In this television programme, Dr. Christopher Brook of The Open University looks at the derivation and use of 'the gravity model'. This model, which takes its name from Newton's Law of Gravity, can... be used as a predictive device to gauge the volume of transport flows between two population centres. The size of these flows is seen to be a function of the size of the population at two different centres and the distance separating them. The programme commences with an explanation by Dr. Brook of the theory underlying the model. Then follows a case study showing the way in which Irish Railways have engaged a team of consultants to predict the volume of passenger travel in the years to come by utilising a form of the gravity model. On behalf of Irish Railways, Donal Mangan, who is Regional Planning Manager, explains why such a study was initiated, and Graham Gleave, on behalf of the team of consultants, describes the application of the model to the problem. Finally, Professor Michael Chisholm, author of a number of articles on the subject of gravity models, discusses with Dr. Brook the uses and limitations of the model as a predictive device. Throughout the programme, frequent recourse is made to graphics and visual displays to explain the nature of the model.
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|D204, Fundamentals of human geography
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|Christopher Brook; Donal Mangan; Michael Chisholm; Graham Cleave
|BBC Open University
|Eire; Gravity model; Human geography; Railways
|Various forms of transport: Dr. Christopher Brook, using models equations and graphs explains the basic ideas behind the concept of the Gravity Model, analogous to Newton's Laws, which is used to explain the flow of people and goods between two centres. Locomotives of the Irish railway system. Railway yards. Dublin. Inside new fast trains. Dr. Brook interviews Donal Mangan, Regional Planning Manager for Irish Railways, who explains Irish Railway policy and why consultants were hired to assist with investment decisions. Graham Gleave, economics advisor to Martin and Voorhees consultants, explains how the investigation was carried out and the type of model used. Four variables were used to measure possible changes in flow of traffic, population, frequency of service, cost and speed. Using graphs and illustrations the effects of the variables are worked out through the model equation. Chris Brook then interviews Michael Chisholm author of books on the Gravity Model, who argues that the use of the model can only be justified at a very general level. There are limits to the equation as some of the factors are interdependent and there are problems about the validity of the factors over a time period. Dr. Brooks sums up the programme. Credits.
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