TAPAS: Model for the future demand of passenger transport in urban areas

The transport model TAPAS - Travel and Activity Patterns Simulation -  provides data on the future development of passenger transport demand in urban areas. It is based on sociodemographic data and information on the time use of people, in which individual transport behavior is documented. TAPAS is used to map and evaluate measures and changing conditions that influence passenger transport demand and infrastructure. This is done in the sense of a sustainable transport policy which at the same time ensures a high degree of mobility.



For the period from 2010 to 2030, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) forecasts an increase in passenger traffic - the most important indicator for determining traffic development - of 12.2% in its Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 . According to this, the number of passenger kilometers, i.e. the distance covered by all persons in all means of transport, in motorized and non-motorized traffic in Germany will increase from 1117.3 billion kilometers in 2010 to 1261.7 billion kilometers in 2030. The transport performance in motorized individual traffic will increase by 9.9%. However, these developments are not proceeding evenly in Germany. There are large differences between rural regions and large cities, as well as due to various demographic developments within Germany. It is therefore particularly important for the evaluation of future transport policy measures to have as differentiated a picture of transport behavior as possible.

Transport demand

The demand for transport is an expression of the human need to participate in social life. Every transport user makes decisions regarding the choice of destinations and means of transport. An increasing transport performance requires concepts that guarantee the mobility of the individual road user for social participation in the sense of a sustainable strategy.

The Institute of Transport Research is working on several projects in which scenarios for a sustainable transport development are developed and analyzed. Possible traffic measures are tested for their effectiveness. Against this background, the Institute of Transport Research has developed the transport model TAPAS (Travel and Activity Patterns Simulation), which examines the future demand in passenger transport.


TAPAS allows us to depict conceivable future developments in transport demand under changed conditions, for example, due to demographic change or altered income structures. The model is used to illustrate and evaluate measures that influence the demand for passenger transport and the infrastructure, for example changed costs in transport or a different offer in public transport. Furthermore, TAPAS is expected to provide important insights into the acceptance of population groups with regard to innovative vehicles, fuels and mobility concepts.

Data basis

As a microscopic model, TAPAS is based on the traffic behavior of individual persons. Empirical spatial and structural data, information on the use of time and information on the use of means of transport form the basis for a realistic representation of current and future demand by TAPAS. The time use data of the current version of TAPAS is taken from a representative survey on the mobility behavior of Germans in everyday life, "Mobility in Germany (MiD)" from 2017. 316,000 persons from 156,000 households described their daily routines, including transport activities, in diaries. Each diary reports on the type and duration of the respective activity. Sociodemographic characteristics and the means of transport of the households surveyed were also recorded.

The MiD is another important source of data for TAPAS when choosing the means of transport and travel routes. The MiD was collected in 2002, 2008 and 2017 on behalf of the BMVI and contains more than 960,000 traffic route information in the form of route data books.

Synthetic population

TAPAS uses a synthetic population for a given study area as the essential basic element. On the basis of existing data for a specific study area, it is determined how many people live there, how many households they are distributed among, and their socio-demographic characteristics. Subsequently, for each person in the synthetic population, the diaries from the Time Use Survey are used to determine which activities he or she carries out in the period under consideration.


Age, gender, employment status and car availability are decisive criteria for this. This results in chains of pathways that describe a series of changes of location over the course of the day that result from the sequence of activities in the course of the day. Based on these route chains and the characteristics of persons and households, TAPAS offers numerous possibilities to identify measures and their effects on individual road users within the model.

As a result of the calculations, trip lists for individual members of the synthetic population are available. These lists contain the start and destination of the journey, the distance covered, the purpose of the journey and the selected means of transport. From these lists, parameters can be derived and processed, which provide information about expected traffic activities.

What is TAPAS used for?

The synthetic population depicted in TAPAS and its behavior are sensitive to a variety of influencing factors such as the transport offer with prices, travel distances and durations, income, planned activities throughout the day, location of residential and activity sites. TAPAS is therefore able to predict the effects of very different transport and transport policy measures as well as socio-demographic developments.

Thus, TAPAS is an important component of analytical instruments that map and assess measures and effects of a future sustainable transport policy. For example, TAPAS was used in the research project RENEWBILITY 1-3 "Material Flow Analysis of Sustainable Mobility in the Context of Renewable Energies until 2030", which was conducted by the Institute of Transport Research and the Öko-Institut. The project involved calculations on passenger transport demand for the regions of Berlin, Hamburg, Braunschweig and Main-Rhön for the year 2030 compared to 2005. From these calculations, conclusions could also be drawn about the development of traffic throughout Germany.

Other projects of the federal ministries where TAPAS was used were simulation of networking of traffic behavior with the energy sector in the ENavi project "Energy Turnaround Navigation System for the Detection, Analysis and Simulation of Systemic Networking" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Move Urban "Space-efficient settlement and mobility concepts in growing urban and new suburban quarters" (BMBF) and RAMONA "Realization of automated mobility concepts in public transport" (BMVI).

In addition, TAPAS was used in several projects from the business community and for internal studies.

Tutorial Videos

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