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Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) Travel Model Peer Review Report

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Disclaimer

The views expressed in this document do not represent the opinions of FHWA and do not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or specification by FHWA. The document is based solely on the discussions that took place during the peer review sessions and supporting technical documentation provided by Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC).

1.2 Acknowledgements

The FHWA wishes to acknowledge and thank the peer review panel members for volunteering their time to participate in the peer review of the TRPC travel demand model (TDFM) and for sharing their valuable experience.

The Peer Review Panel Members were:

Brief biographies for each of the peer review panel members are presented in Appendix C.

1.3 Report Purpose

This report summarizes the results of a peer review of the current TRPC travel model and TRPC's draft model improvement work plan. The peer review was supported by the Travel Model Improvement Program (TMIP) sponsored by FHWA. Given the increasing complexities of travel demand forecasting practice and the growing demands by decision-makers for information about policy alternatives, it is essential that travel forecasting practitioners have the opportunity to share experiences and insights. The TMIP-supported peer review provides a forum for this knowledge exchange.

The peer review of a travel model can serve multiple purposes; this review focused on recommendations for model enhancements given TRPC's overall goals. Those goals included being able to execute a model improvement effort motivated by a desire to have a model representing the state-of-the-practice in travel forecasting--a model that equips the agency, its policy board, and local jurisdictions for informed decision-making in the region. TRPC looked to the review panel for advice on a systematic approach to model enhancements and technical guidance on modeling processes to address its key analytic needs.

To that end, the peer reviewers spent one day (with web-based pre-meeting) responding to specific questions from TRPC and its planning partners. The results of that discussion in the form of observations from the panel are presented here. TRPC and its partner agencies should carefully assess the feedback from the peers when prioritizing its final model development plan. While the advice of the peers is invaluable, there are many factors to work through when considering a model improvement strategy: the peer recommendations should be regarded as suggestions for TRPC and its partners to consider rather than prescriptions to be followed.

1.4 Report Organization

This report is organized into the following sections:

  1. Introduction - introduces the peer review panel and this resulting report
  2. Overview of TRPC - gives an introduction to the demographics, land use and transportation characteristics of the region, TRPC's planning responsibilities, and the agency's goals for the peer review.
  3. Development of the TRPC TDFM - this section provides a historical context of travel modeling at TRPC, including past and current model versions.
  4. TRPC Model Improvement Plan -- TRPC's draft model improvement program.
  5. Topics of Interest to TRPC - an assessment of TRPC's future analytical needs and related topics of interest about potential model improvements.
  6. Peer review panel response to TRPC questions - review panel responses to the TRPC questions posed in their application for the peer review.
  7. Panel Discussion and Recommendations -- panel's recommendations to TRPC organized as a potential action plan.

In addition, the report includes Number of Appendices:

Appendix A - list of peer review participants

Appendix B - peer review meeting agenda

Appendix C - biographies for each of the peer review panel members

Appendix D - summary of the current TRPC TDFM and data sources

Updated: 3/25/2014
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