Linking Statewide and Regional Travel Models to Estimate Interregional Travel Impacts in California

Research Lead: Michael McNally

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) use regional travel forecasting models to estimate vehicle trips (VT), average speeds, and vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which serve in turn as input to regional emission models. Interregional travel is not usually part of MPO models, but it is explicitly part of statewide models. The California Statewide Travel Demand Model (CSTDM) is an activity-based model that produces statewide origin-destination trip tables for assignment to the statewide network. Consistency tests, however, suggest that there are significant deviations between link counts from the CSTDM and those from regional models, as measured at defined cordon stations. These trip counts are, by definition, interregional travel – travel that is typically generated within a region but with performance impacts in another region or in areas not formally part of a defined region.

Project Description: The proposed project seeks to develop and test methods to synchronize the travel forecasting results of the CSTDM with regional travel forecasting models, with the objective of better estimating interregional travel and greenhouse gas emissions in California. Whether trip-, tour-, or activity-based, CSTDM and all current regional models apply conventional trip assignment as the last step in the modeling process. From the perspective of potential policies to address performance impacts, this study will resolve how regions and the state properly account for the relative proportion of interregional travel and the associated travel impacts. The methodological problem is to synchronize the assigned and validated cordon counts produced by regional models with those generated as part of assignment in the CSTDM. Techniques to modify origin-destination trip tables exist but applications above the local area have been rare. The CSTDM trip tables will be updated to reflect the assigned counts at defined MPO cordon stations. At least two methods will be tested using Caltrans’ Performance Measurement System (PeMS) data with CSTDM trip tables and using MPO cordon estimates with CSTDM trips tables. Each method will be evaluated, with one selected for final application based on its consistency across all model levels and data sources.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $43,434

Project Partner(s): California Air Resources Board