Transportation Planning for Urban Areas

The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962 established a long-range transportation planning process for all urbanized area with a population of 50,000 or more. Many state departments of transportation recognized the benefits of a long-range transportation planning process and established a similar process for urban areas of smaller size. However, some adjustments have to be made with respect to the technical aspects of the process in order to fit the process to the resources available in smaller urban areas. One of the major aspects of the 3-C process utilized in larger urban areas involves travel demand modeling for the purpose of forecasting future traffic volumes on various road segments. The travel modeling procedure used is fairly complex and requires the use of sophisticated computer software and hardware. It also requires the continuous involvement of well-trained transportation planners. Unfortunately, smaller urban areas frequently do not have a transportation planner who is assigned primarily to the task of travel demand modeling. Even those urban areas that provide funds for employing urban transportation planners trained in travel demand modeling often face difficulties due to personnel turnover and the resulting discontinuity in modeling work. Recognizing the difficulties faced by smaller urban areas, many state departments of transportation provide assistance by doing the travel modeling work by their own staff. However, state departments of transportation themselves have constraints with respect to staff availability and funding. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) was known for its transportation planning assistance program for smaller urban areas with less than 50,000 population. This program slowly had to be cut back and in recent years TDOT's assistance has been limited to carrying out on behalf of local agencies a very simplified transportation planning process which does not involve forecasting or travel demand modeling. This current simplified procedure is adequate for very small areas, but a need for travel demand analysis has been recognized for areas with more than 50,000 population. The purpose of this project is to identify and demonstrate the use of a long-range transportation planning procedure which will be between the very simplified current problem definition procedure for small areas and the more complex modeling procedure for larger areas. This mid-range procedure should incorporate simplified travel demand modeling utilizing a user-friendly computer software. For the purpose of testing such a procedure, the cities of Athens, (population 12,700), Lawrenceburg (population 10,300) and Cookeville (population 21,750), Tennessee were selected as case studies. The report will discuss the steps involved in developing the forecasting model for these cities and the resources involved in conducting various steps of the transportation planning process.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Pagination: 11p
  • Monograph Title: Seventh National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 28-30, 2000, Little Rock, Arkansas

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045177
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 6 2007 12:47PM