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FHWA Resource Center

PLANNING TEAM

Travel Forecasting: Training and Technical Assistance

Under federal law, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are charged with developing transportation plans and programs to accommodate mobility needs for persons and goods within their regions. To this end, the MPOs estimate future travel demand and analyze the impacts of alternative transportation investment scenarios using computerized travel demand forecasting models.

The demands on forecasting models have grown significantly in recent years as a result of new policy concerns. MPOs are required by federal law to consider in their planning process how projects and strategies will affect a wide variety of policy concerns. Requirements specific to modeling include estimating motor vehicle emissions (which depends on estimating speeds and traffic volumes by time of day), estimating new travel generated by adding new capacity, evaluating alternative land use policies, and estimating freight movement and nonmotorized trips.

The Resource Center Planning Team offers introductory short-courses on travel forecasting (2-hour and one day overview sessions) in addition to specialized workshops on statewide models (one-day workshop) and data sources used for freight forecasting and analysis (2-hour webinar). Resource Center staff also provides technical support to state and local agencies on the application of models, and have assisted state and local agencies on efforts related to analytical reporting and evaluation of model outputs and have assisted in efforts to improve models for both regional and project-level evaluations. For additional information, please contact Eric Pihl (eric.pihl@fhwa.dot.gov).

Additional course offerings are provided by the National Highway Institute and the Travel Model Improvements Program – which currently supports agencies interested in outside “peer” reviews of forecasting methods. For more information, please contact Sarah Sun (sarah.sun@fhwa.dot.gov).

Travel Demand Forecasting Training:
Introduction to Urban Travel Demand Forecasting (NHI - 152054)--Provides an overview of the traditional four-step planning process of trip generation, trip distribution, mode choice and traffic assignment. Also reviews the development of land use forecasts, network and zone structures and use of Geographic Information Systems. Length: 4 days. For more information, go to www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov and tmip.dot.gov.

Multimodal Travel Forecasting (NTI)--Provides an overview of multimodal travel forecasting, techniques and approaches. Reviews available data and procedures. Length: 3 days. For more information, go to www.ntionline.com.

Travel Demand Forecasting Seminar--Tailored to audience requirements (topics and length), provides a general overview of travel demand forecasting, especially the traditional four-step model. Reviews the uses and applications of forecasts for planning purposes and highlights noteworthy practices and techniques. Length: 1 day. For more information, contact brian.betlyon@dot.gov or eric.pihl@dot.gov.

Introduction to Travel Demand Forecasting: A Webinar for FHWA Planners--A two hour web-based version of the one-day workshop on travel forecasting targeted to the needs of FHWA field planners. The Field Planners Travel Demand Modeling Workshop is organized around the “Checklist for Travel Forecasting Methods” used in federal certifications reviews. This interactive session will help field planners understand: why travel demand modeling is important, how to assess the health of a model, and how to assure a healthy model is properly applied. For more information contact eric.pihl@dot.gov.

Model Validation and Reasonableness Checking Seminar--Offered through the Travel Model Improvement Program, explains and demonstrates the process for estimating, calibrating and validating regional travel forecast models with base year data. Length: 1 day. For more information, go to tmip.dot.gov.

Uses of Multimodal Freight Forecasting in Transportation Planning (NHI 139002)--This course provides participants with an overview of freight forecasting and describes different forecasting techniques for facility-specific, metropolitan, and statewide needs. The course identifies freight planning questions that are commonly addressed by transportation planners, demonstrates the use and value of different freight forecasting techniques to answer those questions, and reviews notable practices of freight forecasting techniques used by metropolitan and State transportation agencies. Length: 3 days. For more information, go to www.ntionline.com.

Travel Demand Forecasting Technical Assistance--Tailored to customer requirements (length and topics), Resource Center and HQ specialists provide a
wide variety of technical assistance related to travel demand forecasting and planning analysis, including topics such as: model calibration, data sources and collection, analysis methods, land use forecasting, activity based models and the traditional 4-step process . Technical assistance can include reviews of corridor studies, Environmental Impact Statements, etc. Length: Depends on customer needs. For more information, contact eric.pihl@dot.gov or brian.betlyon@dot.gov.

Statewide Travel Forecasting Workshop--Provides State DOT, MPO, and other transportation planning practitioners an overview of statewide travel demand forecasting models, how these models are used to analyze transportation issues and policies at the State level and the interaction with MPO travel demand models. This workshop also provides information and insight to State DOTs that are considering the development or revision of these models. Length: 1 day. For more information, contact eric.pihl@dot.gov.

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