The gravity model is much like Newton's theory of gravity. The gravity model assumes that the trips produced at an origin and attracted to a destination are directly proportional to the total trip productions at the origin and the total attractions at the destination. The calibrating term or "friction factor" (F) represents the reluctance or impedance of persons to make trips of various duration or distances. The general friction factor indicates that as travel times increase, travelers are increasingly less likely to make trips of such lengths. Calibration of the gravity model involves adjusting the friction factor.
The socioeconomic adjustment factor is an adjustment factor for individual trip interchanges. An important consideration in developing the gravity model is "balancing" productions and attractions. Balancing means that the total productions and attractions for a study area are equal.
Standard form of gravity model
Before the gravity model can be used for prediction of future travel demand, it must be calibrated. Calibration is accomplished by adjusting the various factors within the gravity model until the model can duplicate a known base years trip distribution. For example, if you knew the trip distribution for the current year, you would adjust the gravity model so that it resulted in the same trip distribution as was measured for the current year.