Improving Existing Travel Models and Forecasting Processes: A White Paper
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Improving Existing Travel Models and Forecasting Processes: A White Paper

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  • Abstract:
    Travel forecasts are critical inputs to transportation investment and policy decisions and help to introduce reason-based rigor into the planning process. Unfortunately, current practice in travel forecasting has several deficiencies that often diminish the value of these forecasts. These shortcomings are documented in TRB Special Report 288 and include: (a) Inherent weakness of the models, (b) errors introduced by modeling practice, (c) lack or questionable reliability of data, and (d) biases arising from the institutional climate in which models are used. Forecasts and the models that underlie the forecasts can be strengthened by improving the practice of forecasting and by developing modeling tools that are thoroughly tested to confirm that they properly reflect transportation supply and demand. Some of the most important steps include: Improve the practice of travel forecasting; Collect better data; Confirm applicability of input assumptions; Improve the capabilities of existing tools; Confirming model validity. Good forecasts require the judgment of the analyst who assembles the data and uses this information to understand how future travel characteristics will evolve. It also requires careful scrutiny by independent reviewers who examine both the analytical methods and the outcomes to determine the likelihood of the projected results.
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