Transport Logistics Modelling


6 & 20 April, 11 & 25 May 2022


10.00 – 16.00 h.


Utrecht, Boswell-Beta, Daltonlaan 400


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 or solution techniques for optimization. We present an overall bi-level modelling framework that includes predictive and prescriptive models and discuss underlying models with various practical problem cases. The course uses examples from the domain of port logistics, city logistics and intermodal transport. An assignment is included to help internalize some 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 3. The second part will be discussed and handed out on Day 2, and is due on Day 4.


Day 1 – 6 April
Lecturer: Lori Tavasszy

Introduction of overall framework. Freight demand models for generation, distribution and logistics choices. Acquisition and treatment of data. Examples of models for worldwide flows, national freight systems, cities and Synchromodal port hinterland networks. Introduction to assignment pt 1.

 Day 2 – 20 April
Lecturer: Lori Tavasszy

Presentation and discussion of assignments. Problem-driven discussion of freight demand modelling.

Day 3 – 11 May
Lecturer: Rob Zuidwijk

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 2.

Day 4 – 25 May
Lecturer: Rob Zuidwijk

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



Various freight transport demand and service design modeling techniques will be discussed. Transport demand models include aggregate applications of choice models, regression models for freight (trip) generation, trade between sectors (I/O model) and between regions (gravity model), as well as combined models. Operations research (optimization) models for (service) network design and game theoretic concepts combining all the above. The models are embedded in case studies of concrete freight systems in the Netherlands and beyond.

Course material

Scientific papers and book chapters:

  • 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
  • Tavasszy, Lóránt A. “Predicting the effects of logistics innovations on freight systems: Directions for research.” Transport Policy 86 (2020): A1-A6.

  • 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
  • Alberto Giudici, Tao Lu, Clemens Thielen, Rob Zuidwijk (2021). An Analysis of the Stability of Hinterland Container Transport Cooperation. Transportation Science. Published online.


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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