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TMIP Annual Report FY04

(PDF version)

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January 12, 2005

Helping Agencies Improve Their Planning Analysis Techniques

Table of Contents

Section One: Introduction

Introduction

The Travel Model Improvement Program (TMIP) focuses on outreach and training to the modeling community, research on models and model quality assurance. This FY04 Annual Report aims to document and assess our effort.

According to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment, and Realty Cynthia Burbank: "better modeling is needed to support effective transportation decision-making, better transportation investments, better operating decisions, improved air quality analysis and much more. Improved modeling will help all levels of government meet large transportation challenges with limited budgets."

Travel models are key tools for making the decisions that shape our transportation system. Every year the United States invests billions of dollars in highways and transit, relying on travel models to enable transportation officials to make the highest payoff on that investment.

Additionally, modeling plays an important role in emerging priorities such as road pricing, operations, freight, land use-transportation integration, homeland security, safety and suppressed travel. Modeling can increase the power of scenario planning, visualization and communication of results to the public and elected officials.

To improve not only what modeling currently supports but also the emerging issues identified above, TMIP follows a strategic plan that was developed by USDOT staff in consultation with the TMIP Review Panel.

TMIP Review Panel

The TMIP Review Panel consists of transportation planning practitioners, managers and researchers from across the country. They represent planning agencies at both state and regional levels, universities, transit operators, environmental organizations and air quality agencies. The Panel supplies TMIP with input and feedback on program activities.

The TMIP mission and goals were slightly revised based on input from the review panel in FY04. The mission's new "question and answer" format states the mission more strongly/proactively and still addresses the basic three-goal structure. The current mission is:

TMIP will...
Do What?
Support and empower planning agencies.
How?
Through leadership, innovation and support of planning analysis improvements.
Why?
To provide better information to support transportation and planning decisions.

In FY04 the Panel met twice to discuss and provide feedback to the program. A summary of those meetings can be found in Appendix A of this document.

Need for performance measurement

A critical element of program implementation is performance measurement. This ensures that TMIP is accountable for promised products and services and is accomplishing the stated goals of the program. We have written this annual report to assemble and demonstrate accomplishments for each program goal. TMIP performance measurements are both quantitative and qualitative and there is a distinction between outputs and outcomes. Where available, quantitative data are reported, in other areas benchmark development, qualitative analysis and judgment must substitute. In this second annual report we refine some measurements from last year, we switch from a calendar to a fiscal year and we include comparisons, not previously available. In coming years we will continue these comparisons, expecting to exceed performance of past years.

Funding Retrospective

Since its inception in 1994, funding for the TMIP has been drawn primarily from discretionary research funds allocated to the planning offices within FHWA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Graph that indicates funding levels for TMIP from 1998-2004. Over the course of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), FHWA has provided the primary funding for TMIP via allocations of discretionary Research and Technology (R&T) funds, and for the Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS), which is a line item in TEA-21. TEA-21's passage in 1998 drastically changed the funding of FHWA's R&T programs, severely curtailing TMIP activities the first few years of the Act. In 2003, internal reorganization and the reauthorization process again resulted in a relatively restricted funding situation. This trend continued throughout 2004.

Given the initially austere R&T funding environment of TEA-21, TMIP discretionary spending focused on maintaining core outreach services and key product development efforts, such as the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) technical support. Pie chart that indicates TMIP spending categories by percent (54% outreach, 34% research, 12% other). With changes in the TEA-21 R&T funding provisions (notably revenue aligned budget authority) and the advent of the Metropolitan Capacity Building Program (now the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program) in 2001, TMIP research spending returned to pre-TEA-21 levels. As discussed above, 2003 and 2004 spending levels were curtailed by reorganization and reauthorization with the focus returning to maintenance of core training and outreach efforts.

Graph that indicates TMIP spending categories in total dollars.

Training & Outreach as well as Research & Development activities have historically been supported since TMIP's beginning. Quality Assurance efforts are a more recently identified homogenous goal set (those efforts were previously more generically referred to as "other"). Traditionally, the majority of funding has been for Training and Outreach. The successes noted in the peer review segment will likely result in a future funding increase for that area.

Section Two: Performance by Goal

In this section we present accomplishments by goal area. This annual report highlights major activities accomplished in service of the Program goals, it is not an exhaustive list of everything the Program has done over the entire year. In this document the subject headings will generally refer to specific goal objectives as defined in our mission and goals, included for reference in Appendix B. Furthermore, specific projects are referenced by their page in the Project Briefing Book which is included as Appendix C of this document.

Goal One "To help planning agencies build their institutional capacity to develop and deliver travel related information to support transportation and planning decisions."

Partnerships with AMPO, AASHTO, TRB, NARC

In October 2003, TMIP sponsored and participated in the AMPO annual conference. Our participation consisted of staffing a booth and distributing marketing materials to attendees, and participating/presenting during the "Tools for Transportation" panel session, where Fred Ducca presented the Certification Checklist on Travel Forecasting Methods.

In January 2004 we staffed a joint booth with the Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) Program and the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) at the TRB annual conference in Washington, DC. We called ourselves USDOT Planning and Modeling Resources. At TRB we distributed materials, notably, applications for Peer Reviews.

In April 2004 we resurrected the USDOT Planning and Modeling Resources banner for participation in the American Planning Association annual conference, also in DC.

In June 2004 we sponsored, exhibited at and attended the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) annual conference in Chicago. Michael Culp gave a presentation on new directions in travel model improvement. Maren Outwater of Cambridge Systematics presented results of the TMIP study on Commercial Vehicles in the context of a presentation on freight modeling and Adhish Vyas of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) presented on TELUS.

In August AASHTO was kind enough to host the Washington area TMIP seminar set (described below, in the training segment) at their headquarters in DC.

In September 2004, TMIP participated in TRB conference Transportation Planning for Small and Medium Sized Communities in Colorado Springs, CO. We staffed a booth and Penelope Weinberger presented Lessons Learned from the TMIP Peer Review program.

Applications partnerships

TRANSIMS, Portland, OR – Portland METRO (Briefing Book 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24)

We continue to fund work with Portland METRO on the implementation of TRANSIMS. Currently METRO staff is refining networks used for TRANSIMS and is calibrating the mode choice and destination choice models. METRO staff also is continuing to test the microsimulator using existing trip tables.

UrbanSim, Salt Lake City, UT (Briefing Book 12)

UrbanSim is a land use forecasting model developed by the University of Washington. The MPO in Salt Lake City, Utah has completed an initial application of the Urbansim model. TMIP supported this effort by providing $200,000 to the MPO and the University of Washington, to assist in the application and to create a full set of documentation, which includes data collection and assembly, model calibration and validation info, and to support a peer review panel to oversee the work. The documentation is posted on the UrbanSim website:
http://www.urbansim.org/projects/utah/UrbanSim_Final_Report.pdf

Oregon Model Improvement Program Symposium 2005 (Briefing Book 7)

The Oregon Model Improvement Program (OMIP) is creating a new statewide land use and travel demand forecasting model called the Transportation and Land Use Model Integration Program (TLUMIP). To share their results as they build the new model with the wider modeling community, OMIP has held 3 symposia to explain the work being done and to receive input from modelers around the world. TMIP is helping this effort by supplying funding for the conference and the publishing of conference proceedings. The last conference was conducted in July 2002, the proceedings are available through TMIP. The 4th symposium is scheduled for November 2005.

