How-to: Think About Model Design for Your Region
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How-to: Think About Model Design for Your Region

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    Over the past 15 years, advances in technology have led to the development of a variety of different travel demand model designs or frameworks. Agencies now face a complex choice when developing or updating their travel model. The alternatives include both very traditional as well as enhanced trip-based designs, activity-based designs of varying complexity and intermediate hybrid designs in between. The survey of transportation agencies by TMIP in late 2013 showed that at that time roughly a third of agencies did not know whether they would continue using a trip-based model or move to an activity-based or other more advanced design. Given that agencies typically only perform major updates to their travel models once or twice in a decade, it is important that agencies understand both the advantages and disadvantages of alternative approaches. This report is designed to help agencies to understand the full spectrum of model designs available to them as well as their associated advantages and disadvantages. The guide includes an overview of the spectrum of travel model architectures and reviews important issues for consideration in three broad categories: theoretical issues, practical issues, and considerations for various policy and project applications, discussing at a high level the advantages and disadvantages of each design relative to each issue. The final section of the guide reviews the model design process as it was undertaken by the cities of Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond, WA, in anticipation of their new travel model.
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