Transport Logistics Modelling spring 2024


6 March, 20 March, 3 April, 17 April 2024


10.00 – 16.00 h.




Prof. Lorant Tavasszy (TU Delft) & Prof. Rob Zuidwijk (EUR)




1 (participating only) – 4 (participating + passing the assignment)

Course fee:

Free for TRAIL/BETA/ERIM/OML members, others please contact the TRAIL office


see below


The objective of this course is to provide an advanced understanding of freight transport demand and supply models at the micro (company/chain) and macro (city/region/country/world) level.

Course description:

We discuss the development and application of freight transport system models, in particular for predicting future freight transport demand, designing freight transport networks and supporting planning and execution of freight transport operations in supply chains. The focus is on an overview of modelling methods and its applications, and less on mathematical proofs, solution techniques for optimization, or coding of models. We use a bi-level overarching modelling framework that includes normative and descriptive models and discuss underlying partial models with various practical problem cases. The course mainly uses examples from  intermodal and synchromodal transportation. An assignment is included to help internalize the basic models.


The assignment will consist of two parts. The first part will be discussed and handed out on Day 1 and is due on Day 2. The second part will be discussed and handed out on Day 3, and is due on Day 4.


Day 1 – 6 March

Lecturer: Rob Zuidwijk

Introduction of overall framework. Positioning of network design problems in the overall modelling framework. Optimization models for intermodal and Synchromodal transportation networks. Topics on collaboration and information exchange in freight transportation. Introduction to assignment pt 1.

Day 2 – 20 March

Lecturer: Rob Zuidwijk

Presentation and discussion of assignments and cases on intermodal and Synchromodal freight transport.

Day 3 – 3 April

Lecturer: Lori Tavasszy

Introduction to descriptive freight (demand) models for generation, distribution, logistics and transport choices. Overview of models and data in practice about global, continental, national, urban systems and networks. Introduction to assignment pt 2.

 Day 4 – 17 April April

Lecturer: Lori Tavasszy

Presentation and discussion of assignments. Serious game about collaboration in synchromodal transport networks, feeding a discussion about descriptive and normative models.



Operations research (optimization) models for service network design are introduced as well as transport demand models which include choice models, regression models for freight (trip) generation, I/O models and gravity models for trade. Case studies are presented of concrete freight systems in the Netherlands and beyond. Assignments involve exercises with the presented models for small cases with a minimal amount of coding, focused on obtaining insights into main mechanisms. Serious gaming is used on Day 4 to help close the loop and revisit the broader framework presented on Day 1.

Course material:

Scientific papers and book chapters:

  • Anirudh Kishore Bhoopalam, Niels Agatz, Rob Zuidwijk (2018). Planning of truck platoons: A literature review and directions for future research. Transportation Research Part B 107: 212-228
  • Lorant Tavasszy, Gerard de Jong (eds.), Modelling Freight Transport, Elsevier, 2013:

      • Chapter 1 Introduction to Freight Modelling
      • Chapter 2 Modelling Inter-Regional Freight Demand
      • Chapter 4 Models of Distribution Structures
      • Chapter 5 Inventory Theory and Freight Transport Modelling
      • Chapter 6 Mode Choice Models
      • Chapter 8 Urban Freight Models
      • Chapter 11 Comprehensive Versus Simplified Models


Basic understanding of mathematical modelling notions (statistics, econometrics, operations research) at university level. Please consult lecturers when in doubt.

Course Registration form

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