Academic partnerships

We continue our partnerships with NJIT in the development of TELUS and with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) for the development and pilot offerings of the TRANSIMS course. Work with the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), in support of the TMIP program continued throughout FY05. During the last six years we have supported six graduate students at the NJIT, Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania on the development and deployment of TELUS. We also supported development and piloting the Introduction to TRANSIMS course at VPI. Finally, TMIP is providing deployment technical assistance to Rutgers University for a two county study in Central New Jersey using TRANSIMS.

Peer Review Program (Briefing Book 27)

The Peer Review Program provides state and local planning agencies the ability to solicit input from experts in the field of travel demand modeling. In FY04 TMIP sponsored nine Peer Review Panels. These Panels occurred across a broad spectrum of MPOs and state DOTs throughout the nation. The following areas have held TMIP Peer Reviews:

Map that highlights the locations of 2004 and 2005 peer reviews.

Five of the Panels – two each at DRCOG in Denver and SCAG in Los Angeles, and one at BMC – dealt with large urbanized areas developing innovative techniques to improve their current model program, while the other two dealt with other metropolitan planning issues. Additionally, two of the panels focused on State DOT modeling efforts. Currently there are three more peer reviews planned, funded and scheduled to take place in FY05. They will be held at:

The program anticipates holding future peer reviews as funding permits.

Synthesis and individual reports

Through documenting each peer review, the Program generated both individual reports and a synthesis report that discusses each peer review in detail and synthesizes recommendations for MPOs and DOTs. The synthesis report includes technical recommendations, recommendations for managing the modeling process and results and improvements for conducting peer reviews. Additionally, the report has a section that includes the following three recommendations for TMIP:

The full set of individual reports and the synthesis are posted on the TMIP website and the synthesis report has been distributed to the panel for review.

Newsletter (Briefing Book 2)

TMIP produced three newsletters in FY04. The TMIP newsletter, TMIPConnection, follows a particular format. Each newsletter generally has two feature articles, a discussion of an email topic that generated considerable interest on our email list, an update on TMIP Review Panel activity and listings of courses and conferences relevant to the planning analysis community. An addition this year was the development of the "model citizen" guest column. Model citizen is designed to engage and include the practitioner community in the technology transfer process of the newsletter. In fact, FY04 saw a transfer of newsletter ownership from the TMIP program to the user community, in that more articles were solicited from the modeling community than were generated by the Program staff. This change from past years is a proud accomplishment that already has been rewarded in positive feedback from the user community.

Content and distribution

In FY04 TMIPConnection featured GPS; highlighted MPOs or States in various stages of the model process; and was dedicated to technology transfer to the modeling community. The newsletter is distributed both electronically and in hardcopy and is posted on the TMIP Website. Electronic distribution includes a link and announcement to the TMIP Email list, AMPO, AASHTO, TRB, APTA, ARTBA, the FHWA resource centers, the division planners and the FHWA technical service teams for planning and air quality. TMIP also maintains a mailing list of about 1500 who receive the newsletter in hardcopy. Additionally, current and past issues of the newsletter are distributed at conferences we attend.

The three FY04 newsletters constitute Appendix D of this report.

Website (Briefing Book 1)

The TMIP Web Working Group (TWWG) was convened in FY04. The group is a loosely affiliated body of expertise that is charged with maintaining website content, particularly with regard to the robustness of the clearinghouse. The TWWG keeps the pulse of the modeling and planning analysis community to ensure the website and clearinghouse stay up to date and relevant. The TWWG is composed of public agency professionals, academics and consultants versed in modeling and planning analysis, as well as adjunct disciplines.

Chart that indicates the level of web site activity for fiscal years 2003 and 2004.

The TMIP website contains the latest information in the TMIP world, highlighting new documents and data, and archiving historical information. From TMIP's Website a user can access the latest information on relevant conferences and courses, the national MPO database, the TMIP clearinghouse, information on TRANSIMS, or one may subscribe to the email list

In FY04 the TMIP website received 367,290 page views from 57,423 visitors, representing 29% growth in page views and 14% growth in total visitors. Of those FY04 visitors, 9,769 were return visitors. Interestingly, the 17 percent that makes up return visitors constitutes 54 percent of the site's traffic. In FY03, the same 17 percent (of 49,189 visitors) constituted 49 percent of total traffic; we seem to be 4 percent more useful to our regular visitors. Average length of visit also increased from FY03 to FY04 by just over three and one-half minutes, either we are more robust or harder to navigate. The most requested pages were the clearinghouse (discussed below) portal, the conferences and courses information page, the TRANSIMS page and the links.

Email list

The TMIP email list had an average of 537 subscribers in FY 04. There was a slight change in composition when in December we asked subscribers to "re-up." At that point our subscribers dropped from 780 to 550, unfortunately a software glitch caused the "cleaning" to run again in January, knocking the list down to 404, at which point the cleaning effort was abandoned. Since January the list grew at monthly rate of 1 - 8 percent and in September had 533 subscribers. Subscriptions were not tracked for all of FY03, but for the period tracked the list averaged 748 subscribers.

List traffic in FY 04 averaged about 48 messages per month, original postings made about a third of traffic and replies the other two thirds. In FY 03 the original posting vs. response split was roughly the same but total traffic averaged only about 33 messages per month.

Chart that indicates the level of activity on the email list for fiscal years 2003 and 2004.

Postings ranged from tech transfer discussions to requests for papers and abstracts to course and conference announcements to job postings. The list can be a hotbed of controversy and each issue of the TMIPConnection summarizes a hot topic that came up since the last issue.

Clearinghouse (Briefing Book 1)

The TMIP clearinghouse is both physical and virtual. There are 35 titles available in both downloadable and order and ship format. Most documents, however, are either one or the other. There are 221 web-only documents and 19 print-only. The sheer numbers represented by electronic hits to electronically available documents dwarf the numbers representing paper copies of documents requested and shipped therefore it is necessary to treat the two subjects separately.

Physical

There are 60 titles physically available from the TMIP Clearinghouse. In FY04 the TMIP Clearinghouse showed 20% growth in demand for printed, mailed material from the previous year. The clearinghouse shipped 966 documents in 131 orders, compared to 771 documents shipped in 109 orders in FY '03. Our biggest customer base was again private/consultant, followed closely by State Governments and Education/Research.

The most popular document remains the Introduction to Travel Demand Forecasting Self Instruction CD-ROM with 82 requests shipped from the clearinghouse in addition to the hundreds dispersed at conferences and meetings throughout the year. In addition, the self instructional CD is mailed to all registered students of Introduction to Travel Demand Forecasting NHI Course and in 2005 we will be sending it to Estimating Regional Mobile Source Emissions registrants as well. The table below shows the top ten most requested documents physically shipped from the TMIP clearinghouse. This information does not reflect the electronic hits or downloads of documents available electronically.

