A freight origin-destination synthesis model with mode choice

Lokesh Kalahasthi, José Holguín-Veras, Wilfredo F. Yushimito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper develops a novel procedure to conduct a Freight Origin-Destination Synthesis (FODS) that jointly estimates the trip distribution, mode choice, and the empty trips by truck and rail that provide the best match to the observed freight traffic counts. Four models are integrated: (1) a gravity model for trip distribution, (2) a binary logit model for mode choice, (3) a Noortman and Van Es’ model for truck, and (4) a Noortman and Van Es’ model for rail empty trips. The estimation process entails an iterative minimization of a nonconvex objective function, the summation of squared errors of the estimated truck and rail traffic counts with respect to the five model parameters. Of the two methods tested to address the nonconvexity, an interior point method with a set of random starting points (Multi-Start algorithm) outperformed the Ordinary Least Squared (OLS) inference technique. The potential of this methodology is examined using a hypothetical example of developing a nationwide freight demand model for Bangladesh. This research improves the existing FODS techniques that use readily available secondary data such as traffic counts and link costs, allowing transportation planners to evaluate policy outcomes without needing expensive freight data collection. This paper presents the results, model validation, limitations, and future scope for improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102595
JournalTransportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Freight mode choice
  • Freight origin-destination synthesis
  • Nonconvex optimization


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