The end of travel time matrices: Individual travel times in integrated land use/transport models

Nico Kuehnel, Dominik Ziemke, Rolf Moeckel, Kai Nagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To reduce inaccuracies due to insufficient spatial resolution of models, it has been suggested to use smaller raster cells instead of larger zones. Increasing the number of zones, however, increases the size of a matrix to store travel times, called skim tables in transport modeling. Those become difficult to create, to store and to read, while most of the origin-destination pairs are calculated and stored but never used. At the same time, such approaches do not solve inaccuracies due to lack of temporal resolution. This paper analyzes the use of personalized travel times at the finest spatial resolution possible (at x/y coordinates) and a detailed temporal resolution for synthetic agents. The approach is tested in the context of an existing integrated land use/transport model (ILUT) where travel times affect, among others, household relocation decisions. In this paper, person-level individual travel times are compared to traditional skim-based travel times to identify the extent of errors caused by spatial and temporal aggregation and how they affect relocation decisions in the model. It was shown that skim-based travel times fail to capture the spatial and temporal variations of travel times available at a microscopic scale of an agent-based ILUT model. Skims may provide acceptable averages for car travel times if a dense network and small zones are used. Transit travel times, however, suffer from temporal and spatial aggregation of skims. When analyzing travel-time-dependent relocation decisions in the land use model, transit captive households tend to react more sensitively to the transit level of service when individual travel times are used. The findings add to the existing literature a quantification of spatial biases in ILUT models and present a novel approach to overcome them. The presented methodology eliminates the impact of the chosen zone system on model results, and thereby, avoids biases caused by the modifiable spatial unit problem.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102862
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Agent-based models
  • Integrated land use/transport models
  • Microsimulation
  • Travel time matrices


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