Current modeling tools used in transportation research and modeling have addressed the needs of regional decision makers for many years. However, given the increasing complexity of problem statements and study environments, tool enhancements are needed so that the models may remain useful in future analytical processes. Metro is undertaking these model development projects to meet the future needs of decision makers.
Dynamic tour based model
Metro and Portland State University have developed a partnership to develop a dynamic tour based model. The model will estimate the travel patterns for an individual, and travel will be linked to form tours. It will include a strong temporal component – one that will evaluate the "instantaneous" characteristics that are present at the time of a travel choice. Destination, modal, time of day and occupancy decisions will be addressed in the model.
Dynamic traffic assignment
Efforts are underway to implement a new assignment algorithm in the region. The dynamic assignment will provide a much more rigorous tool to assess congestion in terms of lane occupancy, queue length, duration of peak, speeds and volumes in short time period increments, and improved visualization.
Enhancement of transit models
In 2009, a contract was awarded to a contractor to measure the perception of time for the transit rider and to collect travel data for several special market areas (park and ride transit patrons, and hotel visitors to the central city). This data will be used to enhance the travel model’s ability to produce information about these special market areas.
Bicycle travel analysis tools
During 2009, Metro collaborated with Portland State University to fund innovative bike research. Using bike path data derived from GPS, a path finding algorithm was developed that reflects the preference of the rider toward various infrastructure attributes. The enriched process will allow a fuller communication of path desirability to the travel demand model. In 2010, the information will be used to re-estimate the mode choice model to capture the effects of the path attributes on the bicycle mode choice.
Household travel behavior survey
Household surveys provide the behavioral data that form the foundation of travel demand models. These surveys provide both a snapshot of current travel behavior, and an understanding of how factors such as age, income, children, car ownership, accessibility, and congestion influence household activities, time usage, and travel choices. In 2011, Metro conducted a survey of 4,800 households throughout Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. The survey is part of a multi-agency collaborative effort that ultimately included about 18,000 households throughout Oregon and 1,650 households in Southwest Washington.