Development of Travel Demand Modeling Tools for Small Area Planning Purposes

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is required by North Carolina (NC) General Statute to develop comprehensive transportation plans for all incorporated areas in NC. This requires NCDOT engineers and planners to evaluate the transportation systems using various analysis tools. In order to develop and implement best practices and standard operating procedures for travel demand modeling in North Carolina, the Model Services Group has developed various modeling tools and programs integrating GIS, modeling and web technologies. These tools facilitate data management, standardize the approach, reduce the potential for errors, formalize model procedures and evaluation mechanisms and create a framework that supports varying levels of skills and expertise. These tools are easily transferable between areas throughout the State and can be transferred easily to other areas nationally that do not have the staff/ability to write programs for general modeling tools or for integrating programs into TransCad. All of these tools were developed internally or in partnership with a university so the cost was primarily staff time. The greatest benefit to NCDOT from the development of these tools is the ability to have standards, that are accepted and defendable on the national stage. This paper presents the major features of each program and tool, specifically: 1) Model Evaluation Tools - These tools are Transcad software specific and evaluate standard highway assignment results such as volume groupings by functional classification, calculate Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by functional class, calculate screenlines automatically and detail those results. 2) NC Level of Service (LOS) Tool - The LOS program was a research project between the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) and NCDOT to help have a range of appropriate values for typical capacities in NC. The goal was to develop and document LOS information specific to different “regions” in the state with default constants and parameters. The LOS program uses the calculations from the HCM2000 methodology but is specific to NC. It is a stand alone software package that any area can use. 3) Model Structure Setup tool - This tool develops the complete directory structure for every model and inserts templates for all the files needed so there is consistency between areas. 4) STEPUP tool – This tool analyzes the relationship between growth in population and traffic volume in an area. In particular, it will try to isolate traffic growth due to growth in population in the study area and growth due to other factors, such as through traffic. In addition, if supplied with population projections, the tool will attempt to project traffic into the future. All of these tools fit into the bigger picture of "Tools of the Trade" and will help others learn from some of the things that NC has produced to increase its productivity for the smaller municipalities in the State.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 12p
  • Monograph Title: Tools of the Trade: 10th National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044607
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 23 2007 10:08AM