FY'04 Top Ten Number Shipped Rank FY03
1. Travel Demand Forecasting Self Instructional CD-ROM 82 2
2. Travel Survey Manual 38
3. Model Validation and Reasonableness Checking Manual 37 1
4. Incorporating Feedback in Travel Forecasting: Methods, Pitfalls, and Common Concerns 37 7
5. Integrated Transportation and Land Use Forecasting: Sensitivity Tests of Alternative Model Systems Configuration 34 8
6. Land Use Forecasting Case Studies: A Synthesis and Summary 31 9
7. Data Collection and Modeling Requirements for Assessing Transportation Impacts of Micro-Scale Design 29 3
8. Guidelines for Network Representation of Transit Access, State of the Practice Summary 27
9. Activity Based Modeling Systems for Travel Demand Forecasting 27 4
10. Time-of-Day Modeling Procedures State-of-the-Art, State-of-the-Practice 26 4

Electronic

Of the 256 documents available for downloading or web viewing we have statistics only for the top 18. This is because we collect ranked information on page hits only down to 60th. Our site does not aggregate statistics for multiple page hits within a single document, therefore only 18 documents are represented in the top 60, with the other 42 "top pages" representing chapters within those documents in the top 18.

Top Web Documents Viewed (FY03-04)

  1. Urban Transportation Planning In the United States: An Historical Overview
  2. GIS in Transportation Planning & Case Studies
  3. Model Validation and Reasonableness Checking Manual
  4. Quick Response Freight Manual: Final Report
  5. Considering Safety in the Transportation Planning Process
  6. Activity-Based Travel Forecasting Conference Proceedings
  7. Manual of Regional Transportation Modeling Practice for Air Quality Analysis
  8. Land Use Compendium
  9. Calibration of Traffic Forecasting Models in Small Urban Areas
  10. Population Forecasting Methods: A Report on Forecasting and Estimating Methods

Top Web Documents Viewed (FY02-03)

  1. Urban Transportation Planning In the United States: An Historical Overview
  2. GIS in Transportation Planning & Case Studies
  3. Considering Safety in the Transportation Planning Process
  4. Model Validation and Reasonableness Checking Manual
  5. Land Use Compendium
  6. Quick Response Freight Manual: Final Report

Training

Map that highlights the training locations in fiscal year 2004.

FY04 saw ten TMIP seminars and nine TMIP endorsed NHI courses, delivering training to 419 individuals.

Course or Seminar Presented FY04 FY03 Presentations Attendance FY04 FY03 Attendance
Introduction to Travel Demand Forecasting Course 6 7 121 149
Estimating Regional Mobile Source Emissions Course 3 2 51 38
Activity and Tour-Based Modeling Seminar 4 0 103 0
Forecasting Land-use Activities Seminar 3 3 71 85
Travel Model Validation, Calibration and Reasonableness Checking Seminar 3 3 73 85
TOTAL 19 13 419 357

A highlight of FY04 training was the successful launch and delivery of a new seminar, Activity and Tour-Based Modeling. Traditionally the seminars have been sponsored, paid for and presented to the user community by TMIP. Recently there have been requests for more offerings of the seminars than those for which we have programmed funding. These requests led us to develop an "on-demand delivery" capability, not previously conceived, for the seminars. On-demand requests are paid for by the requestors. Work began in FY04 to deliver 3 seminars on demand in FY05, we also anticipate delivering each seminar three times in FY05, beyond any on-demand requests.

Pie chart that describes the type of organization training attendees work for.

TMIP training reaches a wide spectrum of skill levels, agencies and industries.

Peer Exchanges (Briefing Book 26)

Three Peer Exchanges were planned and programmed in FY04 for delivery in FY05. The topics are: Activity Data Transferability, Pricing and Tolling Analysis and Transportation Planning Safety Analysis.

Activity Data Transferability (Scheduled for 12/16/04)

Data requirements to develop and implement activity, tour-based, and micro-simulation modeling approaches can be prohibitively expensive to collect for many planning agencies. These approaches require additional and more specialized data on travel activity patterns. Increasingly, however, peer reviewers and planning agencies themselves are viewing activity and tour-based models as desirable and implementable techniques. To support additional implementations of such models and to be more efficient with data collection funds, it would be desirable to look at ways in which activity patterns could be shared across urban areas. A select number of areas have conducted activity-based surveys, and FHWA continues its NHTS data collection effort. The focus of this forum would be to assemble experts in activity and tour-based modeling and data collection and analysis to discuss and debate the issue of activity data and pattern transferability.

Pricing and Tolling Analysis (Being conducted by USDOT – OST – Scheduled for spring 2005)

Planning agencies face the challenge of incorporating pricing and tolling strategies into their traditional technical planning analyses in order to evaluate potential impacts to the transportation system. The purpose of the Expert Forum is to:

The commission of technical papers and subsequent publication will accompany this forum.

Transportation Planning Safety Analysis (Subject to availability of funds)

Planning agencies have continually been developing and refining their role in transportation safety. Several projects completed recently have been focused on the consideration of safety in the transportation planning process, but much work still remains in developing and applying evaluation methods and tools to support this consideration. The focus of this forum will be to:

This forum will build on the NCHRP project 8-44, "Incorporating Safety into Long-Range Transportation Planning", and the TMIP projects "Considering Safety in the Transportation Planning Process" and "Tools for Assessing Safety Impact of Long-Range Transportation Plans in Urban Areas."

In addition to the three programmed exchanges, the TMIP review panel recommended five additional subjects for Peer Exchanges (the panel recommended pricing and tolling analysis, the other two above were generated at other sources). The five topics are:

Goal Two "To develop and improve analytical methods that respond to the needs of planning and environmental decision making processes"

Research needs assessment (Briefing Book 4)

TMIP's original short-term research needs are complete. New challenges and priorities continue to press the transport profession. Reauthorization discussions are underway with a renewed emphasis on strategic research programs.

This project will evaluate research needs and their contexts identified during recent conferences. An outreach effort to identify current and emerging needs and priorities will be done through partner groups, including the TMIP review panel, the AMPO travel modeling subcommittee, NARC, AASHTO SCOP, and others. Efforts underway and planned by other research programs, notably TCRP and NCHRP, will be considered. Finally, coordination and integration with FSHRP efforts needs to be done.

A draft of the Task 1 practitioner needs is complete and will be presented for discussion at the November 2004 panel meeting. Prioritization of the practitioner needs will be done after the panel meeting and the Task 2 literature review for the high priority needs will begin.

TRANSIMS (Briefing Book 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19)

We continue to work on the implementation of TRANSIMS in Portland, Oregon. We are nearing completion of our testing of the microsimulator and demonstrating the ability to use TRANSIMS to perform region-wide traffic simulations using traditional MPO networks. We have also made modifications to the software to correct for problems of lost vehicles and have reduced the number of lost vehicles to a reasonable amount. We have specified a complete "Gen2" model which uses TRANSIMS capability to explicitly include time of day within the travel forecasting process. We are now in the process of calibrating the destination choice and mode choice components. We expect to begin testing the entire model set, including feedback of individual travelers, early in 2005.

TELUS (Briefing Book 14)

The TELUS System has been completed and has been made available to MPOs and State DOTs. A web-based version of TELUS has been developed and has been implemented by the Alabama DOT. This provides a methods to compile the TIPs from each MPO in Alabama into a centralized data base using TELUS.

