This paper creates a philosophical structure for classifying methods which estimate origin-destination matrices using link counts. It is claimed that the motivation for doing so is to help real-life transport planners use matrix estimation methods effectively, especially in terms of trading-off observational data with prior subjective input (typically referred to as 'professional judgement'). The paper lists a number of applications that require such methods, differentiating between relatively simple and highly complex applications. It is argued that a sound philosophical perspective is particularly important for estimating trip matrices in the latter type of application. As a result of this argument, a classification structure is built up through using concepts of realism, subjectivity, empiricism and rationalism. Emphasis is put on the fact that, in typical transport planning applications, none of these concepts is useful in its extreme form. The structure is then used to make a review of methods for estimating trip matrices using link counts, covering material published over the past 30 years. The paper concludes by making recommendations, both philosophical and methodological, concerning both practical applications and further research
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