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Activity-Based Modeling Resources At a Glance

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October 2012

TMIP Activity-Based Modeling Webinar Series

TMIP recently sponsored a webinar series on Activity-Based Modeling including three (3) non-technical sessions for managers and nine (9) technical sessions for travel model practitioners as listed below. Presentation slides and session recordings are not available online. Summaries are available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tmip/community/webinars/summaries/. Contact Sarah Sun for more information.

  1. Executive Session
  2. Management Session - Institutional
  3. Management Session - Technical
  4. Activity-Based Model Frameworks and Techniques
  5. Population Synthesis and Household Evolution
  6. Accessibility and Treatment of Space
  7. Long-Term Location and Mobility Models
  8. Activity Pattern Generation
  9. Scheduling and Time of Day Choice
  10. Tour Mode, Intermediate Stop Location, Trip Mode
  11. Network Integration
  12. Forecasting, Performance Measures & Software

An Instructor's Manual will be posted on TMIP website at the conclusion of the series

Activity-Based Modeling References

The following list of select references represents the latest and most relevant literature on the development, estimation and application of activity-based models (ABMs). These references may be of use to any agency considering the adoption of activity-based modeling systems.

Resource Systems Group. (2012). The ARC and SACOG Experience with

Activity-Based Model: Synthesis and Lessons Learned.Washington, D.C.: Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Resource Systems Group, Shapiro Transportation Consulting and Urban Analytics. (2011). Advanced Travel Modeling Study: Final Report.Washington DC: Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Ferdous, N., Bhat, C., Vana, L., Schmitt, D., Bradley, M., & Pendyala, R. (2011). Comparison of Four-Step versus Tour-Based Models in Predicting Travel Behavior Before and After Transportation System Changes--Results, Interpretation and Recommendations.Ohio Department of Transportation Office of Research and Development; U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration; Center for Transportation Research, University of Texas, Austin.

Donnelly, R., Erhardt, G. D., Moeckel, R., & Davidson, W. A. (2010). NCHRP

Synthesis 406: Advanced Practices in Travel Forecasting: A Synthesis of Highway Practice.Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board.

Activity-Based Models in the U.S.

The map below illustrates the regions of the country where activity-based models have been adopted by the planning agency and their development and application status. Note, Oregon DOT and Ohio DOT have implemented statewide activity-based models.

Title: Activity-Based Models in the Unite States - Description: The figure shows a map of the United States showing the 13 states across the US where activity based travel models have been developed. The map shows the urbanized areas with planning agencies that have AB models in various stages of development (under development, development complete and in-production). Under development: Portland, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Philadelphia Development complete: Seattle, Lake Tahoe, Fresno, Phoenix, Burlington In-Production: Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, Columbus, Atlanta, New York

Is An Activity-Based Model Right For Your Agency?

Activity-based models can take advantage of a much wider range of data than trip-based models, and are more complex as a result. They produce a richer dataset for analysis, but that data requires knowledgeable staff to summarize and interpret effectively. Custom software, and sometimes hardware solutions that include distributed computing, can also be required to apply activity-based models. Taking all of this into consideration, you may be wondering whether an activitybased model is right for your agency. Taking a big-picture perspective, there are some fundamental questions that an agency should ask when considering whether to "take the plunge" towards an activity-based model system.

Big Picture Questions for Taking the Plunge

Source: Jerry Everett, "Triangle Regional Model Expert Panel Review: Summary Report", November 17-18, 2011

Factors for Self-Assessment

The checklists below are designed to help an agency perform a self-assessment as to whether adoption of an activity-based modeling system is appropriate.

Staff Experience Checklist
Skill Sets Need for Activity Model Need for Trip-Based Model
Facility with simulation programming and outputs Essential Not necessary
Knowledge of discrete choice model structures, behavior, utility theory Essential Desirable
GIS manipulation of land use parcel data Essential/Desirable Desirable
SQL scripting and database manipulation Essential/Desirable Not necessary
Policy Tests Checklist
Policy Tests Use an Activity Model? Use a Trip Model?
Pricing strategies Yes Limited
Non-motorized investments Yes No
Transit oriented development Yes No
Transit schedules Yes, round trips Yes, one-way
Transit fare policies Yes Limited
Travel demand management programs Most No
Transportation systems management* Yes No
Equity evaluations Yes No
Impacts of Interest Checklist
Impacts of Interest Use an Activity Model? Use a Trip Model?
Induced Demand Yes No
Emissions for a Household Yes No
Peak spreading Yes No
Travel time variability* Yes Limited
Start/stop emissions by time of day Yes No
Vehicle type and choice Yes No
Equity by income group Yes No

*Addressing travel time variability and systems management requires a very detailed and realistic supply-side network model (dynamic traffic assignment or preferably microsimulation).

Updated: 05/13/2014
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