VLC, as sub-contractors to SYSTRA working for HS2’s Economic and Commercial Analysis team, were commissioned to undertake an independent peer review of the modelling approach used for the proposed new fast train service, HS2, linking London to Birmingham and the West Midlands, the North via Crewe and Manchester and the East Midlands.

The key topics of interest covered in the peer review included:

  • Cost and demand assumptions
  • Modal shift/competition
  • Representation of rail crowding


Client requirements

HS2 is a new high-speed railway that in due course will form the backbone of Britain’s transport network, connecting towns and cities in the South, Midlands and North with faster, easier and more reliable travel. By increasing rail capacity, HS2 will free up space on existing lines for more commuter, regional and freight services, relieving overcrowding and improving reliability.

An independent review of the modelling approach by an expert was recommended to identify technical areas of the modelling that might benefit from a fresh perspective strengthening the robustness and defensibility of the methodology.


Delivered outcome

VLC undertook an independent peer review of the modelling approach used for HS2.

The Model Description Report was reviewed, focusing on the key topics of interest (Modal shift/compensation, land use modelling, representation of rail crowding and distribution of rail demand to zones).

This led to a number of observations and recommendations for further improvement, which VLC prioritised using a red/amber/green system. These fed into a programme of work and model enhancements by the lead consultants.