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Multi-modal freight model for distance-based HGV charging

United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The model will be a modified version of the MDST freight model currently licensed to DTLR. The model will be capable of analysing the impacts of changes to all policies and economic conditions which the current model is capable of analysing. However the modified model will use a more disaggregated breakdown of HGV type and will also be able to simulate the impact of distance-based road user charging for HGVs, where the user-input road charge may be differentiated by area type, road type and/or specific road link, and by HGV type as above.


The objective of this consultancy is to develop a model of UK road and rail freight traffic, based on a real-world representation of the transport network, which is capable of simulating the impact of a variety of economic conditions and highly disaggregated policy variables, including distance charging, on freight traffic for current and future years.


Creation of a computer programme/ modelling tool.


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


The research output was fully delivered in the form of a computer model that is currently in use by the Department. The GBFM, Great Britain Freight Model, is an evolving computer program designed to analyse freight traffic flows in Great Britain. It combines a number of data sources and computer algorithms within a single system and applies simple micro-economic rules, seeking to explain the distribution of freight traffic, including commodity, mode, and route.

Created in January 2002, this version of GBFM was commissioned by the DfT, to address the need to link specific costs, such as road user charges to the GBFM, and became known as GBFM version 4. This modelling tool incorporates the following 'pricing, taxation and financing tools' topics:

  • infrastructure costs;
  • urban transport pricing;
  • interurban road pricing schemes;
  • multi modal transport;
  • user acceptance;
  • social marginal costs;
  • road user charges;
  • taxation of services;
  • provision of transport services;
  • national road pricing schemes;
  • taxes, charges and tariff structures to influence transport demand and travel patterns;
  • transport modes, financing schemes, freight transport, and passenger transport.

In particular, the model:


Policy implications

Policy instruments such as vehicle taxation, road user charging, freight grants and revenue support, fuel taxation, and legislation covering drivers' hours can be represented as part of a forecast scenario. Outputs can be analysed in terms of mode split, regional impacts, and changes in demand for infrastructure. These can also be translated into values suitable for transport appraisal, such as changes in external costs and user benefits.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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