Design and Development of Forecasting Models


DSC was set up in 1990 to provide consultancy in relation to the design, development and use of forecasting models and associated appraisal methods. During the firm’s first decade, the team worked on a wide range of land-use, economic and transport models, often providing transport modelling for land-use and economic consultants and land-use/economic modelling for transport consultants. Some of those early projects were undertaken with other firms’ modelling packages, including:

  • TRANUS (Modelistica, Venezuela)

  • START (MVA Consultancy, UK [now part of SYSTRA])

Models which DSC designed and developed from scratch (though drawing extensively on published research) included:

  • a multimodal model of travel to and from Belfast, Northern Ireland

  • a simple static model of the urban land-use impacts of transport change (subsequently named DSCMOD) applied to Edinburgh (Scotland), Merseyside (England), Dublin (Ireland), and Sao Paulo (Brazil)

  • a regional economic model of what was then the European Community (12 states).


For our work on appraisal methods please see the Research and Innovation page. 

The DELTA package: introduction

Since the late 1990s, our modelling work has been concentrated on the development and use of the DELTA package, which now covers all the elements represented in our earlier work. Work on the design of DELTA started in early 1995. The overall design has proved remarkably robust, but the detail of the package has been greatly refined and extended. The package now allows a range of models to be implemented for study areas ranging from a large town to a whole country.


DELTA: design


DELTA models represent a range of processes of change operating over time, giving dynamic models which produce a time series of results. Most of the processes are studied separately in urban and regional economics, transport studies, human geography and other academic fields; much of the originality in DELTA is in bringing models of these different processes together in a coherent and practical way. The table below identifies these different components and when they were introduced.

DELTA: applications with the Regional Economic Model

The DELTA applications listed in the table below use (or used) the “full” form of DELTA including the Regional Economic Model. Where the model was developed for a particular study or appraisal, that is mentioned; other models were developed as more general tools for a range of purposes.

The table identifies the transport modelling package used.  * in that column indicates that the model uses transport costs from a transport model or other analysis, but is used purely as a land-use/economic model, not returning data to the transport model.

DELTA: applications without the Regional Economic Model

The DELTA applications listed in this table are (or were) either

  • models of individual cities or towns, using only the DELTA components appropriate to more local modelling

  • models focused on particular subregions using the variable employment scenario form of DELTA rather than the full Regional Economic Model.