Customers & Industries: Centre for Traffic & Transport, Denmark

Air, Land, and Sea: @RISK Used for Transportation Planning in Denmark

  • Industry: Transport
  • Product(s): @RISK
  • Application: Transportation Planning


The Centre for Traffic and Transport (CTT) in Denmark undertakes research into optimizing traffic and transport systems. The CTT uses @RISK to develop evaluation models for roads and road building in order to understand the effect that projects will have on traffic behavior, as well as overall social, economic and environmental impacts.

@RISK is a highly sophisticated analysis tool that enables us to perform complicated predictions to determine accurate cost-benefit of projects. Despite the complexity of these forecasts, @RISK is straightforward to use.
Kim Bang Salling, Center for Traffic and Transport, DTU

The Centre for Traffic and Transport (CTT) is part of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). It is responsible for undertaking research into optimizing traffic and transport systems and in this capacity it develops evaluation models for roads and road building. This requires an in-depth understanding of the effect that any projects (both directly and indirectly related) will have on traffic behavior, as well as the overall social, economic and environmental impact of such schemes.

The CTT has developed an appraisal model for the Danish Road Directorate (a sub-sector of the Danish Ministry of Transport), the focus of which is on building roads and evaluating large new infrastructure projects such as proposals for bridges. In addition, the CTT carries out investigative data gathering operations such as the Scandic Bridge project that undertook preliminary research into freight trade between the east and west Baltic Sea regions.

Increasingly recognized as an expert in its field, the CTT is also commissioned to carry out in-depth analysis overseas. In particular it has assisted with planning Greenland’s infrastructure, including the evaluation of the most appropriate location for the country’s new main airport at Nuuk.

A key objective for the CTT is to promote the potential of the DTU in order that it can develop further collaborations, both in Denmark and around the world.

The Role of Risk Management at the CTT

Traditionally, the standard way to measure risk in the transport industry in Denmark is to take the median of best case/worst case scenarios. However, as part of the CTT, the Decision Modelling Group (DMG) aims to establish a groundwork for technical modeling that will enable better future decision support systems and improve planning and evaluation of large transport infrastructure projects.

Therefore, within the CTT and in a wider environment, the DMG encourages structured risk analysis to be built into transport schemes and proposals in order that a more accurate picture is obtained.

@RISK for Cost-Benefit Analysis

The CTT now uses @RISK on an increasing number of projects. Excel-compatible, @RISK uses Monte Carlo analysis to show all potential scenarios, as well as the likelihood that each will occur, thereby providing the decision-maker with the most complete picture possible.

In particular, the CTT does extensive analysis to produce a cost-benefit ratio that will determine whether a project is optimal from a socio-economic viewpoint or not. Very simply, this entails weighing up if the benefits of a venture justify its economic, social and environmental cost.

For example, when building a new road, the CTT needs to calculate how much time it will save people and whether it will reduce accidents. But because new roads are often physically longer than the old versions they replace, it also needs to analyze the increase in pollution that will be generated by vehicles traveling a greater distance. The amount of land/housing affected is also considered and the impact of the net change in traffic noise is included in the assessment modeling.

Referring back to the evaluation work in Greenland, the CTT developed a decision support tool to assess and balance the available options. From an economic point of view, it was critical that the new airport at Nuuk accounted for increases in air travel and supported improvements for the maximum number of people using the facility (taking into account that Greenland is a large country with relatively few towns and a small population).

@RISK for More Effective use of Government Budget

As well as weighing up the cost-benefit ratio of building a road in terms of time, safety and pollution, the CTT uses @RISK to make a detailed analysis of the actual construction cost of building a new road. Although construction companies will provide the initial estimate, because this is usually based on best/worst case predictions, it is not necessarily accurate. It also often increases over the course of the project.

Expert risk analysis makes a more thorough prediction, and therefore provides the CTT with better information on which to base its decision/recommendation as to whether or not the road should be built.

@RISK for Better East-West Freight Transport

Following the Scandic Bridge project (outlined above) the CTT is now working on an EU financed venture to improve the ‘East-West transport corridor’ across the Baltic Sea. This work will analyze the most effective and efficient method of distributing goods between Karlshamn Harbor in Sweden and the rest of the Baltic Sea region, including Denmark, Poland, Norway and north Germany. @RISK will provide the risk analysis element of a decision support model being built by the CTT that also incorporates cost-benefit studies.

@RISK for Bespoke Systems

Kim Bang Salling, research analyst at the CTT, comments: “@RISK is a highly sophisticated analysis tool that enables us to perform complicated predictions to determine accurate cost-benefit of projects. Despite the complexity of these forecasts, @RISK is straightforward to use. We can therefore design systems that are easy to transfer to our customers and partners. In addition, we are also able to add on to the CTT’s own products and then adapt these as necessary. As a result, each @RISK user can build a bespoke system that is specific to their exact requirements.”

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