Forecasting upon a star: Forecasting or wishful thinking?

The purpose of this paper was to perform a detailed analysis of the challenges faced while developing and using econometric models to forecast future transportation demand. To this end, a comparative analysis of the state of practice and state of the art was undertaken on a concrete example – Viracopos Airport in Brazil. A review of relevant technical and scientific literature identified a number of approaches and each representative example was synthesized into a specification “template”. The authors then compared the performance of each “template” with the observed demand, through an intra-series forecast. A general finding was that econometric model specifications proved to be somewhat homogenous and simpler in nature, with results indicating a relatively small difference in fit and forecast capability across models. Even with the elimination of what is typically considered the main culprit for deviations – the forecast uncertainty of the explanatory (input) variables – the forecast is still subject to sizeable deviation. To address this issue, The authors proposed developing some sanity check indexes, particularly relevant for long-term forecasts. They conclude that the challenges faced at the Viracopos Airport Concession were far from econometric ones, that the success of the demand forecast and the concession itself required more than a well estimated econometric model. Finally, regarding investment obligations within the concession agreement, the authors strongly recommend making them conditional to meeting demand milestones, given the inherent unpredictability in forecasts.


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  • Accession Number: 01760497
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 6 2020 3:06PM