Accounting for Commercial Vehicles in Urban Transportation Models Study (Briefing Book 11)

The first phase of this TMIP-sponsored study was completed in March, and the final summary report along with more detailed task reports, covering literature review, magnitude and distribution, and methods, parameters and data sources, have been posted on the TMIP clearinghouse web site. In addition, a paper discussing the general findings of the study has been accepted for presentation at the TRB Annual Meeting; a second paper, focusing on estimation methods, is being prepared for presentation at the Planning Applications Conference in Portland, OR. No decision has yet been made on funding for the second phase of this study, which would try to implement the methods in one or more specific case study applications.

The American Community Survey Testing Project (Briefing Book 8, 9 and 10)

The American Community Survey (ACS) testing project is evaluating transportation planning issues and opportunities related to replacing the decennial census "point-in-time" data with data collected using a continuous sample.

Two small research projects using microdata from the 1999-2001 ACS were conducted at the Census Bureau Research Data Centers (RDC). The Seasonality report, using data for Hampden County, MA, did not find seasonal variation in the journey-to-work characteristics. The project on Workplace Geocoding met with difficulty and ended with little analysis. Both reports will be posted on the CTPP "products" page: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/census_issues/ctpp/

This research suggests that the main issue with the ACS is that the samples will be smaller, resulting in lower confidence and reliability, and most importantly, resulting in many fewer home-to-work origin-destination pairs, each with higher weights. The sample sizes in ACS may make TAZ and BG reporting impossible.

As of October 2004, Congress has not yet decided whether or not to fund the ACS for "full implementation." The Census Bureau says they will make a decision by February 2005 of whether to begin implementing a decennial census "long form" for 2010.

Forecasting Person Travel by Time of Day research effort (Briefing Book 13)

This effort will research and document the value structures and decision processes that travelers in the U.S. use to schedule their regular travel and develop forecasting methods based on the research findings. The research will specifically identify trip valuation, prioritization, scheduling and schedule actions in response to changes in transport service availability and quality. This project will:

Task 1 - Schedule Research
This task will describe and define the value systems and decision processes that travelers in the U.S. use to schedule their regular travel. The effort will identify trip valuation, prioritization, scheduling and schedule actions in response to changes in transport service availability and quality. This task is complete.

2. Technology Development
This task will develop aggregate and disaggregate forecasting techniques that implement the schedule research findings and are consistent with the classification structure. These techniques will be sensitive to changes in transport service quality, reliability, and appropriate TDM policies. These techniques will be suitable for use in existing and emerging travel forecasting applications. The trip-based approach is complete. The tour-based approach is under review.

3. Technology Demonstration
The aggregate and disaggregate procedures will be demonstrated using existing networks and socio-demographic data for a given region. The demonstration will include tests involving new transport services, transport service degradation, and a policy change. Comparisons will include base year and sensitivity tests consistent with the classification structure developed during schedule research. DRCOG (Denver) is working to help evaluate the trip-based approach. Negotiations with San Francisco County are underway to gain access to their model and databases.

Goal Three "To develop mechanisms to ensure the quality of technical analysis used to support decision-making and to meet local, state, and federal program requirements"

Travel Model Synthesis (NAS)

We have put a cooperative agreement in place with the National Academy of Sciences for the "Determination of the State of the Practice in Travel Forecasting." The study agreement will determine the state of the practice in travel forecasting and address the following issues:

Panel members are:

Chair Martin Wachs – UC Berkeley
MPO Michael Morris NCTCOG
Dick Walker Portland METRO
Chuck Purvis MTC San Francisco
Guy Rosseau – Atlanta
Ron Eash CATS/Northwestern University
State DOT Mary Lynn Tischer VDOT
Laura Cove NCDOT
Academic Bob Johnston UC Davis
Eric Miller University of Toronto
NAS Tom Deen
Consultant Dick Pratt
George Dresser
Advisory Group Bill Davidson – Parson Brinkerhof
Bill Woodford – AECOM
Tom Rossi – Cambridge Systematics

Certification Checklist for Travel Forecasting Methods

The certification checklist for travel forecasting methods has been posted on the FHWA public website, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/certcheck.cfm, and included in the Certification Handbook used by FHWA/FTA field planners for their triennial certification reviews. The primary purpose of the checklist is to identify those MPOs who may be at risk in order to provide them with technical assistance to improve their travel models, and not to cite them as "correctible actions." Over the summer, FHWA, FTA and the Volpe Center have been conducting regional workshops for our field planners on Certification Reviews, and have stressed the need to address travel forecasting methods as part of the certification review process.

Direct technical assistance

TMIP technical staff, in cooperation with technical staff from FHWA's Office of Planning and FHWA's Resource Center's Planning Technical Service Team, has provided direct technical assistance in reviewing travel forecasting methods used in Long range Transportation Plans, Conformity Determinations, and Environmental Impact Studies. Requests for technical assistance have come from MPOs, States DOTs, FHWA Division Offices, as well as internally from FHWA's Office of Natural & Human Environment and Office of Project Development & Environmental Review. These requests are typically made in response to a lawsuit in which the plaintiff challenges the validity of travel demand forecasts based on some aspect of the forecasting methods or assumptions used.

During FY 2004, technical assistance was provided for a number of projects, including:

Section Three: Lessons learned and future directions

What have we learned?

Based on our activities over the past year, and on input we have received from the TMIP Review Panel and others, it is useful to discuss what lessons we have learned.

Peer Reviews are Important

Our experience with the peer review program has taught us that peer reviews are an excellent new service to the profession and source of programmatic feedback. Agencies have received extremely useful recommendations from peer reviewers. The flexibility built into the program enables the planning agency to focus peer reviewers on a variety of issues, from improvements in their current models, to complete redesigns of their modeling process. Also, TMIP has received valuable feedback from the program synthesis reporting process. Volpe identified several crosscutting areas where TMIP can focus technical assistance, training and research activities. There has been a high level of demand for support for peer reviews, which is anticipated to continue into the next year, with the Baltimore, Detroit and San Francisco MPOs already accepted for participation in the program.

Focus on Model Quality Needed

We have learned this year that we must strengthen our focus on model quality. We have been hearing calls for more attention on model quality for stakeholder groups and the TMIP Panel. TMIP completely agrees and has been initiating and championing efforts to help bring about change in this area. We continue to act as a catalyst for the initiation and conduct of the NAS "Travel Model Synthesis" project, and will be actively engaged with the project as it proceeds (as much as is allowed, per NAS rules). We will also support the implementation of the Certification Checklist into practice by helping provide resources and staff support for the training of Federal field staff. We will also continue our training activities and will attempt to make more information available to practitioners on modeling methods being used through our peer review reports, newsletter articles and email list.

The Future is Uncertain

The lack of a reauthorization bill has created programmatic and funding uncertainty for TMIP. Reauthorization could provide confirmation of the current TMIP strategic direction, or could significantly alter the focus of TMIP. For example, if reauthorization directs that travel model research be conducted as part of FSHRP, TMIP may need to redefine its role. The funding uncertainties stem from piecemeal funding as a result of the numerous continuing resolutions. We have learned over the past year how to maintain operations in such an environment, however the situation inhibits our ability to initiate significant new activities and plan more than a few months in advance.

