Travel Demand Modeling Methodology Recommendations for the Link21 Program

Research Team: Giovanni Circella (lead), Tho V. Le, Ran Sun, Jaime Soza-Parra, Miguel Jaller, David S. Bunch, and Xiaodong Qian

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) is a heavy-rail public transit system and a major component of the transportation systems in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Northern California megaregion. To expand BART capacity as well as improve connectivity and service on regional rail, a second railway crossing project between San Francisco and Oakland is proposed as part of the Link21 program. By improving connectivity between the East Bay and the San Francisco Peninsula, a second rail crossing would benefit not only BART and regional rail but would considerably expand the availability of public transportation connections over the entire 21-county Northern California megaregion. Travel demand modeling plays an important role in project assessment. It helps forecast future travel demand and travelers’ response to the availability of the new services and produce accurate evaluation of the projected expenses and expected returns from the investments. However, there is currently no existing model that covers the entire 21-county area in the Northern California megaregion and has the level of detail required for evaluating the impacts of the infrastructure investment and service upgrades proposed by the Link21 program. It will therefore be necessary to build travel demand modeling capability that adequately addresses the goals and objectives of the Link21 program.

Project Description: The research team reviewed the current and potential travel markets for the Link21 program, assessed the available travel demand models that could be used to support the modeling efforts for the Link21 program, and conducted interviews with experts from academic institutions, metropolitan planning organizations, state and federal agencies, and US DOE national labs. Considering the goals and objectives of the Link21 program, a list of 20 critical, important, and optional modeling features were identified, which should be considered for the Link21 program. The researchers reviewed 11 existing travel demand models based on the evaluation of their modeling features, and present four proposed modeling approaches which could be considered to support the Link21 program. For each modeling approach, the researchers summarize pros and cons in terms of fulfilling the requirements of the Link21 program.

Status: Completed

Budget: $19,870