On the use of common random numbers in activity-based travel demand modeling for scenario comparison

H. Zhou*, J. L. Dorsman, M. Mandjes, M. Snelder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Activity-based travel demand models provide a high level of detail when modeling complex travel behavior. Since stochastic simulation is used, however, this high level may induce large random fluctuations in the output, necessitating many model reruns to produce reliable output. This may become prohibitive in terms of computation time when comparing travel behavior between multiple scenarios, in which case each scenario requires its own simulation. To alleviate this issue, we study the use of common random numbers, which is a technique that reuses the same random numbers for choices made by travelers between scenarios. This ensures that any observed difference in output across scenarios cannot be attributed to mutual differences in drawn random numbers, eliminating an important source of random fluctuation. We demonstrate by a numerical study that common random numbers can greatly reduce the number of runs needed, and thus also the required computation time, to obtain reliable output.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-379
Number of pages21
JournalTransportation Planning and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • activity-based modeling
  • common random numbers
  • Scenario comparison
  • travel demand


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