Where are we going?

Continue Core Activities

TMIP will continue its core activities including our training, clearinghouse, and research support functions. In addition, should funding be made available, we will continue our support of the Peer Review Program, which has become a critical part of our core activities.

Respond to Emerging Needs

TMIP will seek input on emerging travel model issues from our stakeholder groups and the TMIP Review Panel. In the past year, several issues have been identified and we are now in the process of addressing them. For example, we are working with the USDOT Office of the Secretary on a forum on pricing and tolling analysis, to be held early next year. In addition, several forums are planned to address other needs identified such as Transportation impacts on land development, and communicating modeling results to decision makers and the public.

Build Staff Capacity for Federal Review

As more emphasis is being placed on the quality of modeling in the U.S., FHWA has worked to incorporate modeling issues in the transportation planning certification review process. To make this fully effective, it is crucial to train Federal staff on travel modeling issues. To that end, TMIP will support FHWA in increasing training for Federal field staff, particularly on travel modeling basics and their role in ensuring modeling quality.

Track Reauthorization

We will continue to track the reauthorization process and its implications for TMIP and the travel modeling profession.

Appendix A

TMIP Review Panel Meeting Notes for FY 04

The review panel met twice in FY04. Both meetings were highly productive, as they always are! The first meeting was November 20-21, 2003, at that meeting the panel addressed the following issues:

At the May panel meeting there were updates on November issues; the Certification Checklist, TRANSIMS, modeling guidance (recast as Determining the State-of the-Practice in Travel Forecasting Project, which became the Travel Model Synthesis undertaken by TRB/NAS) and the Peer Review Program. New issues discussed were:

Appendix B - Program Mission and Goals

Travel Model Improvement Program

Mission: The Travel Model Improvement Program will:

Do What? Support and empower planning agencies

How? Through leadership, innovation and support of planning analysis improvements

Why? To provide better information to support transportation and planning decisions

Appendix C - Briefing Book

Travel Model Improvement Program
Briefing Book

April 2004

Clearinghouse, Website, and Email List

Manager
Culp

Contractor
TTI

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To deliver information, documents and technologies to model users and facilitate peer exchange.

Description
One of the key functions of the TMIP program is to deliver published research documents, case studies and other useful information to model users. TMIP accomplishes this through its clearinghouse and website.

Clearinghouse activities are continuing. Under the support contract, the clearinghouse is maintained at TTI.

Website activities are also continuing, with routine maintenance being provided by TTI through the new support contract. The TMIP email list is included in this activity. The email list remains very active, providing a forum for peer exchange of planning techniques and information.

Implementation of improvements has been completed.

Status Summary
New Web structure and interface has been implemented, normal maintenance ongoing

Outreach

Marketing Activities

Manager
Culp

Contractor
TTI

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To develop new marketing tools for TMIP

Description
In the past, the TMIP program has not had marketing material available to describe the program and its services to decision makers and planning practitioners. Products will be similar in style for consistency. Materials to be created include:

  1. Program Document - Completed
    Desribes the program, its mission, goals and objectives, what we do to decision makers. Very high level overview.
  2. Conference Exhibit - Completed
    Traveling exhibit for major conferences, meetings. Will be staffed, and include examples of products, brochures and other info for distribution. TMIP was represented at the following 2004 conferences: TRB Annual Mtg 2004, APA Annual Mtg, Upcoming: NARC and AMOP Annual Conferences, TRB 2005.
  3. Updated Newsletter - Completed
    Revised format and standardization. Newsletters are being produced quarterly.
  4. Brochures - Ongoing
    Intended to communicate more specifics about program services, activities such as conferences and seminars, and new products such as reports. Geared to the planner/model user. Have completed the following brochures: TMIP Services, Training in Travel Demand Forecasting. Under Development: De-mystifying TRANSIMS.
  5. Document Cover format - Completed
    New format for all printed and web-publihed TMIP documents

Status Summary
Program document, Exhibit, 2 brochures, document cover complete, 1 brochure pending

Outreach

TMIP Mission, Goals and Objectives

Manager
Culp

Contractor
Staff

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To revise and fully implement TMIP Mission, Goals and Objectives

Description
Revisions to the Mission, Goals and Objectives received at the November 2004 Panel Meeting have been incorporated on the website. Schedule for incorporating revisions into printed materials is unknown, considerations include availability of printing funds and reauthorization.

The 2003 annual report printing has been delayed due to internal review issues, and is expected to be complete by Summer 2004. The 2004 report will be ready for panel review in Fall 2004. Work needs to be done to identify additional performance measures, some with more outcome orientation.

Status Summary
2004 Revisions complete, Implementation ongoing

Outreach

Stakeholder Outreach & Coordination

Manager
Culp

Contractor
Staff

Status
Planned

Project Purpose
To engage stakeholder groups in an ongoing dialogue

Description
This project will establish and maintain contact with primary stakeholder groups for the purposes of marketing TMIP products and services, stakeholder needs analysis, workplan coordination, and program assessment. Primary groups will initally be professional organizations and established model user groups.

Status Summary
Internal discussions are underway to define charter and scope

Outreach

Planning Analysis Training

Manager
Culp

Contractor
Staff/TTI

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To develop and deliver training to planners on planning analysis techniques

Description
This activity includes both contracted and staff activities related to national planning analysis training. Staff activities include coordination of training program, technical oversight and project management, delivery of courses, marketing activities. Contracted activities include development, delivery and marketing.

TMIP currently supports 2 types of training, courses and seminars.

Courses: TMIP assists FHWA and NHI and NTI in the coordination, development and delivery of training courses. Currently, TMIP staff are involved in 5 ongoing courses:

The Surveys and advanced TDF courses have been taken off-line. Advanced TDF is being updated, and options are being explored as to what to do with the Surveys course.

Through the TMIP Support contract, TMIP will host 3 open enrollment courses in FY04. We anticipate hosting 3 courses in FY05.

Seminars: TMIP develops and delivers seminars, which are 1 day technical seminars, free of charge. Typically, TMIP delivers 3 of each seminar per year. The seminars are completely sponsored, organized and funded by TMIP. Currently, TMIP has 3 active seminars: Model Calibration and Validation, and Forecasting Land Use Activities, and Activity and Tour based Modeling. Through the TMIP Support contract there will be 3 deliveries of each seminar in FY04, a total of 9 deliveries. Options for delivering the seminars on-demand are being explored.

Status Summary
Advanced TDF under revision, Activity Based seminar complete, delivery of all training ongoing

Outreach

Oregon TLUMIP

Manager
Culp

Contractor
Staff

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To support the Oregon Model Improvement Program TLUMIP effort

Description
The Oregon Model Improvement Program (OMIP) has initiated work on a new statewide land use and travel demand forecasting model called the Transportation and Land Use Model Integration Program (TLUMIP). To share their results as they build the new model with the wider modeling community, OMIP has held 3 symposia to explain the work being done and receive input from modelers around the world. TMIP is helping this effort by supplying partial funding for the conference and the publishing of conference proceedings. The last conference was conducted in July 2002, with the proceedings available through TMIP. The next TLUMIP conference is scheduled for July 2004.

FY03 funds have been identified to support the 2004 conference.

