One of the oldest tools of the transportation planner is the gravity model. This paper distinguishes between the two basic types of gravity model - the "demand" model and the "distribution" model - and then examines the history of their development. The earliest suggestions of the gravitational force of attraction between people were made before 1850. Reilly (1929) used the concepts of social gravitation to explain the way in which a city attracts trade from an individual in its surrounding territory. During the 1940s Stewart and Zipf developed models which are apparently the origins of current models. Developments and innovations then came quickly. The first application of the gravitational principle to traffic analysis in urban areas is attributed to Alan Vorhees (1955). The paper goes on to examine in more detail the "demand" and "distribution" forms of the transportation model and concludes with a brief mention of the history of gravity-based land use models. By following through the development of the many forms of the gravity model in this way, the potential user is far better equipped to handel the particular situation with which he is confronted. He learns that the gravity model is a very flexible tool capable of almost infinite variation to suit the particular circumstances of his problem. /Author/


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: p. 40-52
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00265576
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jun 10 1975 12:00AM