Improving road freight transport statistics by using a distance matrix
Distances driven by road freight vehicles are an essential parameter for the calculation of transport volume. In the Austrian road freight survey, places of loading and unloading are recorded on a postal code basis. To derive the actual distances driven from this data, Statistics Austria uses a distance matrix that was first created in the 1980s. While the first version of this matrix was based on manual measurements, it has recently been recreated and updated using modern routing software.
This article describes the methodology on which the current Austrian distance matrix is based. The main points discussed are: how to determine representative centroids for postal code areas; how to deal with journeys within one postal code area; and how to calculate the actual distances using routing software.
The last part of the article compares the distance matrix to odometer readings from the Austrian road freight survey of the reference year 2015. This comparison showed a high positive correlation which indicates the good quality of the developed distance matrix and emphasises its usefulness in road freight transport statistics.
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