Status Summary
Conference conducted in July 2002, proceedings available thru clearinghouse, next conf. June 2004

Outreach

Evaluation of American Community Survey for Transportation Planning

Manager
Murakami

Contractor
Westat

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To compare the results of the pilot American Community Survey with decennial Census 2000 Long Form data. This will help inform the transportation community on how to use the ACS data, should the CB implement it beyond the current test.

Description
The Census Bureau plans to replace the decennial census (long form) with a continuous survey approach, now called the American Community Survey. In this approach, a five year accumulation of data will be used in place of the snapshot of data from the decennial census. In this project, ACS data for 1999, 2000, and 2001, from five or six counties will be compared directly with the results of the Census 2000. Data comparisons will be made at the county, place and tract or TAZ level. Statistical tests will determine if there are significant variations between the two data sources, and if patterns of variability such as by population characteristics, such as by race or income, or variability by geographic location can be identified.

Research findings: Travel time distribution and average travel time, and carpool as means of transportation to work were found to have statistically significant differences between decennial 2000 and 1999-2001 ACS results at the county level. Tract level analysis was pursued for San Francisco, CA and Broward County, FL to determine if a pattern could be identified contributing to these differences. Did not find spatial correlation, and did not identify any specific demographic characteristics that correlated with the difference.

Main benefits to the research:

  1. The ACS sample will be smaller than the decennial census long form. This means that there will be fewer O/D pairs in the flow tabulation, with each response having a higher weight. Currently, the ACS plan under "full implementation" is 12.5 percent of housing units in 5 years of ACS surveys, compared to 17 percent of housing units for decennial. This suggests that TAZ definition will need to be re-thought as the transportation community has wanted finer and finer grained geography reported from the Census Bureau, but this will be less appropriate with smaller sample sizes.
  2. For any specific O/D pair, at small geographic tabulation (tract or TAZ), there is a high probability of missing data in any specific year. By having this project, we educated the ACS programming staff about the importance of the O/D pair tabulation and worked out methods for tabulation of flow data for the NCHRP 08-48 project, and future ACS tabulations.

Status Summary
Project has been completed, link to be posted on TMIP website

Research

Seasonality Effects in the American Community Survey

Manager
Murakami

Contractor
Villanova University

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To evaluate whether or not seasonality effects impact the results of the American Community Survey.

Description
The Census Bureau plans to replace the decennial census "long form" with a continuous survey approach, now called the American Community Survey. In this approach, a five year accumulation of data will be used in place of the "snapshot" of data from the decennial census. One of the major differences is that data will be collected over all twelve months of the year, albeit with very small samples collected each month. Results of the 1999, 2000, and 2001 American Community Survey for Hampden County, Massachusetts, are being evaluated by month and year to determine if seasonal effects can be captured with this survey, and how data tabulation might be designed for transportation planners if the ACS is fully implemented by the Census Bureau.

Tests were conducted by month, by calendar quarter and by seasonal quarters. Results did not show any significant differences in travel mode or travel time.

Report is still pending. Paper presented at TRB Annual Meeting 2004 poster session.

Status Summary
Contractor analyzed 1999, 2000, 2001 data, Report in pending.

Research

Workplace Geocoding in the American Community Survey

Manager
Murakami

Contractor
Niemeier

Status
Stopped

Project Purpose
To determine if workplace geocoding in the American Community Survey can be improved with increased local government involvement.

Description
The Census Bureau plans to replace the decennial census "long form" with a continuous survey approach, now called the American Community Survey. In this approach, a five year accumulation of data will be used in place of the "snapshot" of data from the decennial census. The Census Bureau has historically conducted the workplace geocoding, with limited assistance from local government agencies. In this test of data from San Francisco County from 1999, 2000, and 2001 data, there will be an attempt to determine whether or not more direct assistance from a local agency can provide improvements to workplace geocoding, and thus result in improved data for all decennial census data users.

Status Summary
Project cancelled due to budget and management issues

Research

Accounting for Commercial Vehicles in Urban Transportation Models

Manager
Spear

Contractor
Cambridge Systematics

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To develop approaches for measuring and forecasting travel by non-household based commercial vehicles in a metropolitan area.

Description
Current travel demand forecasting models focus primarily on trips made by households. However, a significant number of trips in a metropolitan area are made by commercial vehicles, including package and freight deliveries, tradesmen, taxis, rental cars, school buses, emergency services, etc., which are not fully addressed by household-based travel models. This is a basic research study to identify and classify commercial vehicle travel, to determine the magnitude that commercial vehicles have on traffic congestion, emissions and other transportation impacts, and to develop efficient methods for measuring commercial vehicle impacts in travel demand forecasts.

This project represents Phase 1 of a possible two Phase Study. This Phase will identify and classify commercial vehicle trips, measure the relative contribution of each classification to overall transportation impacts, and identify candidate methods for measuring and forecasting these impacts in travel demand models. Depending on the significance of the impacts identified in Phase 1, a follow-on study will evaluate alternative measurement tools in one or more case study applications, and develop technical guidance for incorporating these tools in travel demand forecasts.

Task 2: A literature review of past research on commercial vehicles was completed in January 2003, and a final report was posted on the TMIP website.

Task 3 investigates the magnitude and distribution of various commercial vehicle categories (e.g., package delivery, taxis, public saferty, etc.) as a percentage of total regional highway traffic. The report was finalized in November 2003, and is being posted to the TMIP website.

Task 4 identifes data sources and methods for measuring and forecasting each of the commercial vehicles categories. The report was finalized in November 2003 and is being posted to the TMIP website.

Status Summary
Task 2, 3, and 4 - Completed; Tasks 3 & 4 currently being posted.

Research

UrbanSim - Salt Lake City Application

Manager
Culp

Contractor
University of Washington

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To communicate the results of a full-scale application of Urbansim to model users

Description
Urbansim is a land use forecasting model developed by the University of Washington. Although the technology is promising, it had not been fully applied and validated in a large urban area, and therefore the validity of the approach was unknown. The MPO in Salt Lake City, Utah has completed an initial application of the Urbansim model. TMIP supported this effort by providing funding the SLC MPO and the University of Washington, to assist in the application and to create a full set of documentation, which would include data collection and assembly, model calibration and validation info. The project is being peer reviewed. The results are useful for the greater planning community, helping practitioners understand what is required to implement the Urbansim model in a large urban area, and also includes peer reviewer recommendations.

The documentation is posted on the UrbanSim website:http://www.urbansim.org/projects/utah/UrbanSim_Final_Report.pdf

Status Summary
Complete, report posted. Link added to the TMIP website.

Research

Forecasting Person Travel by Time of Day

Manager
Gardner

Contractor
Cambridge Systematics

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To develop understanding and methods for forecasting traveler schedule responses to Purposecongestion and policy changes.

Description
This effort will research and document the value structures and decision processes that travelers in the U.S. use to schedule their regular travel and develop forecasting methods based on the research findings. The research will specifically identify trip valuation, prioritization, scheduling and schedule actions in response to changes in transport service availability and quality. This project will:

  1. Develop a classification structure for the decision processes that travelers use to schedule their regular travel. - first version complete
  2. Develop innovative aggregate and disaggregate modeling techniques that dynamically adjust person travel by time of day according to changes in transport service availability, quality and policy. - data identification continues. Metdhod development underway
  3. Demonstrate the techniques using available data - data identification continues
  4. Develop materials for practitioner implementation and stakeholder information on the research findings, classification structure, methods, and demonstration results.

