steps of transport modeling, with special emphasis to the assignment procedure. First, a model developed at ETHZ in OBERON is translated and extended to apply error propagation rules to all numerical operations. Second, error propagation is studied with a small synthetic model and the Swiss private transport model from ARE. Third, a leaflet (1 page A4, recto/verso, for broad distribution) is created with a) basics of error propagation in transport models, b) advices to follow to minimise errors, c) some rules of thumb to estimate the output errors from known input, and d) pitfalls to avoid during the process.


Building a transport modelling SW from existing modules and including error propagation functionalities. Using this SW to find out I/O dependencies of errors. Producing a leaflet which summarises all results.

The main activities include: modelling, simulation, aplication of the theory of error propagation in numerical calculation.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Swiss Government: State Secretariat for Education and Research
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


The project has the following results:

1) acquirement knowledge about errors propagation in transport models,

2) estimation what input errors influence which output quantities and how much,

3) production a leaflet to help model users apply these findings in practice.

Other results

The project is practice-oriented. The results are also useful to future dynamic and online systems (FCD), where the input can have large fluctuations.


Total max 18 months.
step 1) until 06/2005 literature, theory, build and test the necessary SW
step 2) until 12/2005 I/O and sensitivity analysis, with special attention to road pricing applications
step 3) until 06/2006 conclusions, main report (english), leaflet (english, deutsch, français)


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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