Liverpool City Region Transport Model (LCRTM)

LCRTM utilizes Citilabs Cube to help to make the business case for transport-related investments across the Liverpool City Region


The Liverpool City Region Transport Model (LCRTM) is a strategic-transport model following WebTAG guidance that covers the Liverpool City Region and surrounding areas in England. It is a multi-modal transport model comprised of a link-based highway model, a public transport model, and a variable demand model.


LCRTM is designed to address the following objectives:

  • Produce a long-term forecast of growth in demand for travel
  • Forecast the impacts of growth and changes in demand for travel on highway and public transport networks
  • Forecast the impacts of policy measures, land-use changes, infrastructure changes and network changes
  • Examine measures and interventions that could mitigate travel growth impacts

The model has been used for applications including:

  • Policy and strategy evidence bases and testing
  • Business cases and funding applications
  • Local plan testing
  • Assessing the impacts of major roadworks or public transport closures
  • Impact of major events


According to Mott MacDonald’s principal transport modeller, Sarah Pierce, “Mott MacDonald has been commissioned by Merseytravel, the executive body that provides professional, strategic, and operational transport advice to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, to undertake model development and application of LCRTM. Our team has been involved in the model since inception.”

“CUBE software was chosen for LCRTM as it allows us to use one software package for highway, public transport, and demand modelling, with an intuitive and visual user interface,” says Sarah.


LCRTM has been optimised with Cube features. These features include:

  • A flow chart structure that allows the model to be set-up in a logical, easy-to-follow way, with integrated analysis capabilities
  • Detailed speed flow curves coded to allow for a calibrated highway model that fully meets WebTAG requirements in terms of traffic flows and journey times
  • Easy integration with other modelling tools, such as a version that contains a district-level SATURN highway assignment model to supplement the standard Cube highway assignment


“Cube is successfully implemented in many multi-modal models around the world, with great progress demonstrated by Mott MacDonald’s recent application in the United Kingdom (UK).  Although the recommendations set forth by the UK Department for Transport’s WebTAG may present unique challenges, there are many examples of extremely successful combined public transport and highway Cube models in this region of Europe,” said Citilabs UK Global Account Director Oliver Charlesworth. “Citilabs software solutions have supported the robust work of Mott MacDonald globally for many years, with the commitment to continue support and advancement in the years to come.”

The most recent version of LCRTM has been updated to include mobile phone and GPS technologies to understand travel demand. Sarah explains, “The predominate source of origin-destination data for this update came from mobile phone traces.”


Modelled traffic flows from LCRTM.
Over 1,000 bus lines have been coded into LCRTM representing all the service variants in the LCR
The CUBE flow chart structure has allowed us to develop a model structure that can be easily followed.


Cube has been used to export network statistics, compare two scenarios visually using the network process, calculate metrics such as mode share, average travel times and distances, trip length distributions, and convert matrices and cost skims to text format for input to economic analysis.


Sarah Pierce

Principal Transport Modeller, Mott MacDonald

Sarah is a principal transport modeller with 10 years of experience in multi-modal modelling with expertise in the development and application of Cube models. She has been involved in LCRTM since its inception, with responsibility for developing and enhancing the Cube model system. Sarah has managed the recent update of LCRTM and a wide range of model applications using LCRTM.



Oliver Charlesworth

Global Account Director, Citilabs

Oliver is a Global Account Director at Citilabs and works closely with transport professionals around the world. He comes from an analytical background as a climate modeller and has been in transport modelling since 2007 specialising in Citilabs’ Cube suite of software.