The work will proceed in three primary tasks:

  1. Schedule Research
    This task will describe and define the value systems and decision processes that travelers in the U.S. use to schedule their regular travel. The effort will identify trip valuation, prioritization, scheduling and schedule actions in response to changes in transport service availability and quality.
  2. Technology Development
    This task will develop aggregate and disaggregate forecasting techniques that implement the schedule research findings and are consistent with the classification structure. These techniques will be sensitive to changes in transport service quality, reliability, and appropriate TDM policies. These techniques will be suitable for use in existing and emerging travel forecasting applications
  3. Technology Demonstration
    The aggregate and disaggregate procedures will be demonstrated using existing networks and socio- demographic data for a given region. The demonstration will include tests involving new transport services, transport service degradation, and a policy change. Comparisons will include base year and sensitivity tests consistent with the classification structure developed during schedule research.

Status Summary
Trip based method under review; activity based method in design; case study selection underway.

Research

TELUS

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
NJ Institute of Technology

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
Information System to Assist MPOs in Managing the TIP

Description
Develop a management information and decision support system for use by MPOs and State DOTs in developing SIPs and TIPs

The project has developed a user friendly data base management system to track projects in the TIP. The system will support MPOs and state DOTs in developing the TIP and in displaying the information for anyone interested. The system has been completed and is currently being distributed. An econometric model to forecast the impact of transportation expenditures on the regional economy has also been developed.

TELUS has been completed and has been distributed free of charge to MPOs and State DOTs. Currently a web based version of TELUS is underdevelopment. Web TELUS will enable TELUS to be used on a statewide basis.

The TELUS program also sponsors the development of a user friendly land use model. The land use model is described in a separate write-up.

Status Summary
TELUS has been completed and is now available free of charge. See project description

Research

TRANSIMS Software Commercialization

Manager
Gardner

Contractor
IBM Business Services

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To develop a user friendly, commercial version of TRANSIMS

Description
This project is using the core software technology developed by LANL to develop a commercial, next-generation travel forecasting and simulation package. Key products include:

User Support - FHWA sponsored installations of TRANSIMS will continue to be provided with technical support.

TRANSIMS Server - A framework and programming interface for managing data files, configuration keys and running the LANL core technology on a Linux cluster. The server software has been enhanced to run on a single Linux PC as well as a cluster of computers.

Model User Interface - A user interface for managing project data and accessing the TRANSIMS server using common graphical user interface components such as pull down menus and dialog boxes. Windows and Linux versions are available. A demonstration of using the model user interface to access a TRANSIMS server over the internet from multiple locations has been completed.

Network Editor - Using GIS technology from Intergraph and integrated with DB2, this tool is currently available and in use at several locations. Work to improve the network editor is underway.

Visualizer - Using 4D technology from Balfour, this tool will support exploration and analysis of large time series data sets using animations and graphical representations. Updates of the visualizer are underway.

Utilities - As needed, tools will be developed and incorporated into the TRANSIMS suite to add new functionality or increase workflow efficiency. Utilities for migrating networks, debugging networks, and validating microsimulation results are in development to support deployment in Portland.

Status Summary
Remote hosting complete. Software modifications identified and underway for all wrapper components

Research

TRANSIMS Training - Introduction to the Theory and Application of TRANSIMS

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
Develop a five day training course on TRANSIMS

Description
The course is currently under development by Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The course will include classroom and computer training on each of the TRANSISM modules as well as working through a small sample problem illustrating TRANSIMS capabilities. The course will stress the TRANSIMS theory and application. In addition to supporting the course offerings, the course materials will be useful as stand alone descriptions of TRANSIMS.

The first pilot orffering took place in May of 2003. Modifications based on the first offering have begun and a second pilot will occur June 14 to June 18, 2004.

The course materials and supporting software will be publicly available.

Status Summary
First pilot held May, 2003. Revisions underway. Second pilot Spring 2004

Outreach

TRANSIMS - Blacksburg Demonstration

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
IBM Business Services

Status
Completed

Project Purpose
Develop a small scale TRANSIMS demonstration

Description
This will prepare a demonstration version of TRANSIMS based on a data set from Blacksburg, Virginia. The data set will cover all streets in Blacksburg and will illustrate a hypothetical application of TRANSIMS. The data set will be used to demonstrate TRANSIMS capability and will be able to run on a single processor. Potential applications include testing TRANSIMS functionality, demonstrating TRANSIMS at conferences or other venues, and demonstrating TRANSIMS capability within DOT or to other federal agencies

The project is complete. The data set is suitable for training on the TRANSIMS Router and Microsimulator. It can also be used to demonstrate the visualizer and network editor.

The data set will be made publicly available.

Status Summary
Project Complete, data set available

Research

TRANSIMS - Analysis of the Impact of Simulation on Emissions Estimates

Manager
Gardner

Contractor
AECOM

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
Evaluate the sensitivities of emission models; Identify strategies for normalizing non-regulatory models with regulatory models; Develop guidance on using TRANSIMS and other simulation models for emissions analysis.

Description
This project has two objectives:

  1. Develop methods to modify traditional planning networks for use in TRANSIMS
  2. Develop methods to combine the TRANSIMS emissions model with EPA's Mobile6 for emissions analysis.

Network simulations produce information on a second-second basis for 7.5 meter segments of highway. The current emission models require information on an hourly basis by link. This project will investigate methods to aggregate network simulations to become input to Mobile 6, and methods to combine results of the TRANSIMS emissions model with Mobile6. This takes advantage of the TRANSIMS capability to analyze the effect of changes in traffic operations on emissions and of the Mobile 6 capability to analyze the effect of vehicle technology changes on emissions. EPA is a funding partner for this project. The project will use the current Portland travel forecasting network along with existing trip tables, converted to TRANSIMS format, for analysis.

The first task will be to identify aggregation levels of simulation output and compare model sensitivities to the different aggregation levels.

The second task will examine model sensitivities to various vehicle operating conditions

The third task will develop approaches for integrating simulated emissions with MOBILE6 estimates.

The final task of this project will develop guidance materials for practitioners.

Current Status: We have completed initial traffic assignments and have developed methods to aggregate results for input to Mobile6. Initial runs of TRANSIMS with Mobile6 have demonstrated that aggregation methods will influence emissions estimates. We have also developed prelimiary recommendations on the most appropriate method to use TRANSIMS and Mobile6 for Emissions Analysis. These methods are tentative and subject to further research. We have briefed EPA staff on results to date and expect to brief EPA staff on final results in late Summer.

Status Summary
Currently running assignments and debugging the network. See project description.

Research

TRANSIMS - Portland

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
Various

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
Develop Travel forecasting Model in Portland Using TRANSIMS

Description
Using TRANSIMS, this project will develop a person based, tour based travel forecasting simulation of the Portland Region

The deployment in Portland will demonstrate TRANSIMS capability to model Portland conditions. The deployment will be conducted in a manner which fully documents the data preparation, model development and software development. A group of external reviewers will periodically provide user feedback to DOT on the Portland model development.

