Comparison of neural networks and gravity models in trip distribution

Frans Tillema, Kasper M. van Zuilekom, M.F.A.M. van Maarseveen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


Transportation engineers are commonly faced with the question of how to extract information from expensive and scarce field data. Modeling the distribution of trips between zones is complex and dependent on the quality and availability of field data. This research explores the performance of neural networks in trip distribution modeling and compares the results with commonly used doubly constrained gravity models. The approach differs from other research in several respects; the study is based on both synthetic data, varying in complexity, as well as real-world data. Furthermore, neural networks and gravity models are calibrated using different percentages of hold out data. Extensive statistical analyses are conducted to obtain necessary sample sizes for significant results. The results show that neural networks outperform gravity models when data are scarce in both synthesized as well as real-world cases. Sample size for statistically significant results is forty times lower for neural networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-119
Number of pages15
JournalComputer-aided civil and infrastructure engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • METIS-213425
  • IR-58422


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