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Integrated National Rail Model Development

United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Rail icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The National Transport Model (NTM) played a key role in the formulation of the UK Government's Ten Year Plan for transport. Since then, it has been undergoing a comprehensive programme of development to make it more integrated and spatially oriented. One important element in this development has been the creation and inclusion within the NTM framework of the National Rail Model (NRM), to enable the impact of various transport policies to be assessed in a truly multi-modal fashion. As such, the emphasis has been on developing a model capable of capturing the strategic interactions between rail and other modes, rather then aiming to model in detail demand on particular rail routes.


The main objective of this research was to create a rail modelling system, compatible with the 'PASS1' model used for road modes, to enable testing of different rail policy options.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Department for Transport
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


This project resulted in the development of the National Rail Model (NRM). The main features of the model are that:

  • The model has rail network and service representations for both AM peak and inter-peak periods, rail services being coded to the 1999/2000 timetable. It covers all British passenger rail operations in the UK; 
  • It uses the 1997 National Rail Passenger Model (NRPM) trip data as the base for the development of the Base Year (i.e., 1998) rail demand matrices, supplemented by the London Underground trips derived from FaberMaunsell’s South East Regional Rail Model (SERRM), which in turn were developed from LATS data, as these are not included in the NRPM data; 
  • It adopts an incremental process such that the future year trips will use the base year rail demand travel patterns as the base, but the impacts of policies on trips in a future year are controlled by Pass1; 
  • For any model runs, future year trips from Pass1 will be automatically disaggregated to the DRDM zone level, using elasticity to population and generalised rail cost; 
  • It provides an option for updating demand matrices without going through the Pass1 interface by using elasticity to generalised time and cost, which also includes the rail fare elements; 
  • An incremental public transport assignment process with a crowding time calculation mechanism to reflect the effect of overcrowding on routing and overall rail generalised cost; 
  • A set of Rail Policy User interfaces that provide a friendly environment for the user to specify for model testing various rail service and/or policy changes associated with the Ten Year Plan in ways which are efficient; and 
  • Model outputs that include passenger-kms, passenger-hours, PIXC indicators and emissions, all of which can be categorised by corridor and/or area type.

Policy implications

The NRM is a component part of the multi modal National Transport Model (NTM). The NTM has been used to formulate transport policy across all modes, most recently in the 2004 Future of Transport White Paper. The NTM is undergoing a major update and recalibration including the development of a new rail modelling methodology. The NRM referred to in this project is no longer used.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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