The Portland application of TRANSIMS consists of two parts:

Track 1 – Network analysis using the Router and Microsimulator
Status – We are currently working toward 100% assignments of traffic on the Portland all streets network, 125,000 links. As the network becomes more congested errors are identified in network coding and corrections made. In the process of Track 1 we have identified simplified methods of network coding and other techniques which will support future applications of TRANSIMS.

We have also developed simulations using Portland's current travel forecacasing network, 7000 links. We have simulated 100% of vehicles and are currently addressing lost vehicle issues (Lost vehicles occur in all microsimulations).

Track 2 – Develop travel forecasting model using full TRANSIMS capability
Status – We have specified the population generation and have tested a tour based model which uses existing activity survey data and current trip distribution models. A mode split model has also been specified. We have linked the synthesizer, activity and location choice models and mode choice models. Duting May we expect to begin running these models in combination with the Router and Microsimulator.

There are five contractors in the Portland deployment:
Model implementation - Portland METRO
Oversight Support - AECOM
Software Support - IBM (Formerly Pricewaterhouse)
Core Technology Ssupport - LANL
Technical Working Group (User Feedback) - TTI and DOT staff

Status Summary
See narrative for status

Research

TRANSIMS Portland - Implementation

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
METRO

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
Implement TRANSIMS at Portland METRO

Description
METRO will implement TRANSIMS. METRO will provide the computer system, prepare data, make computer runs, identify problems, notify appropriate contractors of problems and provide staff for overall development of the Portland TRANSIMS model.

Status Summary
METRO now implementing TRANSIMS

Research

TRANSIMS Portland - Oversight Support

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
AECOM

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To provide oversight and documentation of the Portland application of TRANSIMS

Description
The contractor will provide ongoing support to the DOT and METRO for the implementation of TRANSIMS in Portland. The support will include technical support, documentation of model specifications, documentation of procedures developed and assistance in the development of software procedures where necessary.

Status Summary
Working with METRO to develop model specifications. Documenting survey data and network preparation

Research

TRANSIMS Portland - Software Support

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
IBM Business Services

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
Provide Software Support for the TRANSIMS DOT, including the Wrapper, Microsimulator and Visualizer

Description
TRANSIMS DOT is the commercial version of TRANSIMS.

This includes installation of TRANSIMS DOT in Portland, training on the use of TRANSIMS DOT, training for system administrators and ongoing support for the installation and implementation of TRANSIMS DOT.

Status Summary
TRANSIMS DOT installed in Portland, support being provided

Research

TRANSIMS Portland - Core Technology Support

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
Los Alamos National Lab

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
Support changes to TRANSIMS core technology

Description
The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will provide ongoing support to the implementation of the TRANSIMS core technology in Portland. This includes identifying and fixing bugs in the TRANSIMS core software, assisting with implementation of the software and providing technical advice on the development of a model for Portland.

Status Summary
LANL has provided ongoing support.

Research

TRANSIMS Portland - Technical Working Group

Manager
Ducca

Contractor
TTI

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
Provide external feedback on the application of TRANSIMS in Portland

Description
A group of experts representing the consulting, academic and application community will provide periodic feedback on the development of the Portland application of TRANSIMS. Current members of the group are:

Thomas Rossi - Cambridge Systematics
David Kurth - Parsons Transportaiton Group
Ron Eash - Northwestern University, formerly of CATS
Larry Rilett - Texas A&M University
Joseph Schofer - Northwestern University and TMIP Review Panel
Eric Miller - University of Toronto

Status Summary
Second meeting March '03. Supportive of Microsimulation approach and model design.

Quality

Characteristics of Urban Travel Models

Manager
Culp

Contractor
TTI

Status
Stopped

Project Purpose
To assemble and disseminate information on travel forecasting techniques in practice

Description
An important part in initiating model improvements is establishing what techniques are being used in other areas and their associated costs. For this purpose, planning agencies need information on the state of the practice in travel forecasting. Information on different modeling approaches being applied in areas around the country is not currently available in one place, meaning agencies desiring that information must contact other agencies directly.

The focus of this effort was to collect information from planning agencies on techniques being used in their areas, organize the information in a user-friendly way, and make it readily available. It was detremined in the Fall of 2003 that a more appropriate way to accomplish this task was to approach NAS to manage and conduct a Modeling Synthesis project. The "Characteristics" project has subsequently been discontinued.

Status Summary
Project discontinued. Replaced by NAS "State-of-the-practice" project

Quality

Peer Exchanges

Manager
Culp

Contractor
Volpe

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To facilitate the exchange of best practices in planning analysis

Description
Peer Exchanges, as referred to here, are facilitated meetings, where experts on a subject share ideas and approaches. The results and recommendations of the exchange are documented. Through this activity, TMIP will host peer exchanges on focused technical topics and document the results for distribution through the TMIP website and clearinghouse. The first peer exchange was held in October 2002 on "The Use of Expert Panels in Developing Land Use Forecasts". Participants from around the country shared different approaches and applications of the technique. Documentation from the exchange was completed. Two peer exchanges are anticipated in FY04, one on systemwide safety analysis techniques, the other on modeling pricing and tolling.

Status Summary
First peer exchange was conducted (Oct 02), 2 planned in FY04 (safety analysis, pricing)

Quality

Peer Review Support

Manager
Culp

Contractor
Volpe

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To support planning agency peer reviews through funding assistance

Description
Peer reviews are conducted by planning agencies to solicit input from their peers regarding improvements to the planning techniques in use in their areas. This process is essential for areas to understand what techniques are in practice, and also what techniques would be suitable for application.

This project establishes a program to support areas in conducting peer reviews by supplying funding for the activity. TMIP solicits proposals for peer review support from planning agencies, evaluates the proposals, and funds approved proposals. Funding is to be applied to travel and per diem costs of panel members. Other costs are borne by the hosting planning agency.

TMIP has awarded funding to seven agencies: SCAG, ARC, OKI, IA DOT, NC DOT, DRCOG, and AMATS (Anchorage). DRCOG and SCAG have applied for multiple meetings. A total of 8 meetings have been completed. Work is ongoing to improve web interface for peer review program. A summary report will be completed in Summer 2004, higlighting the peer review program, identifying common issues or recommendations, providing program feedback and/or future directions.

Status Summary
7 awards made, 8 mtgs. have been conducted. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Quality

Training for Federal Staff

Manager
Culp

Contractor
Staff

Status
Ongoing

Project Purpose
To provide training on planning technical analysis geared for Federal field staff

Description
Federal field staff (FHWA,FTA and EPA) are often asked to determine the suitability or reasonableness of planning technical analyses used by MPOs and DOTs in support of Federal approvals (Long range plan, TIP, conformity determinations). The staff does this often without any background in land use or travel forecasting methods. The focus of this effort is to provide an appropriate level of training to Federal field staffs on planning analysis. The training is mainly geared towards quality control/reasonableness checks. The goal is to provide adequate training so that staff can make more informed Federal decisions and become more actively involved in analysis work at planning agencies.

Status Summary
Workshop has been developed, no deliveries currently planned.

Quality

Appendix D - Newsletters

18, 20

Updated: 03/28/2014
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